Filtering by: Racial Equity + Justice

to Jun 30


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Over the course of 2019, the Gun Violence Archive counts 156 mass shootings in the U.S.

Amnesty International estimates that more than 500 people die every day from gun violence around the world with 1.4 million firearm-related deaths globally recorded between 2012-2016.

The experiences of gun violence are not only widespread but also hit very close to home. Recent incidents in Richmond, Chicago, Virginia Beach, and Los Angeles are representative of how gun violence is rising rapidly across the country in cities, counties and towns alike. 

 Next month Initiatives of Change USA alumni will lead the 3rd annual Towards an Inclusive Peace (TIP) as part of the Caux Forum in Switzerland from July 8 -12, 2019. This conference makes a case for prevention of violent extremism: we save lives by learning how to respond creatively and non-violently to conflict and crisis. Since June is Gun Violence Awareness Month, we lead up to TIP by partnering with Scott Elmquist (photojournalist for Style Weekly) to unveil I AM HERE, a series of photographs - spanning twenty years - of families and communities in Richmond who have been detrimentally affected by gun violence. Allan-Charles Chipman (Faith Rooted Organizer & Transformation Strategist with IofC USA) also shares a sound installation, Current Events, exploring the perpetual cycles of historical violence that has endured generations. 

I AM HERE is a call and response. It is a recognition of the value of each human life; a declaration of undying love to those lives taken by gun violence; and a commitment to remember their legacies by creating spaces of nonviolence, compassion, and belonging for the living.

Join us during I AM HERE:

June 28 – 30, 2019


3108 Semmes Avenue Richmond, VA 23225

(parking is available in the lot behind the building)

Individual and community expressions are a core part of the healing process.

Therefore, we invite creative community participation in this exhibition. 

·     Bring your own memorial objects (photos, t-shirts, hats, messages, etc.) to add to our Shrine for

the Beloved.

·     Record your stories and reflections in our AirStream portal that will podcast following the


·     Take part in Saturday’s Open Mic and share poetry, music, dance, and stories.



Exhibition opens, panel & mixer: 6 – 8pm

Doors open at 5:30pm

Panel participants include: Sgt. Carl Adams (Carol Adams Foundation); Rev. Robert Winfree (New Life Deliverance Tabernacle); Kristy Burrus (Krissia Ansara Foundation; Richmond Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children); Mark Whitfield; and Scott Elmquist.



Exhibition: 11am – 9pm

Live performances: 4 – 7pm

Drums No Guns healing circle

Open Mic



Exhibition: 12noon – 7pm

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9:00 AM09:00

Faith Rooted Revolution: A Symposium


Faith Rooted Revolution:

Embracing the Truth Disrupting the Cycle…Together

We work to disrupt the contemporary and historic patterns of oppression and injustice manifested in the city of Richmond.  Our success will require a greater synergy and fusion of efforts to build an equitable reality.  Join Initiatives of Change USA and the Johnson A. Edosomwan Center for Faith Leadership and Public Life on the campus of Virginia Union University, Living and Learning Center, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. for this symposium and training designed to broaden our coalition for the work of justice and equity in Richmond. 

This one-day symposium, strategy and training session is solutions oriented and designed to help us better understand the intersections of our work and to maximize our efforts through a shared narrative and advocacy goals. The strategy session will focus on an issue that sits on the nexus of our intersections, the coliseum redevelopment project proposed by Dominion. Due to the impact this decision will have on our city for decades, a deeper understanding of the proposed Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) is necessary for all of our work.  This is both the continuation of our series of trainings for Faith Rooted Organizing begun in 2018 and the inaugural session to develop a long-term partnership among advocacy organizations working toward an equitable Richmond and Virginia. 

Participants will take away from this symposium:

  • A better understanding of the proposed TIF project and its possible impact for Richmond’s historic African American and vulnerable communities 

  • Discovery of new allies and efficiencies

  • Resources for training and strategy for power building

  • Beginning the process of developing shared narrative and goals

  • Foundation for future collaborations

Symposium Schedule:

9:00 a.m. Welcome Greetings and Statement of Purpose 

9:15 a.m. Understanding TIF and the Navy Hill Proposed Project

9:45 a.m. Q & A

10:15 a.m. Panel Discussion – Local organizers/leaders share their short and long term goals

11:15 a.m. Q & A

12:00 noon Working Lunch/Break Out Discussions

What TIF Might Mean for My Organization/Goals

12:45 p.m. Training/Strategy Session

2:15 p.m. Next Steps 

3:00 p.m. Adjourn

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6:30 PM18:30

Food for Thought: Dinner with dr. taj anwar baoll

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Initiatives of Change USA is partnering with Beautiful RVA, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Birth in Color RVA on “Food for Thought: The Intersections of Birth & Food Justice”, a dinner and discussion with dr. taj anwar baoll. This event explores the inter-weavings of different sectors of social justice work and how multidimensional approaches are needed to undo unjust and inequitable systems.

According to Duron Chavis, urban farm activist and organizer of this event, “The work we do to cultivate communities around the right to access healthy, fresh and affordable food intersects with the need for regenerative community greenspace. Achieving racial equity requires us to consider how our work overlaps and how we can achieve multi-layered impacts that can overwhelm the multi-layered oppressions that marginalized communities experience every day.”

dr. taj anwar baoll has contributed over two decades of activism in Atlanta to creating thriving food practices and birth justice work for disenfranchised communities of color. This event intentionally takes place at a historic cultural institution in Richmond - Croaker’s Spot - where we will explore with dr. taj on how the greater Richmond region can expand our perspectives and collaborations to transform social justice practices within and across differing communities.

Please note that this event is sold out.

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11:00 AM11:00

The Community Remembrance Project

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Initiatives of Change USA and The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is pleased to invite community members across Virginia and the greater Richmond region to attend an informational meeting and conversation about opportunities to participate in EJI's Community Remembrance Project. This project advances a more honest conversation and engagement with how our national history, legacies of racial and economic injustice and inequality, continue to inform contemporary issues today.

The Community Remembrance Project involves three companion projects including Soil Collections, Historical Marker Projects, and the upcoming Memorial Monument Placement Initiative. This is a component of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, located in Montgomery, Alabama, and dedicated to over 4,000 African American victims of racial terror lynching in the United States.

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6:00 PM18:00

Jesus, Good Friday & the Criminal Justice System

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Discover the historic context of Good Friday & how it correlates to the modern-day injustices within the criminal justice system. Initiatives of Change USA is happy to host this event with the Equal Justice Initiative.

Within the Christian faith, one of the narratives at the center is the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. The cross has been used and interpreted in many ways in U.S. cultures.

However, what did the cross mean in Jesus’ original context?

What is the origin of the phrase, "King of the Jews"? 

Examining the political context of Jesus’ time gives a new perspective into the justice system of Rome. While Good Friday typically focuses on the person of Christ, this discussion will focus on the process of Jesus’ trial, incarceration, and execution. Journey with Gabrielle Daniels of Equal Justice Initiative as we compare the context of Good Friday to the injustices in our modern-day criminal justice system. Officer Carol Adams (Carol Adams Foundation) & Rise for Youth's Valerie Slater, ESQ will also join the discussion to reimagine a criminal justice system that cares for the vulnerable in light of the lessons of Good Friday. We invite you to join us for this event that is free and open to the public.

For more information, visit our Facebook event page or Eventbrite.

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6:00 PM18:00

Call & Response: A Conversation Series

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This March, Initiatives of Change USA launches

a new conversation series entitled


This discussion series ripples from “Something’s in the Water”, IofC’s 2-day creative event held in January on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (21st) and National Day of Racial Healing (22nd) at Studio Two Three - a collaboration with more than 30 innovators in the sectors of arts, nonprofit, and business. Through art installations, conversations, live music, workshops and performances, “Something’s in the Water” explored 400 years of Virginia’s racial history beginning in 1619, the earliest recorded arrival of enslaved African persons to Jamestown and what would eventually become the United States. Together, artists, organizers and participants meditated on what work had been accomplished and what remains to be done to dismantle systems of racism and oppression.

Over the last month, Virginia’s leadership took the world stage for all the wrong reasons. This has unearthed entangled legacies of racial and sexual violence that are sparking private and public discussions about honesty, reconciliation, white privilege, marginalized community rights, and people-centered justice. It is clear that more public space is needed for communities - who may not be in regular contact with one another - to come together, unload, listen, learn and build toward sincere connections.

In what ways do we keep breaking down and how can we keep building up?

CALL & RESPONSE is that frequency - a vibration of intimate interaction that grows between people. We are meeting at the intersections of who we are - at the margins of race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, age, language, geography, ability, and more.

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This is an intimate, open and expressive space where members of different communities (in Richmond and beyond) are welcome to come, share, and connect freely with one another to link paths towards greater healing, equity & justice. There will be facilitators in the house - experts in restorative justice, mental wellness, conflict transformation, and trauma healing - to help process this communal journey of histories, emotions, and perspectives. Since art is a critical part of healing, we will feature an Open Mic segment at the end of the session for artists, musicians, spoken word artists and writers to share.

This is a conversation series that will take place once a quarter, rotating to neighborhoods across Richmond. Our first session will take place at Spacebomb Studios (106 S. Robinson Street) on Saturday, March 9th from 6 - 8pm. This event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30pm and refreshments will be served. Parking is available in front of and behind Spacebomb and there are additional spaces on the street.

CALL & RESPONSE will also be an IofC USA podcast and webinar series connecting communities internationally (stay tuned for more information and email us at if you would like to take part)!

We are grateful to SPACEBOMB for the provision of space for this event to take place.

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6:00 PM18:00

An Evening with Dr. Wes Bellamy

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We cordially invite you to "An Evening with Dr. Wes Bellamy" at The Valentine Museum on Thursday, February 21st, 2019 from 6-8pm. Dr. Bellamy, a civil rights activist, professor, author and the youngest person to ever be elected to the Charlottesville City Council, will discuss his memoir, "Monumental: It was Never about a Statue" with Allan-Charles Chipman, Faith Rooted Organizer & Transformation Strategist at IofC USA.

This Q&A will unearth the journey of a city - before Charlottesville became #Charlottesville - in August 2017. What does it take to transform habits of systemic racism into cultures of flourishing equity and justice? How does today's civil rights leadership echo and sustain historic traditions of Black radical activism?

Join us for this powerful discussion and a book signing with Dr. Wes Bellamy.

This event is part of The Valentine’s latest exhibition, entitled Monument Avenue: General Demotion/General Devotion. The Storefront for Community Design and the mObstudiO at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts  invited teams of planners, architects, designers, artists and individuals to participate in a national design competition to conceptually reimagine Monument Avenue and contribute to this important dialogue about race, memory, the urban landscape and public art. An exhibition of competition entries opened at the Valentine on February 14, 2019.

Visit for details.

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