THE NARRATIVE CHANGE COLLABORATIVE

 
 
 
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The Weavers

We are happy to announce the six Weavers who were selected for the 2019 Narrative Change Collaborative. Over the course of this year, the Weavers will work with Architects (faculty advisors) and each other to craft and implement projects that will unearth hidden histories about the Richmond Region in an effort to tell fuller and more inclusive narratives about how are city, state and nation developed over time. Each month, The Weavers and Architects will gather to learn and work collaboratively at a different cultural institution in Richmond including The Valentine Museum, Studio Two Three, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 6Pic Innovation Center, and the Black History Museum.

The Narrative Change Collaborative illustrations were created by NZILANI SIMU, a visual artist and designer based in Nairobi, Kenya.

We are honored to have The Weavers form the first cohort of the Narrative Change Collaborative (NCC).

We are honored to have The Weavers form the first cohort of the Narrative Change Collaborative (NCC).

We also recognize the important work that all the first-year NCC applicants are making as Richmond's Narrative Changers!

We also recognize the important work that all the first-year NCC applicants are making as Richmond's Narrative Changers!


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CHRISTIAN DIXON

Christian Dixon, born in Richmond, VA and bred in Austin, TX, has been on a life long mission to change how Richmond is viewed and experienced. As a self-described "multipotentialite," Christian operates loosely between visual and social design to create solutions to problems he's lived through firsthand such as a lack of diversity and opportunity for people of color in tech innovation industries. Christian co-founded ATLX, a community and social design agency established to reconcile such issues in Richmond and across the nation by creating specific, far-reaching and effective solutions.

Being a part of NCC is an absolute, mind-altering dream. As one of Richmond’s children, I am afforded the opportunity to begin the work of changing the way our story is told and by whom. My project will explore social and community design as well as economic development through the development of a podcast and app. The podcast will assist aspiring entrepreneurs with mentorship from Black innovators; the app will help marginalized communities locate and receive quality grocery delivery services that are either not available in their neighborhood or are outside their reach due to lack of transportation. I am also working on a budget savings travel and services app to support and recirculate money between Black customers and businesses. We want to help you live your best Black life!

TASHA CHAMBERS

Tasha Chambers is owner and founder of The InnovateHers, a women-owned, boutique communications agency. For more than 15 years, she has created culturally-competent programming and communications campaigns for diverse brands. With a niche in nonprofit communications that amplifies the voices of marginalized communities, she has served some of Richmond’s most progressive nonprofit leaders and organizations.

Tasha is a graduate of Howard University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism. In 2016, she earned her place on Style Weekly’s “Power List” for leading the relocation and reopening of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia.

She is married and has two children.

When communities invest in women, in this case Black women, entire communities benefit. Black women continue to be the backbone of our workplaces, politics, churches and families but lag in physical and mental health and material wealth despite our strides in education. As part of the Narrative Change Collaborative, my work will look at how to tackle implicit bias and score positive outcomes for Black women in the workplace with support to help them reach middle and senior management positions without compromising their authentic selves. I am thrilled and encouraged that I have the freedom and opportunity to explore how we can improve the outcomes for Black women and redefine our narrative.

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KIRAN BHAGAT

Kiran Bhagat is an international yoga Instructor, wellness pioneer & mindfulness influencer. She is passionate about increasing the energetic capacity of people of color whose ancestry traces back to African and Aboriginal or Indigenous roots. Kiran teaches and promotes yoga, agriculture and meditation as a practice of “Spirit Before Work.” Kiran shares her journey of “Emotional Emancipation” and wellbeing with people from all walks of life, through the transformational and powerful practice of YAMS.

To take part in NCC means to be a part of history in the making. This collaborative is working to uplift, influence and create an inclusive reality and future for the Richmond Region. My project will focus on YAMS - Yoga, Agriculture, Mindfulness and Self-love. This idea explores and creates sustainable and environmental well-being that supports the health of Black bodies, minds and soul vibrations. This is an innovative approach that will influence the health and wellbeing of communities and school where people of color have been disproportionately harmed by injustice. I’m honored and thank my ancestors with each step in this process.

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COURTNEY GLENN

Courtney Glenn is a Birth Worker of Color and Principal Member of Birth In Color RVA. She is committed to changing racist narratives and negative outcomes in pregnancy and birth. With a keen awareness of the maternal health disparities experienced by Black Women in the U.S., she has made it her life’s mission to serve women and families during such a sacred, special time. Through her work, she informs, educates, and supports women, families, and communities by providing education, resources, and relationships that positively impact the birth experience and their lives. Courtney hopes to empower other Birth Workers of Color to effectively continue the work while pursuing her personal goal of nurse midwifery in the near future.

Being a part of the Narrative Change Collaborative is an opportunity for me to continue upending systems of oppression and white supremacy that has stifled purpose and power throughout generations of marginalized people. As a Weaver, this program is allowing me the space to do the work my soul must have. My project will highlight the history of birth in Richmond and the legacy of Black midwifery. I will explore the midwifery model of care and how it has been commodified over time to deracialize birth in an attempt to ‘positively’ impact the maternal mortality rate in the U.S.

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KRISTAL LYN BROWN

Kristal is a proud graduate of North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (B.S. Biology) and Meharry Medical College (Masters of Science and Public Health). She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University. Kristal is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Kristal’s long-term career vision is to build a programmatic line of research focused on developing novel lifestyle interventions to improve health outcomes among high-risk African American women during their transition into early adulthood.

African Americans have endured racism and assumptions of inferiority for over 400 years. Thanks to the Narrative Change Collaborative, there is an opportunity to have those hard conversations about truth and healing. I am grateful to take part in this much-needed shift in behavior. My project will examine how African American girls and women who are overweight or obese are impacted by racism and how this influences their weight status as well as treatment outcomes. I am thankful Richmonders can finally begin to weave together the lost chapters of a distorted story. Are you ready? It’s time to rewrite Richmond’s history.

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SILLYGENIUS

Taron Sparks, better known as SillyGenius, is an artist and all-around creative.  He is also the director of the All City Art Club. SillyGenius has been making art since childhood and learned a great deal through fellowship with other artists. Witnessing the transformative power of art in his Southside Richmond community has inspired SillyGenius to use art to create curiosity, wonder & an audacity to change the world. 

It’s an honor and a joy to be a part of Narrative Change Collaborative and to use my talents and relationships with creative peers to spark change in this city and our home. My project will be to build a platform in public and street art to highlight the work of people of color who are creatives and artists in Richmond.