Richmond Racial Equity Summit: An Evening of Conversation
Can’t make it in-person? The event will be streamed live on YouTube!
On Friday, October 15, the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU will co-host a dynamic evening with the creators of and contributors to the Richmond Racial Equity Essays project, showcasing essays and video content in addition to continuing this important conversation with a panel on racial equity in the arts, exploring the barriers artists face and the role art has in advancing racial equity.
Panelists include Ebony Walden, Duron Chavis, Enjoli Moon, Trey Hartt, Kendra Jones, Nastassja Swift, Janine Yvette Bell, and Eva Rocha.
ABOUT THE RICHMOND RACIAL EQUITY PROJECT
Richmond Racial Equity Project was conceived in 2019 by urban planner and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultant Ebony Walden. Collaborating with activist and urban farmer Chavis and Meghan Gough from VCU’s Wilder School, Walden created Richmond Racial Equity Essays (RREE), a multimedia project focused on racial equity In Richmond. RREEs capture voices from all walks of life and sectors in Richmond to explore what an equitable Richmond looks like, especially as it relates to racial equity, and highlights the strategies that will help us get there.
Gough solicited essays from a cross-section of 27 Richmonders who wrote about their visions of what a racially equitable Richmond would look like and offered their solutions for how we can get there. The essays, videos, and summit will culminate in a draft framework for advancing racial equity in the City of Richmond.
ABOUT THE PANELISTS
In addition to being the creator of the Richmond Racial Equity Essays project, Ebony Walden is an urban planner and consultant who leverages her experience to design and facilitate training, strategy and community engagement processes that explore race, equity and the creation of just and inclusive communities. Ebony is the Principal Consultant at Ebony Walden Consulting, an urban strategy firm based in Richmond, Virginia and an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
Urban farmer, educator, and change maker, Duron Chavis articulates the role that cultural identity plays in sustainable community wellness. From leading Happily Natural Day, to poverty mitigation, to urban agriculture, to racial equity, Chavis challenges organizations and institutions to think outside of silos and confront conversations of race and class courageously and authentically.
Chavis spearheaded the video interviews for RREE using a similar platform as used in the video series Black Space Matters.
Enjoli Moon is the founder and creative director of the Afrikana Independent Film Festival, a festival dedicated to showcasing the cinematic works of people of color from around the world. They place a special focus on the global Black narrative.
She is also the Assistant Curator of Film & Special Programs at the ICA at VCU, where she is dedicated to using film as a catalyst for conversation and authentic connection. Through Afrikana and the ICA she looks forward to helping grow the footprint of Black indie cinema in Richmond and making the city a premier platform for elevating, celebrating, and further validating stories of the marginalized and underrepresented.
Trey Hartt is currently the Project Director for Performing Statistics, a cultural organizing project that uses art to model, imagine, and advocate for alternatives to youth incarceration. In 2006, he began working with The Conciliation Project, a theatre company that sparks dialogue about racism in the U.S. (now called The Conciliation Lab). From there he worked at Virginians for the Arts, Alternate ROOTS as the Resources for Social Change program coordinator, and then at the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities on issues of diversity and inclusion. Most recently, he was the Deputy Director at ART 180, ushering in unprecedented growth to double the size of the organization, including the development of Performing Statistics which he helped transition to become an independent project as of July 2019. Trey is a Past President of Alternate ROOTS, The Conciliation Project, and most recently co-founded the Southern Community Cultural Alliance.
Kendra J. Jones serves as Director for Health Equity, Arts and Culture & Accountant for Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF). In this role, Kendra leads RMHF’s HEArts, or Health Equity and Arts, Program, which funds nonprofit organizations in partnership with equitably compensated artists working to identify and remove barriers to health through creative expression. She is passionate about art as a powerful vehicle for authentic storytelling, a tool for community connection and even a catalyst for policy change. A frequent contributor and panelist on topics of art and health equity, Kendra loves communicating the value and impact of art on health at the individual, community and systems levels.
Nastassja Swift is a multi-disciplinary artist holding a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was this Summer’s 2021 Artist in Residence with SPACES in Cleveland, where her community parade and exhibition received support from the Ohio Arts Council. In 2019, her short film, and collaborative performance, “Remembering Her Homecoming,” premiered at the Afrikana Independent Film Festival, and screened at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville. She is the recipient of a 2021 Dr. Doris Derby Award, the Black Box Press Foundation 2021 Art as Activism Grant, and the 2020 Virginia Commission of the Arts Fellowship. She has work that is permanently displayed at The Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia and her newly quilted body of work “Canaan: when I read your letter, I feel your voice” is currently on view at the Galveston Arts Center in Texas. Her work has been acquired into the Grace Linton Battle Memorial Fund for the Arts Collection, as well as Quirk Hotel in Charlottesville. Nastassja has been included in the Berlin publication SomeMagazine, RVA Magazine, RHome Magazine and the Stranger, a Seattle publication.
JANINE YVETTE BELL
Janine Yvette Bell is the founding president and artistic director of Elegba Folklore Society. Elegba, from the Yoruba cosmology of West Africa, is an Orisa or intercessor who opens the roads, bringing clarity out of confusion. The Elegba Folklore Society is a year-round, lively celebration of African and African American culture. Enjoy art and imports in our cultural center. Sway with our performance company in the warmth and feel of an African village. Awaken YOUR spirit! Or, participate in a guided heritage tour along the trail of enslaved Africans and other notable sites. The Capital City Kwanzaa Festival, Down Home Family Reunion, a Celebration of African American Folk Life, and Juneteenth, A Freedom Celebration are events that have delighted audiences for 31 years. The Society offers the best in African Diasporic cultural experiences, promoting immersive experiences that illuminate the present and value the past.
Eva Rocha is a multimedia artist from Brazil, holding both Brazilian and American citizenship. Rocha’s studies in Performance, Theater, research in Cultural Studies and Arts in Brazil, the US, and Peru, at the undergrad level, and MFA in Kinetic Imaging, inform her cross-disciplinary interest in the language and embodiment of collective trauma and its archiving into artifacts. As a multimedia artist, she combines elements of performance, sculpture, set design, and video installation to question a process of the abstraction of the viewer and its implications in a social dialogue. Rocha’s many bodies of work surge from performance and spread into different materials and forms that serve her dramatic language.