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Community Health & the Built Environment

Thursday, Oct 6

6:00 PM–8:00 PM


Richmond Racial Equity Essays collaborates with VCU’s Common Book Program to host a dynamic evening exploring the intersections of health, equity and the built environment. In a TED Talk-style event, five presenters with deep and prolific experience in community work will have 12 minutes and 12 slides to tell their story and showcase their emerging research, projects and the solutions they are using to curb and disrupt systemic inequities in order to support health and healing in the Richmond community.

Presenters include: Dr. Ram Bhagat, educator, arts innovator, and community healer; Duron Chavis, urban farmer, educator, and change maker; Breanne Armbrust, social justice advocate and Executive Director of the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton; Florencia Fuensalida, Director of Equity Improvement at VA Community Voice; and Ruth Morrison, Policy Director at Richmond City Health Department.

While the event is free and open to all, we encourage those going to RSVP here.


The 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.

Walden and 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.


The Common Book Program is one of the largest initiatives in University College. Building upon the nationally recognized VCU Summer Reading program, the Common Book Program is a university-wide initiative focused on welcoming our first-year students into the vibrant intellectual culture of VCU.

The Common Book is intended to create the opportunity to explore complex social issues through an interdisciplinary lens. In addition to integrating the book into the Focused Inquiry curriculum of UNIV 111 and UNIV 112, faculty in University College foster partnerships across both campuses and within the broader Richmond community. Students are provided opportunities to explore the real-world application and problem-solving each fall.