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Still from "Cooked: Survival by Zip Code"

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Film poster for "Cooked: Survival by Zip Code"

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Extreme Heat, Climate Change, and Racial Equity

Friday, May 20

6:00 PM–8:00 PM


Join the ICA and the Richmond Racial Equity Essays project for a special screening of the PBS Independent Lens documentary Cooked: Survival By Zip Code, followed by a panel discussion on the urgency of local climate action and equitable approaches to realizing a sustainable Richmond.

Cooked: Survival by Zip Code tells the story of the tragic 1995 Chicago heat wave, the most traumatic in U.S. history, in which 739 citizens died over the course of just a single week, most of them poor, elderly, and African American. Following the film, a panel discussion moderated by Ebony Walden and Dr. Jeremy Hoffman will explicate the linkages between what happened in Chicago over 25 years ago and what is still happening in Richmond in 2022. Panelists Amy Wentz (Southside ReLeaf), David Sale (RVAGreen 2050), Kendra Norrell (Institute for Sustainable Communities), will highlight the efforts to mitigate extreme heat, climate change, and its distributed risks in Richmond’s communities of color from the institutional, community, and policy realms. The evening will conclude with an open forum for audience members to sign up for volunteer efforts aligned with these projects.

Can’t make it in person? Watch the event live on YouTube!



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.

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.



Amy Wentz, Southside ReLeaf

A Richmond native and Southside resident for over 35 years, Amy Wentz is an entrepreneur, innovator, and public advocate. She is the co-founder of Southside ReLeaf, a community organization committed to building a healthy, equitable and sustainable environment for all residents in South Richmond.

In numerous ways, Amy is a tireless advocate for creating more equitable outcomes for residents of Southside Richmond and beyond.In 2010, noticing the absence of an online presence for Black-owned businesses in the city, Amy founded Black RVA, now known as “BLK RVA,” Amy is a part of an action team that manages and is responsible for the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first tourism platform dedicated to highlighting Black culture. Amy has since also co-founded the Richmond Black Restaurant Experience which has brought together over 25,000 food lovers, 35 Black-owned restaurants, and has driven nearly $500,000 dollars into the local economy. Amy is constantly innovating and thinking of new ways to highlight the brilliant, and often untapped, culture of Richmond, as a way to promote equity, bring revenue to the city and support neighborhood businesses.

David Sale, the City of Richmond’s RVAgreen2050 Plan

David Sale (he/him/él) is a Richmond native with over eight years of experience working with stakeholders to make community-informed and data-driven decisions. He has been with the City of Richmond’s Office of Sustainability for the last two years serving in multiple roles as both an intern and consultant. In these roles, David has helped to facilitate the development of the RVAgreen 2050 Climate Equity Action Plan by engaging with technical Working Groups, the Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable, and community leaders and advocates. This summer, he is leading the Office of Sustainability’s community engagement, empowerment, and communication activities. It is his hope that every Richmonder sees their needs and priorities reflected in the City’s ongoing climate action, resilience, and environmental justice efforts. David holds a Master of Environmental Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and currently lives in the Southside with his husband, Will, and very spoiled dog, Izzy.

Kendra Norrell, Institute for Sustainable Communities

Kendra Norrell is a Program Officer at Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC). Kendra supports leaders of color, community organizations, and local and regional governments to prioritize and infuse racial equity and climate resilience. She primarily works with Partnership for Resilient Communities (PRC). Prior to joining ISC, Kendra worked as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the City of Richmond’s Office of Sustainability in Virginia. She incorporated community priorities and racial equity in the city’s climate action planning process. Before the City of Richmond, Kendra worked in climate education and engagement with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the GRTC, and Groundwork RVA. She received her B.S. from Haverford College and her MURP from VCU.