Next week I will be taking part in a series of events and meetings in Richmond, Virginia, that will officially launch the Beloved Community Initiative. The press release below provides more details about this gathering. If you live in Richmond, please consider attending one of the four FREE public events that will be held from Dec 3-5. Please click here to register for these events.
The School of Public and International Affairs is pleased to announce a workshop developed through the efforts of the Beloved Community Initiative (BCI). The Beloved Community ‘Dream Reset’ Richmond Gathering is a three-day event hosted in partnership with Virginia Union University and will be held at various locations in Richmond, Virginia, starting on December 3, 2017, and closing on December 5, 2017.
The working group associated with the BCI has developed the concept of “Spirals,” or holistic organizing efforts that combine broad, creative thinking and writing with input and inspiration of engagement and experience as a convenient heuristic to describe its aims for this effort. The Richmond workshop will examine community projects (engagement and experience) rooted in current understandings of social change that engage community members, students, and faculty, and seek actively to learn from them (creative thinking and writing) by means of sustained discussion (reflection).
The Virginia Tech team behind the BCI believe that as a leading academic institution, the university can serve as a wellspring of ideas for community change and strategies to secure social justice. These strategies can be developed, applied, and refined both with and in partner communities.
The Beloved Community ‘Dream Reset’ is a workshop convened by Dr. Virgil Wood and has been designed to encourage the sharing of ideas and new ways of thinking concerning social change. The planned events will explore the ongoing work in Flint, Michigan, and the educational uplift of children both physically and psychologically affected by the Flint water crisis. Additional sessions of the workshop intend to explore the following:
- Investigate ways and means of cultivating hope as an essential resource and reservoir for encouraging community resilience by means of systematic assessment of specific community action strategies.
- Examine and create conditions necessary to ensure environmental justice for all community residents, but particularly those suffering economically or as a consequence of social discrimination in partnership with the Flint city government and civil society organizations in that community.
- Envision the broad political, social, and economic changes necessary to secure the moral arc identified by the concept of the Beloved Community at local, state, and national scales.
The workshop will feature presentation and commentary from the following list of speakers:
- Marc Edwards, Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech
- Ralph Hall, Associate Professor, Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech
- Chivonne Battle, Virginia Tech, BCI Task Force
- Virgil Wood, Ridenour Faculty Fellow, Virginia Tech; Pastor Emeritus, Pond Street Baptist Church; VUU Alum, Former Dean, Northeastern University; Former ten-year working associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Christian Moore, WHY TRY Founder.
- Owen C. Cardwell Jr., Pastor, New Canaan International Church, President and Founder, Heroes and Dreams Academy
- Max Stephenson Jr., Professor of Public and International Affairs and Director, Institute for Policy and Governance, Virginia Tech
- Sylvester Johnson, Assistant Vice Provost for the Humanities, Virginia Tech
- Anne Khademian, Director, School of Public and International Affairs Virginia Tech
Additional information and registration is available at www.belovedcommunityinitiative.eventbrite.com.