Richmond knows how to make history.
And we aren't done yet. 

Our history is marked by events we talk about and others we don’t. In Richmond, we’ve started to wrestle with the past and usher in transformation that earlier generations could only dream of: fresh faces on Monument Avenue; a Civil War museum that provides a broader narrative of our city’s story; new markers honoring stories about Richmond’s original residents and those who arrived here against their will.  Through conversation, commitment and celebration we have done critical work. But there is more to do.  

Richmond is emblematic both of America's history of racial oppression and of the current inequity that has kept communities from reaching their full potential for generations. Initiatives of Change (IofC), with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), is embarking on a multi-year effort to lift Richmond from systems and structures that reflect a centuries-old notion of human hierarchy and to create a place where everyone's humanity is respected regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or country of origin. 

Richmond is one of 14 communities across the United States selected by WKKF to commit to a shared vision known as Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT).  IofC will collaborate with community partners from all sectors - education, business, arts, philanthropic, non-profit - to engage residents of the city and counties through three elements of action: narrative change, racial healing & relationship building and transformation.  

 


Narrative change

With its TRHT partners, IofC will continue to challenge patterns and systems that perpetuate incomplete or skewed versions of U.S. racial history. Activities in this program area will focus on educating and building awareness about the manner in which history and legacy of racial history is taught, communicated and informs the manner in which our communities are constructed.  

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racial healing &
relationship Building

Focusing on ways for all of us to heal from the wounds of the past, to build mutually respectful relationships across racial and ethnic lines that honor and value each person’s humanity, and to build trusting intergenerational and diverse community relationships that better reflect our common humanity. 

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TRANSFORmation

In tandem with narrative change and relationship building efforts, an equal investment must be made to address the policy and structural changes that remain as barriers to opportunity and equity in our communities. IofC will convene community and political leaders to help challenge institutionalized systems that perpetuate separation (i.e., segregation and concentrated poverty); law (civil, criminal, & public policy); and economy (structural inequality and barriers to opportunity).

"The stories we tell about our past, about how we got to where we are today, shape who we can be tomorrow. Richmond has fostered great talent and passion for community healing over the last quarter century. TRHT promises to bring that talent together in a powerful and coordinated way, making Richmond a national and international leader in constructive change." Ed Ayers Historian Founding Chair, Board of Directors of the American Civil War Museum

"The stories we tell about our past, about how we got to where we are today, shape who we can be tomorrow. Richmond has fostered great talent and passion for community healing over the last quarter century. TRHT promises to bring that talent together in a powerful and coordinated way, making Richmond a national and international leader in constructive change."

Ed Ayers
Historian
Founding Chair, Board of Directors of the American Civil War Museum

"In our “wired and electronically connected” world, it’s ironic that one of the most pressing circumstances of our times remains isolation and segregation from others who are different.  The greatest educator is familiarity, which has the power to eliminate ignorance and fear." "Richmond is uniquely positioned for the work of THRT because our identity as a community will always remain grounded in it’s history.  What we thirst for is a narrative that restores wholeness and supports the potential of our community to thrive.  The narrative has yet to be written." Mark M. Gordon CEO Bon Secours-Richmond East

"In our “wired and electronically connected” world, it’s ironic that one of the most pressing circumstances of our times remains isolation and segregation from others who are different.  The greatest educator is familiarity, which has the power to eliminate ignorance and fear."

"Richmond is uniquely positioned for the work of THRT because our identity as a community will always remain grounded in it’s history.  What we thirst for is a narrative that restores wholeness and supports the potential of our community to thrive.  The narrative has yet to be written."

Mark M. Gordon
CEO
Bon Secours-Richmond East

"Richmond is uniquely positioned to do the work of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), because of its roots within the history of slavery. We will build, affirm and empower individuals by building self sufficiency, affirming dignity and empowering transformative behavior beginning with changing the narrative." Lillie A. Estes Community Strategist ALO Community Strategy

"Richmond is uniquely positioned to do the work of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), because of its roots within the history of slavery. We will build, affirm and empower individuals by building self sufficiency, affirming dignity and empowering transformative behavior beginning with changing the narrative."

Lillie A. Estes
Community Strategist
ALO Community Strategy

"Metro Richmond has the opportunity to be the Capital of Reconciliation, rather than the Capital of the Confederacy. It’s about a mutual search for a new beginning — for a commitment to justice and to dismantling the artifacts of racism and racial discrimination that still besiege our common life.  Just because they aren’t called “segregation” or “discrimination” any longer doesn’t mean they aren’t performing the task of perpetuating the greatest hypocrisy of our history. We want to be what we believe — and we can only be that together." Rev. Ben Campbell Community Activist Cofounder & Pastor Emeritus, Richmond Hill  

"Metro Richmond has the opportunity to be the Capital of Reconciliation, rather than the Capital of the Confederacy. It’s about a mutual search for a new beginning — for a commitment to justice and to dismantling the artifacts of racism and racial discrimination that still besiege our common life.  Just because they aren’t called “segregation” or “discrimination” any longer doesn’t mean they aren’t performing the task of perpetuating the greatest hypocrisy of our history. We want to be what we believe — and we can only be that together."

Rev. Ben Campbell
Community Activist

Cofounder & Pastor Emeritus, Richmond Hill

 

"Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is extremely excited to participate in TRHT as an institution and to explore how issues such as environmental stewardship, environmental justice and food justice intersect and serve as a lightening rod toward the 'right now, not later' need to deal with racial healing and transformation. In my perspective, I see this myth of white superiority as an impediment to human evolution and it is not only killing us, but these systems of oppression are killing the planet too. These two realities are inextricably linked, that of how we exploit the planet and how human beings exploit other human beings. The public garden as partner space has the capacity to really help people see that issues like climate change and food justice affect all of us as a community." Duron Chavis Community Engagement Coordinator Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

"Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is extremely excited to participate in TRHT as an institution and to explore how issues such as environmental stewardship, environmental justice and food justice intersect and serve as a lightening rod toward the 'right now, not later' need to deal with racial healing and transformation. In my perspective, I see this myth of white superiority as an impediment to human evolution and it is not only killing us, but these systems of oppression are killing the planet too. These two realities are inextricably linked, that of how we exploit the planet and how human beings exploit other human beings. The public garden as partner space has the capacity to really help people see that issues like climate change and food justice affect all of us as a community."

Duron Chavis
Community Engagement Coordinator
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

"When we say 'tell the truth' let us mean tell ALL the truth. The beautiful bits, accomplishments and contributions that we hide from others. And, the not so beautiful bits, the systematic deconstruction of people and cultures over decades, that we hide from others. There's one history, one truth. Tell it in its entirety."  Shelly Jost Brady CEO Narutka International

"When we say 'tell the truth' let us mean tell ALL the truth. The beautiful bits, accomplishments and contributions that we hide from others. And, the not so beautiful bits, the systematic deconstruction of people and cultures over decades, that we hide from others. There's one history, one truth. Tell it in its entirety." 

Shelly Jost Brady
CEO
Narutka International

"Witness what philanthropy can do: we can and should and do bring all of our resources to bear to jettison this false notion of human hierarchy. A single moment can bring you a lifetime of wisdom. When we start seeing people, they start wanting to be seen. They start wanting to tell their stories." Rev. Alvin Herring Director, Racial Equity & Community Engagement W.K. Kellogg Foundation speaking at Richmond Hill

"Witness what philanthropy can do: we can and should and do bring all of our resources to bear to jettison this false notion of human hierarchy. A single moment can bring you a lifetime of wisdom. When we start seeing people, they start wanting to be seen. They start wanting to tell their stories."

Rev. Alvin Herring
Director, Racial Equity & Community Engagement
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
speaking at Richmond Hill


Join the conversation. 

TRHT is just getting underway and we want to include your voice and experience whether you've just moved to Richmond or have lived here for generations.  

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JOIN OUR TEAM. Initiatives of Change USA is inviting applications to fill three positions to support Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) in Richmond, VA.
                            Follow this link for job descriptions and application details.  


We are delighted to join with our fellow TRHT grantees around the U.S. in unleashing our collective potential to heal and grow when we honestly address the inequities facing communities in all corners of this great nation. This site will grow over the coming months and years as we and our TRHT RVA partners engage with you and others you invite to the table.

This is just the beginning and
we are so glad you are here.