Unmasking Hampton Roads convenes residents to talk about race and racism
The first Unmasking Hampton Roads session in October brought diverse people from our region to Virginia Beach for a short play, thought-provoking conversation and a shared meal -- all to better understand race and racism in the Hampton Roads region. Another series will occur in November.
The three-part learning event draws inspiration from the poem “We Wear the Mask,” by late African American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. The community foundation is sponsoring the event in partnership with Virginia Humanities. Unmasking Hampton Roads is the third Unmasking Series in the state of Virginia. In 2016, journalist/writer Samantha Willis co-created the series in Richmond, and it later moved to Charlottesville.
The October series was held at Old Donation School in Virginia Beach. It included a short play “Abolitionists’ Museum” by local playwright Sheri Bailey and small group discussions. The second day included a panel discussion moderated by Anita Blanton, WAVY News 10 anchor followed by a Q&A session. WAVY News 10 is an exclusive TV partner for these events.
The panel included:
• Julian Baena, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Coastal Virginia.
• Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, founder and chairman of the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach.
• Dr. Patricia Turner, retired Norfolk Public Schools educator and a member of the Norfolk 17, the group of Black students who desegregated Norfolk Public Schools in 1959.
• Khayla Walker, peer facilitator and alumnus of Teens with a Purpose and spoken word artist.
• Forrest “Hap” White, author of Black, White and Brown: The Battle for Progress in 1950s Norfolk.
• Lavell White, educator and motivational speaker.
The final session involved a diversity and inclusion training and a bias workshop facilitated by Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, an exclusive workshop partner for the series.
The next Unmasking series will be on November 14, 21 and 23 at Tidewater Community College's Portsmouth campus (120 Campus Drive). Register here to attend.
Part one will feature a short play, the “Abolitionist Museum” by Sheri Bailey and Company. Afterwards, attendees will engage in facilitated small group discussions during dinner. Part two will be a panel discussion featuring community leaders and a public Q&A session. Part three will be an intensive training on diversity, inclusion and bias facilitated by Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities.
Visit the Unmasking website for more details at www.UnmaskingHR.org.