When some out-of-state college students recently planned a service trip to Virginia and they wanted to learn about diversity and inclusion, they called the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities! We were proud to spend a day exploring dynamics of diversity and justice through the lens of civic engagement.
The morning focused on personal identity and VCIC’s Educational Equity Initiative. Students noted that many of the topics VCIC addresses in Virginia schools are relevant in the urban public schools in their state. In the afternoon, our friends at Hope in the Cities/Initiatives of Change led the visiting college students through the always-powerful Richmond Slave Trail, giving participants a better understanding of the important history and legacy that continues to shape Richmond.
The interaction was meaningful for all involved. Below are a few student comments about their experience in Richmond:
- “[The] workshop connected many working models to the work I am currently trying to improve in my own service.”
- “[It] allowed us to look critically at ourselves, which was surprising as to what was discovered through self-reflection, and how our experiences can be used to look critically at the individuals we work with and serve.”
- “I got to partake in critical conversations surrounding the creation of one’s identity as well as talk about ways we can approach the perspectives of those that we encounter during our service.”
- “I especially thought that the slave trail was a powerful experience as we got a very brief insight as to what enslaved Africans endured upon arriving in Richmond. I thought this to be very reflective for me as I saw much of what we have been learning about race relations in the United States come together.”