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Press Release: Voices for Virginia’s Children to Host 2nd Annual Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week

Voices for Virginia’s Children to Host 2nd Annual Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week

Governor Northam to give keynote address on state policy panel

RICHMOND, Va. – From August 22-28, Voices for Virginia’s Children will host its 2nd Annual Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week (RTRW), a virtual conference aimed at empowering marginalized communities through healing, reconciliation and justice for Virginia’s children and families. The event is free to the public with registration.

“We created Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week last year due to a need to address the public health crisis of the pandemic, racial inequities and the modern civil rights movement many of our children are facing in Virginia,” said Chlo’e Edwards, policy analyst for Voices. “Thanks to the work of this conference, and ultimately the coalition we brought together in the last year, we are seeing progress taking shape on many fronts to prioritize trauma-informed care, equity and justice in policy.

“I’m excited we have more organizations, localities and elected officials coming together this year to address historic challenges and to co-create change in our communities,” Edwards added.

Nearly 60 organizations, executives, policymakers, advocates and activists from around the commonwealth will present and facilitate discussions on key issues impacting Virginia’s children. Also participating are all 26 of Virginia’s local trauma-informed community networks (TICN).

Governor Northam will deliver opening remarks and a keynote address for the state policy panel: “Virginia Leads on a Justice Future for Children and Families in Virginia.” Joining the governor will be:

  • Dr. Janice Underwood, Virginia’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer;
  • Chidimma Jenkins, Trauma-informed Care & Resiliency Advisor, Office of the Governor of Virginia;
  • Elissa Milanowski, Senior Program Consultant, Office of Newcomer Americans; and
  • Cecilia Barbosa, Member of the Virginia Latino Advisory Board and the Health Equity Workgroup.

Northam and Dr. Underwood declared August 2-8, 2020 as Virginia’s inaugural Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week. It served as the launch of Racial Truth & Reconciliation Virginia, a coalition campaign comprised of TICNs, state organizations, localities and community partners committed to advancing policies that dismantle systems that perpetuate racial trauma, oppression and inequity.

“The past year has challenged us in many ways as an organization and how we advocate for children,” said Amy Strite, CEO of Voices. “It’s not enough to look at the data and see the gaps across our systems without calling out the systemic racism that has led to many failures. As a leader and champion for children, I believe it’s imperative that other leaders – whether it’s in the government, nonprofit or private sector – take action to prioritize investments that promote care, equity and justice internally and externally.”

RTRW consists of 30 events with four different tracks around community-centered engagement, advocacy and action, policy, equity, and data analysis as well as diversity, equity and inclusion. The week will be capped with “Rallying Towards the Future: Living Dr. King’s Dream” on Saturday, August 28, commemorating Dr. King’s 1963 March on Washington.

“We must pursue this work intentionally and with a holistic approach that recognizes the many forms in which truth, healing and reconciliation might occur,” said Edwards. “That’s why we have a range of events covering an array of interests. Whether it’s yoga and mindfulness activities or community-centric fundraising, we created a week that aims to reach a lot of people of all ages to advance racial equity.”

RTRW is free to the public with registration. Events will be broadcast on Voice’s Facebook and YouTube channels. View the full program at vakids.org/rtrwconference.

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ABOUT VOICES FOR VIRGINIA’S CHILDREN

Founded in 1994, Voices for Virginia’s Children is the Commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization. We are home to the KIDS COUNT data center for Virginia, which includes more than 200 state- and locality-level indicators on child well-being over time. Using data and independent policy research, we advocate for sound policy solutions and mobilize support to meet the needs of Virginia’s children. Learn more at vakids.org.

ABOUT RACIAL TRUTH & RECONCILIATION VIRGINIA

Racial Truth & Reconciliation Virginia (RTRVA) is a campaign implemented by a coalition and convened under Voices for Virginia’s Children, the commonwealth’s leading child advocacy and policy organization. The campaign seeks to advance policies that dismantle systems that perpetuate racial trauma, oppression, and inequity. As a community-led initiative, RTRVA focuses on the intersection of trauma and equity to empower advocates with lived experience to ignite change in pursuit of healing, reconciliation, and justice.  Learn more at vakids.org/racial-truth.