The Richmond Peace Education Center has a longstanding historical commitment to working for racial justice and diversity.
Beginning in the 1980s, RPEC established organizational policies that promote diversity in both hiring and board membership. At the same time, RPEC took the lead in Richmond efforts towards ending apartheid in South Africa. RPEC also co-sponsored anti-racism workshops in those early years.
In recent years, the RPEC board of directors has reaffirmed its commitment to:
- Increase understanding within the peace community about structures of racism, white privilege, and history.
- Build solidarity, joint action, and mutual support across lines of race in pursuit of peace and justice goals.
- Inform members about existing opportunities for racial dialogue and trustbuilding.
- Lend support to existing efforts towards racial justice in Richmond.
- Work towards building a movement that brings together diverse stakeholders for coordinated strategic action to address youth & community violence and its root causes.
RPEC has continued to work towards these goals through:
Video Project on Richmond, Race, and Regionalism
Videos on Education, Housing, Transportation, and Economic Development and portray the ways in which the entire Richmond Metro region is connected both in the problems present and in the solutions. The videos are free to groups to use for discussion and come with brief discussion guidelines. To view the videos see:
Racial Justice Workshops
Over the past five years, RPEC has sponsored an annual Racial Justice program. These evolving programs have brought a diverse group of community members together to make lasting connections and to consider how to take action to promote social justice in central Virginia.
Racial Justice Forums
RPEC has sponsored several large public forums focused on issues of racial justice. Most recently, we held a discussion, “Overcoming Richmond’s Racial Divide: Standing Together to End Poverty,” that addressed the issue of poverty in metro Richmond and examined a variety of public and individual actions aimed at improving the conditions of Richmond’s low-income population.
The panel featured Duron Chavis, founder of the Richmond Noir Market; David Hicks, Senior Advisor to Mayor Dwight Jones; Sookyung Oh of the Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis; and Dr. Thad Williamson of the University of Richmond. Previous RPEC Racial Justice forums have featured Cathy Woodson of Virginia Organizing, Rev. Tyrone Nelson, community activist Iman Shabazz, and former First Lady Anne Holton.
Alliances for Justice
RPEC frequently collaborates with other local and state organizations working for social justice in our community. We have co-sponsored events with Virginia Organizing, Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality, the ACLU of Virginia, Hope in the Cities, and Drums No Guns, among others.
RPEC is also part of the RePHRAME coalition. RePHRAME, or Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Evictions, is an alliance of public housing residents, advocates, and allies committed to housing justice for all in Richmond. Through meetings, public forums, and actions, RePHRAME engages with the Richmond community about the deeper issues surrounding public housing like poverty, race, and fundamental human rights. http://rephrame.blogspot.com/
For many years, RPEC has supported and been part of the annual Living the Dream commemoration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (formerly Community Learning Week). Our Richmond Youth Peace Project presents its annual Educoncert—featuring talented local youth performers addressing issues of peace, nonviolence and social justice—as part of this community-wide event. You can see video of previous years’ performances here. RPEC was proud to be honored by Living the Dream in 2012 in recognition of our work for peace.