As October is drawing to a close, there is an undeniable sense of anxiety approaching. With November 3rd getting closer, the world is beginning to hold its breath. The arts is a field that is inherently tied in to our greater lives. It has always been a field that is unafraid to advocate, organize, and fight for political justice in America and the world at large. This election is vitally important to many, but especially to the art sector as it fights to both come back from the pandemic and re-assert its necessity to the American public. This week for the blog, I would like to share resources with readers, and encourage readers to share their own resources in the comments! Richmond is a vibrant, engaged city with many organizations that support political action, uplift history, and connect communities. While the events of the world can be overwhelming, it is imperative that we remain active and engaged citizens. The easiest way to ease anxiety is to take action in your own community. We at Dogtown would like to encourage you to get involved, and VOTE!
Dogtown wants to encourage you to make your voice heard this election year, so we are sharing a valuable resource from our partners at Dance/USA. The upcoming November elections, like every other election at all levels, are consequential for the arts sector. Dance/USA has released a November 2020 Election Toolkit and launched a Get-Out-The-Vote campaign, #Dance2Vote to urge the arts sector and the general public to vote during the November 3, 2020 elections. Dogtown encourages all of our supporters and artists to spread the word in our community! Make your voice heard in this monumental election year!
There are countless businesses and organizations doing work to uncover the history of Richmond. As the former capital of the Confederacy, there is much lingering in the day-to-day of Richmond that deserves discussion and action. Organizations such as #UntoldRVA are doing the important work of bringing these conversations forward.
BLKRVA is an organization that is showcasing Richmond’s multicultural dynamism, centering African American business owners, event planners, and community leaders. Their website states: “From enslavement to presidency, the Black story is the story of the United States. Richmond, Virginia is one of the most important Gateways to that story.The center of the domestic slave trade in North America. The origin of 1 in 4 African-Americans. Home to the Harlem of the south. Birthplace to a new cool that flourishes today. Richmond is a gateway to Black culture. A gateway to our shared history and to our brilliant future. A gateway to Black success and perhaps to a reckoning of racial trauma. A gateway to understanding what it is to live on this continent, and in so doing, to understanding your place in it. In Richmond you will find a gateway to the heart of what it is to be American, and into the Black story that shaped this country.”
“SONG is a home for LGBTQ liberation across all lines of race, class, abilities, age, culture, gender, and sexuality in the South. We build, sustain, and connect a southern regional base of LBGTQ people in order to transform the region through strategic projects and campaigns developed in response to the current conditions in our communities. SONG builds this movement through leadership development, intersectional analysis, and organizing.”
Virginia Anti-Violence Project is committed to fighting violence against LGBT+ communities in Virginia with a focus on liberation, intersectionality, and transparency.
HandsOn Greater Richmond connects volunteers with opportunities to engage with their community through service, research, donation, and more.
Richmond Peace Education Center is dedicated “to creating and protecting affirming spaces that embrace cultural humility and create ties of respect and appreciation across generations, cultures, race, class, region, religion and gender and sexual identity, in order to build an inclusive community.” They have a variety of youth and community programs and events designed to build a stronger Richmond community and empower people to be active citizens.
Equality Virginia specifically seeks to empower the LGBT+ community through advocacy and direct political action. They are a great resource for how to connect with elected officials and create influence governmentally.
The ACLU of Virginia is dedicated to protecting civil liberties and civil rights through education and advocacy.
These are only a small sampling of the many incredible organizations that are providing ways for people to connect and create better worlds inside of their own communities. There are countless ways to get involved, and there is a role for everyone in change! The graphic at the beginning of the article is a great resource to finding your role in the social change ecosystem, as there are many. We encourage you to get involved, and once again VOTE (if you have not already). Be well everyone!