Changing the Narrative

Through the Power of Story

In collaboration with a wealth of community members, Virginia Humanities is developing programs that use stories to empower young Virginians in under-served communities in Arlington, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Richmond, Roanoke, and Harrisonburg. These programs will focus on creating safe opportunities for Virginians to tell their stories and engage with the experiences of others in an inclusive space.



Why Change the Narrative?

Pathways to understanding, openness, healing, and transformation are urgently needed, and these almost always run through the intersection of the present and the past. By creating opportunities to share, listen, and discuss the history of both new and more established Virginia communities, Virginia Humanities will promote understanding, not only of how we are different, but of how we share a common humanity. Changing the Narrative programs will cultivate a more inclusive narrative, one in which all Virginians can feel valued.

Changing the Narrative is funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation through a two-year grant to implement Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation guidelines.

Through Changing the Narrative, Virginia Humanities programs will engage communities with:

  • 24 short-term author residencies, bringing diverse-background authors to schools in the six designated communities
  • 6 BackStory podcasts that contextualize contemporary issues of race and representations through the lens of history.
  • 15 Encyclopedia Virginia classroom visits to present and explore Google Expeditions and tools for digital storytelling
  • 2 summer institutes for up to 60 educators and librarians
  • “Where I’m From” bookmaking supplies
  • Broadcast content from With Good Reason radio
  • Grants to an inaugural program in each of the six cities

Read the full project announcement »

Truth Racial Healing and Transformation

In acknowledgement of a history rooted in enslavement, racism, and inherent bias against people of color, we commit to replacing the traditionally accepted Virginia narrative with a more complete truth. We stand firmly committed to fostering community-level transformations through numerous partnerships in our six-city purview. With a collective of dedicated initiatives, we will work toward changing the narrative to promote equity, to encourage empathy, and ultimately, to empower outreach and action.

More on Truth Racial Healing & Transformation »