Changing the Narrative: Advisory Committees

In each of the six cities, an advisory committee works with a Virginia Humanities liaison to designate a location-specific project to help further propel the mission of Changing the Narrative. In each city, grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Virginia Humanities will fully or partially fund this work.

The Kellogg Foundation encourages a Truth Statement to be the foundation of Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation work. This statement connects participants across programs and communities.

The Virginia Humanities’ Changing the Narrative Truth Statement

In acknowledgement of a history rooted in enslavement, racism, and inherent bias against people of color, we commit to replacing the commonly accepted Virginia narrative with stories of 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.

Each city’s advisory committee is encouraged to expand upon or recreate a Truth Statement that best addresses iniquities in their community.

Charlottesville Committee Members

Norfolk Committee Members

Richmond Committee Members

  • Free Egunfemi – Chair of the Council + Founder of Untold RVA + Founder/Creative Director of GABRIEL WEEK
  • Ryan Rinn – Executive Director of Storefront for Community Design + Six Points Innovation Center Advisor
  • Gigi Amateau – Author of Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, the Gallows and the Black General Gabriel + Winner of the Virginia Book Award for Young Adult
  • Yemima Davis – Historical Interpreter at Hanover Tavern + Jamestown
  • Jo White – Chair of the Friends of Gabriel Park + Executive Director of Saving Our Youth
  • Sonya Coleman – Digital Engagement + Social Media Coordination at Library of Virginia
  • Jennifer Wender – Director of Museum Operations and Education at Preservation Virginia
  • Enjoli Moon – Founder/Creative Director of Afrikana Independent Film Festival + Assistant Film Curator at Institute for Contemporary Art, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Cameron Cooper – Producer/Radio Personality at Power 92.1 + Owner of Cloud City Marketing
  • Alexandra Hicks – Founder/Youth Literacy Engagement Director of NERD SQUAD
  • Wes Taylor – Assistant Graphic Design Professor at VCU Arts
  • MK Abadoo – Fulbright Fellow and iCubed Professor at Institute for Contemporary Art, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Irina Rogova – Project Archivist, The Race & Racism at the University of Richmond Project

Roanoke Committee Members

  • Joe Cobb, Vice Mayor of Roanoke
  • Anita Price, Roanoke City Council Member
  • Del. Sam Rasoul, 11th District Virginia Delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates
  • Idella Glenn, Special Advisor on Inclusivity and Diversity at Hollins University
  • Sheila Umberger, Director of Libraries for Roanoke Public Library
  • Rita Bishop, Superintendent of Roanoke City Schools
  • Susan Jennings, Arts and Culture Coordinator for the City of Roanoke
  • Brenda Hale, President of the NAACP Roanoke
  • Jane Field, Roanoke Public Library Advisory Board
  • Jordan Bell, Public Historian
  • Katie Zawecki, Roanoke Valley Points of Diversity
  • John Lewis, Apple Ridge Farm
  • Saleem Ahmed, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Harrisonburg Committee Members

  • Susan Zurbrigg, Artist, Professor of Art, James Madison University
  • Steven Thomas, Activist, community historian, and cultural worker for the Northeast Neighborhood Association (NENA)
  • Meg Smeltzer-Miller, Director of Finance for MennoMedia, a nonprofit publishing company
  • Maureen Shanahan, Scholar and Professor of Art History, James Madison University
  • Daryl Byler, Director of Development of the D.C. Bar Foundation and the former Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding
  • Joanne Gabbin, Professor of English and Executive Director Furious Flower, James Madison University
  • Melody Wilson, K-12 Teacher
  • Adriel Byrd, Patent Classifier, information Technology and Services, Serco. Vice Chair Operations, Harrisonburg Democratic Committee
  • Panayotis Giannakouros, Research Scholar at the Institute for Sustainable Prosperity, Adjunct Faculty in Economics, Mary Baldwin University and Research Associate at the Center for Computational Mathematics and Modeling, James Madison University

Arlington Committee Members

  • John Andelin, Community Volunteer
  • Dulce Carrillo, Member of the Board, Virginia Humanities
  • Michele Chang, Director of Facilitation & Curriculum, Challenging Racism
  • Marty Swaim, Executive Director, Challenging Racism
  • Ginger Geoffrey, Community Volunteer
  • Mark Habeeb, Member of the Board, Virginia Humanities
  • Carmella Hamm, Board Chair, Black Heritage Museum of Arlington
  • Mary Hynes, Community Member
  • Jessica Kaplan, Board Member, Arlington Historical Society
  • Emma Viland-Sanchez, Chair and Founder, The Dream Project
  • Tannia Talento, Vice Chair, Arlington County School Board