Podcast

In our first season of the Racial Equity in Richmond Podcast, urban planner and diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant Ebony Walden talks with 15 Richmonders from all walks of life and sectors to explore their visions for an equitable Richmond, especially as it relates to racial equity and the strategies that will help us get there. We hope this can be a model for discussion in other U.S. cities.

All 8 episodes are available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Amazon, Google and More - Search for "Racial Equity in Richmond."

Our second season, "The Intersection," will be released soon. Subscribe for updates.

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We know more voices; expertise and a greater diversity of perspectives and identities need to be included. Reach out if you would like to add your voice.

The Intersection - Episode 3: Intergenerational, co-leadership and urban transformation

September 22, 2023

Intergenerational, co-leadership is a model for disrupting oppressive systems and transforming communities. In this conversation, Ebony chats with catalytic co-leaders Sherreta R. Harrison and Raymond A. Jetson of MetroMorphosis in Baton Rouge, LA. The core of their work is transformation from within, rooted in community listening, responding and collective action.

Find them online on Instagram at @metromorphosis1 , on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MetroMorphosis, and on their website https://metromorphosis.net/.

Raymond A. Jetson

Raymond A. Jetson is the Raymond A. Jetson, Chief Executive Catalyst & Co-Lead of MetroMorphosis. Combining his 30 plus year history of public service with her 15 years of nonprofit leadership, Raymond A. Jetson and Sherreta R. Harrison form the dynamic, intergenerational Co-Leadership team at MetroMorphosis, a Baton Rouge-based social enterprise focused on transforming communities. Together, they have repurposed barbershops into community health hubs, increased spending with women and minority owned businesses and cultivated the next generation of leadership.

Sherreta R. Harrison

Sherreta R. Harrison is the Sustainability Catalyst & Co-Lead of MetroMorphosis. Combining his 30 plus year history of public service with her 15 years of nonprofit leadership, Raymond A. Jetson and Sherreta R. Harrison form the dynamic, intergenerational Co-Leadership team at MetroMorphosis, a Baton Rouge-based social enterprise focused on transforming communities. Together, they have repurposed barbershops into community health hubs, increased spending with women and minority owned businesses and cultivated the next generation of leadership.

The Intersection - Episode 2: Black land development and ownership with K. Wyking Garrett

July 21, 2023

At the intersection of racism and place, Ebony talks with Africatown Community Land Trust CEO K. Wyking Garrett. They discuss Africatown’s community development model formed to acquire, steward, and develop land assets that are necessary for the Black community to grow and thrive in the Central District of Seattle, Washington. They discuss the importance of supporting individuals and community organizations in retention and development of land in gentrifying areas. Learn more online at www.africatownlandtrust.org and www.wykingbuilds.com.

K. Wyking Garrett

Third-generation community builder, social entrepreneur and current President and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust in Seattle, WA. Wyking design programs and initiatives that catalyze, mobilize and activate communities for sustainable social impact. He has been a co-catalyst for numerous ventures including the Africatown Seattle community development initiative, Liberty Bank Building, Umoja PEACE Center, Hack The CD, Black Dot, Umoja Fest and Africatown Center for Education Innovation. You find more about his work online at www.africatownlandtrust.org and through his social medias @africatownlandtrust.

The Intersection - Episode 1: Faith, healing and justice with Rev. Jess Cook & Charles Bolling

July 21, 2023

At the intersection of racism and faith, host Ebony Walden talks with Every Table ministers Charles Bolling and Jess Cook about healing and justice within their faith community. They discuss what it means to have an abolitionist approach to living in community, employing practices for reconciliation and repair within themselves and in community.

Rev. Jess Cook, Coordinating Pastor at Every Table in Richmond, VA, fosters spaces for honest reconciliation by embracing vulnerability and trust. With a background in theology and art, Jess holds an MDiv from Union Presbyterian Seminary, an MFA in Photography from the University of North Texas, and a BFA in Studio Art from Baylor. Hailing from East Texas, they made history as the first openly trans/non-binary Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Charles is a dedicated advocate for social justice and wellness. A certified yoga instructor, neighborhood organizer, and healer from Churchill, they graduated from Armstrong High School in 2014. Their spiritual journey in Humboldt County, California, enriched their practice. In 2020, they played a pivotal role in racial justice uprisings, leading meditation and earning a yoga scholarship. Founder of Radical Yogi LLC, Charles melds yoga, mindfulness, and social change. As Every Table co-founder, they promote radical hospitality and collective liberation. Charles fosters an inclusive space that links body, mind, and societal issues. They believe yoga and mindfulness foster awareness, compassion, resilience, and equitable communities.

Episode 8: Academia, Arts, and Intersectionality

September 15, 2021

Dr. Chaz Barracks speaks with Ebony from multiple perspectives and through many lenses but weaves together a dynamic history, expertise and vision for a creative, intersectional approach to advancing racial equity in Richmond.

Dr. Chaz Barracks

Dr. Chaz comes to us from his newest home in Philadelphia where he will take on research and teaching as a 2021 postdoctoral fellow at the Univ of Penn. Annenberg School of Communication’s Media at Risk program. Prior to this move he is known for his community engagement and public arts practice in Richmond Virginia as a Blackademic, professor, podcaster, and filmmaker. It was here he completed his doctorate in Media, Art, and Text and wrote and directed the Everyday Black Matter film project—which launched from his emerging media hustle Black Matter Productions, LLC.

Episode 7: Disrupting Gentrification and the Prison Pipeline

September 15, 2023

They met doing neighborhood work, and they want to disrupt the status quo of gentrification and the school to prison pipeline. Northside neighborhood resident Latasha James and organizer Christopher Rashad Green speak truthfully about where we need to go and what we need to do to re-imagine our community.  

Latasha James

LaTasha Sherell James is a lifelong Richmond resident who grew up in a shotgun house in a segregated section on Richmond, Virginia’s Northside. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University with degrees in literature and print journalism, she wrote feature stories for the Black-owned and now defunct Richmond Voice Newspaper as well as taught writing and literature in Richmond Public Schools. She currently resides in Battery Park. If you come around her way, you can find her kicking it with a neighborhood elder. When she’s not around her way, she’s booking a unique Airbnb stay, in an unassuming town off a beaten path.


Christopher Rashad Green

Christopher Rashad Green is a community activist, a motivational speaker, and the founder of Free*Dome Unlimited.  He is a formerly incarcerated individual who now, as a political organizer and health-equity advocate, is on a journey to empower men, women, and children in overcoming the challenges and injustices of the criminal justice system. Mr. Green works as an organizer for New Virginia Majority where he leads the Court Watch of Central Virginia and serves as a member of the Richmond Food Justice Alliance.

Episode 6: History and Innovation

September 15, 2021

Historians Free Bangura of Untold RVA and The Valentine’s Bill Martin, share their vision for how telling the story of history truthfully can spark innovation and long-term change. Advancing equity includes truth telling, knowing our own story and broadening the voices that highlight our past and shape our future.

Free Bangura

Free Egunfemi Bangura is an independent historical strategist and social entrepreneur from Richmond, VA. In 2013, she founded Untold RVA and Untold Tours to inspire non-traditional audiences with bold typography, audio enhanced street art, and urban exploration. Bangura has been credited as the originator of the international Commemorative Justice movement. She is a member of Richmond Memorial Health Foundation’s Health Equity Artists cohort, a bureau chief at the United States Department of Arts and Culture, a founding member of the BLK RVA action team, a faculty advisor at Initiatives of Change USA, and the elected chair of Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s History and Culture Commission.


Bill Martin

William “Bill” Martin, director of the Valentine, leads over 50 museum staff members in telling the story of Richmond lifestyle and culture.  For more than 20 years, Martin has diversified the Valentine’s programming, expanded Richmond walking tours and group tours, and worked collaboratively in the community to promote city tourism initiatives. Martin holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and an M.A. in Public Administration from Virginia Tech. Following years of experience directing museums in Georgia, Florida, and Virginia, he joined the then-Valentine Museum in 1993 as Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

Episode 5: Affordable Housing Policy and Advocacy

September 15, 2021

From the impacts of redlining to combatting the eviction crisis, affordable housing advocates Stephen Wade of Partnership for Smarter Growth and Virginia Poverty Law Center’s Laura Wright make their case for policy changes and greater resource allocation to move towards housing equity. See the affordable housing platform for the region they worked on with other community leaders.

Stephen Wade

Stephen Wade currently works for the Virginia Department of Social Services on making substance use disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery more equitable and accessible, with a particular focus on child welfare systems, housing, and the criminal legal system. Stephen is passionate about providing housing for all that is safe, healthy and affordable by using a health equity lens that empowers and centers communities that have traditionally had the least access to resources and power. Stephen is also the Vice President of the board of directors of Partnership for Smarter Growth.

Laura Wright

Laura Wright is a housing attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center (VPLC). Using a community lawyering model, Laura works with advocates and organizers to build networks within high eviction neighborhoods to assess the greatest housing needs, provide know your rights trainings, and refer clients to partner organizations for emergency legal assistance. In consultation with effected communities, Laura advocates for state and local policies that improve housing stability, expand access to civil legal services, and produce and preserve affordable housing.

Episode 4: Equitable Green Space

September 15, 2021

Ted Elmore is passionate about design, urban spaces, celebrating the richness of Richmond, and bringing people together. After 15 years of practicing corporate finance law, he now leads the ambitious BridgePark project, a community effort to bring a unique gathering, connective, and educational space to the James River and downtown Richmond. Inspired by The High Line in New York City, BridgePark will be a symbol of Richmond's future and a new model for creating public space in America.

Ted Elmore

Sheri Shannon is the owner and director of Shannon Strategies, a communications firm that specializes in campaigns for the greater good. She also hosts Women and Politics on WRIR, a radio program that spotlights women engaging in politics and their communities. Sheri is the co-founder of Hull Street Action and Southside ReLeaf, and was also featured as an “Eco Hero” by Glamour magazine. She is committed to the fight for environmental and economic justice so everyone has a clean, healthy and safe space to live, work, learn and pray. Sheri is based in the Richmond, Va. area. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Sheri Shannon

Sheri Shannon is the owner and director of Shannon Strategies, a communications firm that specializes in campaigns for the greater good. She also hosts Women and Politics on WRIR, a radio program that spotlights women engaging in politics and their communities. Sheri is the co-founder of Hull Street Action and Southside ReLeaf, and was also featured as an “Eco Hero” by Glamour magazine. She is committed to the fight for environmental and economic justice so everyone has a clean, healthy and safe space to live, work, learn and pray. Sheri is based in the Richmond, Va. area. Connect with her on LinkedIn.



Episode 3: Creating a Thriving Community

September 15, 2021

Ebony talks with affordable housing leaders Greta Harris of Better Housing Coalition and Richmond Association of Realtor’s Laura Lafayette and they cast a vision for removing barriers so that everyone can thrive in Richmond.  

Greta Harris

Greta J. Harris joined the Better Housing Coalition in August 2013 as President and CEO. Prior to leading BHC, she was vice president for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national nonprofit community and economic development organization where she lead local offices in southern and mid-western regions. Ms. Harris was elected to the board of Markel Corporation in 2021, and appointed to the Virginia Tech University Board of Visitors in 2016. She also serves on the boards of ChamberRVA, the Partnership for Housing Affordability, the Housing Partnership Network and the Richmond Jazz Society. She co-chairs the Commonwealth of Virginia’s bipartisan redistricting commission.

Laura Lafayette

Laura Lafayette is the Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond Association of REALTORS® and the Central Virginia Regional Multiple Listing Service—two organizations that serve the almost 7,000 REALTORS® in Central Virginia.  Laura also serves as the Executive Director for the Partnership for Housing Affordability. Within the broader community, Laura serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Virginia Housing Commission; is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Housing Forward Virginia; is the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of the Maggie L. Walker Community Land Trust; and serves on the Boards of ACTS and the Peter Paul Development Center as well as LISC’s Local Advisory Committee and the Vestry of Christ Church Episcopal.

Episode 2: Housing and Community Health

September 15, 2021

Patrice Shelton and Sherrell Thompson converse with Ebony about their personal and professional experiences with public housing and as community health workers. From their perspective, racial equity requires better access to health resources and affordable housing for low to moderate income Richmonders.

Patrice Shelton

Patrice Shelton is the founder and Executive Director of Hillside Court Partnership, Certified Community Health Worker Senior for Virginia Department of Health/Richmond City Health District. She moved to Hillside Court 2010 where she does her community work today.  She has launched more than 14 groups and teams in Hillside. She is seated on the Board of Commissioner for RRHA, Maggie L. Walker Poverty Board, RVA Thrives, Central VA Legal Aid Society Secretary, Client Council (CVLASCC) and a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. She was also a fellow for RMHF 3/2018 to 2/2019.

Sherrell Thompson

Sherrell Thompson is a 42 year old mother of three who has spent the last 9 years working in Gilpin Court. She has a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice Administration and is now employed by RRHA. She is also a Certified Community Health Worker. She is a graduate of Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2020 and on the board of Northside Strong, CHW(Community Health Worker) Association, Richmond Public Schools Head Start Policy Council, and a member of Circles RVA. She loves to travel, have fun, and help others.

Episode 1: Entrepreneurship and Engagement

September 15, 2021

Ebony talks with Richmond Night Market and The Artisan Café co-creators about how Richmond can advance racial equity by supporting Black entrepreneurship and improving community engagement.

Melody Short

As an entrepreneur and co-founder of the Richmond Night Market, Melody supports small business owners and independent artists in areas to include public relations, marketing and business development.  Melody currently serves the small business community of Richmond, Virginia with a focus on minority and women owned businesses as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Metropolitan Business League, the Co-founder of The Jackson Ward Collective, a hub for Black business owners and selected partners to share resources, experiences and expertise to build and grow strong, sustainable Black owned businesses in Richmond, VA and as a consultant for the Black Business Opportunity & Investment Study and Virginia Community Capital’s Open For Business Loan Fund.

Adrienne Cole Johnson

Adrienne is a group facilitator, mediator, and community engagement expert. With deep experience in building movements in the non-profit, education, political and entrepreneurship sectors, she has centered her efforts around creative approaches and equitable engagement. Her academic training and background in macro level social work, keeps a connection to the wider context as she engages on resolving the toughest human challenges. Having served as a Chief of Staff in Congress and led community-based programs for groups ranging from 500 to 50,000 people, Adrienne’s ability to listen, connect and empathize across traditional barriers make her a remarkable facilitator and conflict resolution expert.

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