We are here to change who we are, how we think and why we instinctively react when the subject is race. What we see is dependant on what we believe. It is how we form the ideas and prejudices we don’t acknowledge to ourselves or to others.
This site began in the aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville. As talk of removing Confederate statues began across this nation, our initial focus was Monument Avenue. Our intention was (and remains) to give each of the conflicting histories its due. (In contrast, the first Monument Avenue Commission was akin to a taping of the Jerry Springer show). “Little Monuments in Grace Park” seeks to inject a history generationally ignored and forgotten by us white folks.
As noted in our original draft, if anyone has the money to build new statues or remove old ones, we suggested the money go instead to education. Into the public school system and higher education, yes, but also into the nooks-and-crannies of our neighborhoods. Building on the theories and patterns expressed in Centresa Village, we believe that a network of learning is the best approach to racial healing, understanding and empathy.
The question for us then became could we use the issues of Grace Park, renaming schools and highways, deciding where Confederate flags fly, as a way of beginning our discussion of race? As an entry point to learn both the Black and White histories of Virginia? (There is a tremendous difference between the two). Most importantly, can we look inside ourselves and admit to ourselves the prejudice that is within all of us?
We begin here online with the creation of a Classroom, Library and Newsroom in addition to Grace Park. Explore the site and please contribute your thoughts. It’s an old theory — largely out of fashion these days — but we sincerely believe that good people can discuss difficult subjects in a calm and respectful manner.
We’d like to find people willing to commit to this discussion. To hopefully move the conversation from here online to our existing safe places where we can be honest without being labeled. And finally, most hopefully, organically move into our communities.
Site Development — New information & research will be added (on an irregular schedule) to this site. Please post your thoughts on what’s here and your recommendations as to what should be here. We succeed only when the community contributes!
Communicate — We’re looking forward to developing a social media platform in both public and members-only flavors. The members-only platforms will allow us to share ideas, calendars, organize, etc.
Curriculum — We continue to develop our (not yet) award winning All-Communities Curriculum. Our initial effort, the “Speaking of Race” series includes suggestions on getting started (eg. suggesting your book club read “A Mighty Long Way ~ My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School”).
Self-Analysis — We are all prejudice. It is baked into our DNA. The first step in our process is offering a (completely voluntary, only you will ever see) self-analysis questionnaire (developed by the best folks in town) to help chart where we are in our thinking. At milestones, we may choose to take the “quiz” again to understand how we have grown.
So begin as you will ~~ Grace Park, Classroom, Library or Newsroom. Whatever approach you take is the correct path.
Thank you. For the many ways you help the cause, large and small, we thank you.