RVA Talks @ St. Mark's

What One Community of Faith Can Do to Produce Racial Healing

RVA Talks @ St. Mark’s is offered in celebration of the 150th anniversary of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Founded in 1866 to serve the working people of Richmond, St. Mark’s moved to its current home on the Boulevard in 1922. St. Mark’s was in 1967 the first Episcopal church in the city of Richmond to integrate – inviting members of Osgood Memorial Church (displaced from its Randolph community home by the construction of the Downtown Expressway) to join in worship and fellowship. In the 1980s St. Mark’s was on the forefront of the compassionate response to AIDS/HIV disease and is credited by the Fan Free Clinic as hosting more funerals for victims of AIDS than any other faith community in the commonwealth. St. Mark’s has long been an inclusive and welcoming church, advocating for social justice and equal rights for all people.

A Continuation of our Panel Discussion on Race & Reconciliation and the Faith Community

Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin

The Play - April 18 –22  University of Richmond

 James Baldwin’s BLUES FOR MISTER CHARLIE is an epic drama that confronts us all with the truth of just how widely we are still divided by race in America, and the distinctly dichotomous realities in which we live. Baldwin writes a story that actively engages the audience examining the question “What is Truth” when we are all subject to our own perspective; framed by our history, cultural norms and personal experience.  The stories we know, the ones we have been told, and our LIVED experiences inform our beliefs and opinions about race in America no matter what the circumstance.

In a small Southern town, a white man murders a black man, then throws his body in the weeds. With this act of violence--which is loosely based on the notorious 1955 killing of Emmett Till--James Baldwin launches an unsparing and at times agonizing probe of the wounds of race. For where once a white storekeeper could have shot a (black) "boy" like Richard Henry with impunity, times have changed. And centuries of brutality and fear, patronage and contempt, are about to erupt in a moment of truth as devastating as a shotgun blast.”

In his award-winning play, Baldwin turns a murder and its aftermath into an inquest in which even the most well-intentioned whites are implicated, complacent blacks are challenged --and in which even a killer receives his share of compassion. All of which shines a bright light on the community in which we live, and impels us to take on the responsibility, to bear witness, to acknowledge and to recognize the work that MUST be done, if we are going to have a future together.

  “Call to the Table of Dialogue.”  In the spirit of community organizing and engagement the organizers intend to activate the Greater Richmond community around partnering with various and diverse communities, groups and individuals to launch what will be a larger week long event in the coming academic year shared between the campuses of VCU and the University of Richmond as collaborators and producers of BLUES FOR MISTER CHARLIE. The play is an Artistic Intervention, creating a space for open and honest dialogue around Race, Racial Healing, and Historic Trauma & Our Community in RVA. Can we create healing space and employ restorative practices as we endeavor to work    together and move forward towards change and conciliation? 

This a collaborative program of The Conciliation Project, VCU, UR, and the African American  Repertory Theatre Company.