Social Justice and Societal Change

Social Justice and Societal Change Committee

At the beginning of the summer when the nation was locked down by a global pandemic, our nation was forced to deal with the reckoning of racial justice. Under the leadership of Interim President Dr. Gregory T. DeCinque, the Social Justice and Societal Change Committee was created to create a space for internal and external conversations in an effort to spawn understanding, mutual respect and healing in our community.

Marian Clifton, adjunct faculty in Human Services, and Dr. Patrick Smith, professor of Psychology, are leading this lofty, yet achievable task.

"I hope the committee will provide two things especially: bring to light racism that we have swept under the rug and not dealt with because 'things are good enough,' and make an important connection to the community as an example of healing and anti-racism," stated Smith.

The committee of nearly 30 faculty, staff, and midlevel managers held its first meeting July 22. Following the College's work in Scenario Planning for the Strategic Plan, it was clear in the first meeting that the committee wanted to focus on creating a safe space internally and externally.

"It is clear that members of the committee recognize the role an educational institution must play as we work toward societal justice in our community. We also recognize that for the work to happen, we must get active within our own communities. With that understanding, Virginia Peninsula is excited to partner with the City of Hampton to establish these community conversations to encourage unity and healing within the Peninsula," stated Clifton.

As a result of the first two meetings, the Social Justice Committee formed a partnership with the City of Hampton's Citizens' Unity Commission. Together, along with the Good People Group, founded by Hampton resident Crystal Carrington, a series of online broadcasts will be presented to the community.

Voices That Vote, an artistic podcast about the journey of voting rights, will be on Facebook live Wednesday, Oct. 7, at 6 p.m. DeCinque will join Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck during the virtual event to greet the community and talk about the importance of voting.

Join the conversation and enjoy musical performances by Donald Hurdle (Soul and R&B); Donavan Devlin (inspirational/contemporary); and Missunderstood (Pop and R&B). You can register online for the bipartisan Voices that Vote event, or watch it live on the Citizens' Unity Commission's Facebook page.