Workshop planned to discuss racism

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Folks have an opportunity to learn more about the racial disparity in Hampton Roads from the people who experience it.

Beneath The Surface: Visual Conversations About Race In Hampton Roads will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 9 at Suffolk Family YMCA, 2769 Godwin Blvd. This project is funded, in part, by Hampton Roads Community Foundation and Virginia Humanities to the Eastern Virginia Medical School Arts for Optimal Health Program.

In this five-hour workshop, folks will have the chance to learn about history and racial discrimination from community members. The panel includes Mae Breckenridge-Haywood and Veronica Salcedo, who will talk about their experiences as Black and Filipino women, respectively. This portion will take about an hour of the workshop.

“We are excited to have their perspective on what they experience,” said Dr. Eileen Douglas, LPC, ATR-BC, a faculty member in the EVMS Art Therapy and Counseling, MS program and is facilitating the project.

After a  provided lunch, folks will have a chance to participate in an art project. Materials will be provided for participants to express their hopes for the future in different mediums, including clay, paint and collages. Even though this is related to art therapy, the therapy part will not be the focus. Instead, this is a chance for folks to use art to communicate their ideas and feelings on this subject.

“The goal for this workshop is not to magically fix [racism],” said Douglas. “Obviously, that is not possible. This is to allow space for dialogue and to highlight what is occurring. ”

This will be the third workshop provided by the grant money received from Hampton Roads Community Foundation and Virginia Humanities. The last workshop will take place on Jan. 16 in Norfolk. The hope is that there will be more workshops in the future to continue this process of communication and healing.

The event is free, but participation is limited to 30 individuals. This workshop is for ages 14 and older with signed parental/guardian permission to participate. Registration is required at artthrpy@evms.edu.