UVA Welcomes New Class of Equity Center Community Fellows

UVA Welcomes New Class of Equity Center Community Fellows

The Equity Center is proud to welcome a new class of changemakers to the Center’s Community Fellows program.

“For UVA to continue being a good partner in the Charlottesville community, it is important to share university resources and support community members in their efforts to make systemic changes in our community,” says Lucy Montalvo, project manager of the Starr Hill Pathways Program at the Equity Center.

The fellows program is designed for individuals or groups who have a history of working to reduce inequity in the Charlottesville community and have a project that could benefit from access to UVA’s support and resources. This class of fellows will work on projects that include youth mentoring, helping Latinx community members obtain driving privileges, digitizing Monacan Tribal oral traditions, and a documentary on Henry Box Brown.

Meet the Class of 2022

Destiny Moore | Growth Mindsets
Image of Destiny Moore

Destiny Moore is the founder of Growth Mindsets, an organization that provides opportunities for youth mentorship. Founded in 2021, Growth Mindsets offers programs for personal growth and development, and exploration of learning, and simultaneously supports families and communities to create a better environment for all parties.

“My main motivation for this work is my son — I was a teenage mom, and I never knew how much I struggled,” says Moore, “The reason that I started this organization is to provide children with mentoring opportunities with mentors that look the same, sound the same, and have similar lived experiences as they do."

Growth Mindsets employs a holistic, community-engaged approach toward mentoring— providing academic, school environment, and social-emotional support for the participants and their families and support systems. “Our services are based on Godly principles. While we do not impose these on others, the services are based on love and listening and the understanding that all human beings should be treated equally,” Moore says.

During her fellowship, Moore will transition into a non-profit services in the community. Toni Irving, Frank M. Sands Sr. Professor of Practice  atthe Darden School of Business, will serve as Moore's mentor.

Jose Luis Hernandez & Rocio Zamora | Safer Roads for Virginia
Image of Jose Luis Hernandez and Rocio Zamora

In January 2021, Virginia became the 17th state to grant undocumented immigrants the opportunity to drive legally by obtaining a Driver’s Privilege Card (DPC). Applicants for a DPC are not required to meet the legal presence and citizenship requirements of a standard Virginia Driver’s License. With the availability of the DPC, undocumented residents now have a path to learn the rules of the road and pass a driver’s test— creating saferdriving conditions for all Virginians.

To boost the mobility and opportunity for Hispanic residents in and around Charlottesville, Jose Luis Hernandez and Rocio Zamora are volunteering with Sin Barreras to inform the community of the availability of the DPC and support individuals along the way to receiving the privilege. In service of this goal, the volunteers are on call to assist community members with translation services, test preparation, obtaining the proper documentation, and navigating the bureaucracy of the DMV.

During their fellowship, this group has worked closely with Equity Center local steering committee member Karen Waters-Wicks as their mentor. Together, they have met with several DMV directors to improve testing access for Spanish-speaking individuals and they continue to provide classes in the community to support passing the driver’s test.

Rufus Elliot | Preserving Monacan Tribal Oral Traditions

Rufus Elliot, a citizen of the Monacan Indian Nation, will be working to preserve and digitize oral history and song and ceremony recordings. These digital files could then be uploaded to a central location and made available to Monacan citizens anywhere in the world.

“By creating a searchable database of oral history and ceremonial songs more Monacans will be able to have access to their own history and culture,” says Elliot. “By making our culture more accessible in a digital age the tribe will preserve the deep ties to its ancestors  and maintain its unique identity in the face of colonization.”

During his fellowship, Elliot will work with Josh Thorud, Multimedia Teaching & Learning Librarian, to digitize their recordings.

Lorenzo Dickerson | The Story of Henry Box Brown
Image of Lorenzo Dickerson

Lorenzo Dickerson is a filmmaker who creates films about African American history culture in Virginia, with a particular focus on the Charlottesville and Albemarle County area.

Dickerson grew up listening to his grandmother tell stories of “the olden days” and as an adult, he began chasing down the details of the powerful, yet untold stories found in his own backyard.Dickerson’s project with The Equity Center is a documentary called “Deliverance: The Story of Henry Box Brown.”

The film, which will be partially animated and geared toward elementary school students, tells the story of Brown, an enslaved man in Louisa County and Richmond, VA. When his family was sold away from him, Brown packaged himself in a box and shipped himself to Philadelphia where he gained his freedom. Brown went on to travel Europe and Canada, spreading the truth about slavery in America.

“It’s really a story of resilience, against all odds,” Dickerson says. “I want the audience to understand that a lot of these stories that we hear are stories that have happened in the Charlottesville area, but I also want them to take away the notion of never giving up.”

During his fellowship, Dickerson will work on the animation for the film and visit a Maryland man, who recently recreated Brown's journey in a box from Virginia to New York. He will be mentored by Claudrena Harold, Edward Stettinius Professor of History.


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