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MISSION: To collect, preserve, interpret and celebrate the Commonwealth's African American history, culture and community from the early 1600s to the present, and to inform and educate the public about African American contributions and achievements in business, politics, religion, civic organizations and the Arts.

Summer Greetings!

CREATE*CULTIVATE*COMMUNICATE

 

Greetings and welcome to VAACC’s 2020 Bi-Annual E-Newsletter!


Even though we are navigating uncharted waters during COVID-19, compounded by social and civil unrest, organizations like VAACC are here to uplift your spirits through the Arts.

We are committed to heightening your historical awareness of our human resilience as we address this new normalcy by drawing solace through the Performing, Fine and Literary Arts. Our history and culture, struggles and accomplishments over the past 400 years, as part of the fabric of America’s story, are more crucial now than ever.  Therefore, we are pleased to share our activities over the last seven months, despite this global pandemic. It’s about making lemonade out of lemons and we appreciate our Board of Directors, volunteers and social media staff for diligently, yet carefully, working when possible within the community. 


This newsletter will showcase the list of this year’s new members and introduce our new Vice President, W. Terry Cohen, and the Chair of our Membership Drive Committee, Shevette Jones. We are embracing the virtual world and sharing historical as well as current newsworthy events through our social media venues while actively partnering with other cultural organizations to address civic and social issues. Our dream is to build an interactive learning cultural center that brings people together in a warm inclusive, yet, diverse environment, people who value the creative spirits of humanity. We set personal and collective biases aside and embrace equity, equality and inclusiveness, relying on cultivating and communicating peacefully to champion relevant causes.

We sincerely thank you for your support and commitment to one day see the 1st Virginia African American Cultural Center building rise up in Virginia’s largest and most populous City.


         ~ Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, Founder and Chairman

 

Past Events
Virginia Beach African American Male Summit
Kempsville High School
January 25, 2020
VAACC Board Members interact with Mayor Bobby Dyer during the Summit. L-R: Treasurer Mike Anderson, President Bruce Williams, Parliamentarian Shevette Jones, Mayor Dyer, Founder and Chair Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond  and Board Member Kelvin Arthur.
Members of the VAACC Board of Directors participated in the annual Summit at Kempsville High School. This was a great opportunity to discuss possibilities for Internships, apprenticeships or volunteering for some events in the future.

African American Heritage Month Proclamation by
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer
February 4, 2020
Pictured holding the document, left to right: Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, VAACC Founder and Chairman, Vanessa Moore, Vice President; Cheryl Davidson, Secretary, and Becky Livas, Co-Chair, Oral History Committee.
VAACC was honored to be given a Proclamation by Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer in celebration of African American Heritage Month during the formal City Council session at City Hall. We thank the City as well as the Historic Preservation Commission for this special recognition.
CROSS THAT RIVER: Off-Broadway Concert Series
February 8, 2020
In early February, the Virginia African American Cultural Center sponsored a performance of "Cross that River," an Off-Broadway concert, for more than 500 students at Kempsville High School. The VAACC secured a grant from the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, allowing this first performance of this incredible show to happen.

The VAACC then hosted a fundraiser in partnership with the Zeiders American Dream Theater in Virginia Beach's Town Center for the second performance. Several tickets were donated to underprivileged youth and their families. Both events were huge successes!

Listen to concert-goers' testimonials.

Read the article about the man behind the music in the New York Times.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools' 2020 Partnership Expo
Landstown High School
February 22, 2020
Students, parents and community members, including VAACC Founder and Chairman Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond and Board member Shanti Mullen attended VBCPS' 2020 Partnership Expo.
African American Heritage Month at Larkspur Middle School
February 25, 2020
Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond was the guest speaker during an African American Heritage Month event at Larkspur Middle School. Dr. Ross-Hammond talked about chasing your dreams and making a difference to more than 499 students, teachers, staff and administrators. 
Dr. Ross-Hammond poses with Larkspur Middle School Principal Carey Manugo (to the right in the photo in the lower right corner) and part of his administrative team following the presentation.
Giving Back to the Community
HIGH 5 GIVE $5 CAMPAIGN
May 5, 2020
The Virginia African American Cultural Center purchased and donated almost 1,000 masks for high-risk, marginalized people in the community. As part of the Giving Tuesday Now initiative, Board Member Cheryl Davidson and Founder Ross-Hammond assisted by D.J. Suave distributed them to Tranquility at the Lake senior apartments on Burton Station Road, Crescent Square Virginia Subsidized Apartments for the homeless off Diamond Springs Road, Heritage Hall Nursing Home off Newtown Road, and Kempsville Health & Rehab Center on Indian River Road.

A special thanks to the Hampton Roads Sewing Taskforce women groups who prepared 700 masks! We couldn’t have done it without you and the generous donations from people who supported this VAACC-led campaign on Giving Tuesday to help those in need of these life-saving resources. We are blessed and fortunate. #VAACCVB #BeKind #inthistogether

Again, thank you to all who donated to our campaign to provide masks to those truly in need of the safety gear and for the monetary donations to build the center!
Prayer Vigil at Mount Trashmore
June 2, 2020

 
The VAACC joined the Virginia Beach chapter of the NAACP and the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference for a peaceful, successful Prayer Vigil at Mount Trashmore, gathering to mourn the death of George Floyd in Minnesota after an attempted police arrest, plus other lives lost to police violence.

Many elected officials attended and VAACC founder Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond addressed the crowd. What a wonderful turn-out!

Several Board members including Tony Spencer, Cheryl Davidson, Justin Cowell, and Charter Member Wayne Lynch assisted with the distribution of masks to those without. We are grateful to the New Creation UMC COVID-19 Maskforce, who delivered and donated 49 additional face masks! Thank you all! #VBIMC #VBNAACP #VAACCVB
BLACK LIVES MATTER ON THE BOARDWALK 
June 13, 2020
VAACC Founder and Chair Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond led the chanting to “Black Lives Matter” on an early Saturday morning in June at the Virginia Beach boardwalk before dozens laid down to spell those very same words. ViBe Creative District partnered with VAACC and others to use the creative arts to peacefully express feelings.
JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION HIGHLIGHTS
Interview and Proclamation
June 18, 2020
Top photo: The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department interviewed VAACC Founder and Chairman Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond as part of its Insta-Live stream about VAACC and Juneteeth. Dr. Ross-Hammond was joined by Community Volunteer and Author Mary Dotson who initiated the Juneteeth celebrations in the City last year. Watch the video on YouTube.
 
Dr. Ross-Hammond also read Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer’s  Proclamation declaring Juneteenth a City-paid holiday

Below: The Virginia Beach Juneteenth Proclamation
A Juneteenth Community Gathering Celebration
Croc's 19th Street Bistro
June 19, 2020
Folks came together for a "Community Gathering Celebration" for an historical impromptu re-enactment of Juneteenth. The celebration included songs and Southern entrees, for $19 a plate in honor of June 19th. Croc's restaurant owner Laura Habr donated 20 percent of the sales to the VAACC.

Watch the afternoon's event in these two videos.
VIRTUAL CELEBRATION
The Virginia Beach Public Libraries hosted a virtual Juneteenth celebration with speaker Bruce Williams, VAACC President. He shared the accomplishments and struggles of local African American heroes as part of the libraries' "Seeing Beyond Low-Vision" series. 
LISTEN. LEARN. LOVE.
June 19, 2020
A group of business, faith and civic leaders in Virginia Beach announced the forming of  "Listen. Learn. Love." - a grassroots initiative to fast-track the diversity and Inclusion conversation in the community, including VAACC members.
VAACC  Board ZOOM Retreat
June 13 and 23, 2020
In this era of COVID-19, VAACC Board Members met virtually via Zoom for its annual retreat. The meetings were facilitated by Donna Speller Turner, President, Advantage Business Strategies, Inc. The topic was, “Board Governance”.

The Board of Directors revised the organization’s business card to make it more succinct and included a code square along with three catch-phrase code words for marketing purposes: Curate, Cultivate and Communicate. Special thanks to Donna for an excellent workshop.
Kids' Peaceful March to VAACC Future Home
July 25, 2020
VAACC was proud to be a part of this peaceful, educational march organized by Tanecia Newman for these children, who became our first honorary student members. Thank you to the Virginia Beach Police's 3rd Precinct and EMS for escorting the children. #peacefulmarch #BLM
Watch the Channel 3 television story.
Newsworthy Highlights
Welcome to VAACC's New Board of Director Leaders
Vice President

W. Terry Calhoun is a high school counselor, youth mentor and advisor in VBPCS and in the Hampton Roads area, He is a lifetime member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., NAACP and a 20+ U.S. Navy Veteran. He is married with two adult daughters.
Parliamentarian and Membership Drive Chair
 
Shevette Jones strives to be a servant leader in all endeavors. She never expects more of others than she demands of herself. 
Saying Goodbye to Great Leaders
America said goodbye to two fearless Civil Rights leaders on the same day - July 17, 2020. Congressman John Lewis, We thank Congressman John Lewis and Pastor C.T. Vivian for their leadership in the face of adversity and racism. You both were a true Americans who fought tirelessly for Civil Rights their entire lives. #RIP
MILESTONES
Welcome to Virginia Beach's new City Manager who happens to be the first black to hold the position. Patrick Duhaney comes to us from Cincinnati. He started the position last month.

The U.S. Navy welcomed its first black female Tactical Aircraft pilot, Lt. j.g. Madeline Swegle, and the Virginia Beach Police Department promoted one of its own to be the first Latina holding the title sergeant - Sgt. Cynthia Santiago. #congratulations #welldeserved #firsts 
VAACC welcomes its new members and thanks its donors. Read below to find out about our latest push for new members.
Upcoming Event
Membership Drive  
Curate. Cultivate. Communicate. 

PLEASE CONSIDER A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT.
MAKE A PLEDGE TO OUR BUILDING FUND.

*VAACC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible.  

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Conceptual rendering of building by Hanbury.  
Since our inception, VAACC has reached thousands through our interactive programs, artwork, co-partnerships, forums, lectures, social media, outreach activities and volunteerism. 

The Center will be sustained with an appropriate & achievable mix of earned and contributed income. We believe the Center is a project worthy of your support, especially during this pandemic.


Thanks in advance for your patronage and support as we prepare to engage our audiences through virtual media offerings of history, cultural performers and storytelling.

Special acknowledgments go to the City of Virginia Beach, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission, our local sponsors, as well as the cities of Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton and Richmond.

Stay safe, healthy and God bless,
 
VAACC Chairman and Board of Directors
Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc.  
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