Getting Organized! How to Help Create Inclusive Communities
Community organizing can take many forms, from civic engagement to the democratization of art. We all have a role to play in creating healthy, inclusive communities. This panel explores how local organizers shape their communities through youth civic engagement, exhibition of art, and cultural resource management. Attendees will come away with a better sense of how we can build into our communities through our own unique skills and passions.
Justin Reid - Director, Community Initiatives, Virginia Humanities
Justin G. Reid is Director of Community Initiatives at Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, where he helps lead their statewide engagement, partnership building, and General Assembly African American Cultural Task Force. Justin previously worked for the Moton Museum & National Historic Landmark in his hometown, Farmville, VA, where his family were litigants in the U.S. Supreme Court decision outlawing local “massive resistance” to school desegregation. In 2013 he oversaw the opening of Moton’s national award-winning, $6M permanent exhibition on Civil Rights Era student activism. He is a co-founder of William & Mary’s Lemon Project on race, public history and memory, and a board member of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and Virginia Tourism Corporation.
Dani Rivera - Founder, Just Orange
An Orange Co. resident, Wife, Mother + Community Organizer. She is a Co-Founder of the Youth Civic Group “Just Orange” formulated in Oct. 2020. Throughout the last 2.5 years Dani has organized multiple Voter Registration Drives featuring the Youth of Orange Co. alongside both local, state + federal elected Leaders such as Mayor of Orange Martha Roby, Delegate for District 30 Nick Freitas, Congresswoman for VA 07 Abigail Spanberger + former VA Attorney General Mark Herring.
Dani’s vision + mission are all about getting young people engaged and excited to be active members in their community, with Youth Ambassadors (JO Youth Members aka JOYA’s) starting in 5th grade the ultimate goal is to inspire + educate these young people about how community works through the age of 17 years old when they will become eligible to register to vote.
Dani works as a Benefits Program Specialist at Albemarle Dept. Of Social Services and has over 20 years of experience as an Advocate in the Healthcare field. She is a very active member of her community. Dani was recently appointed as the District 3 Orange Co. Representative on the Youth Commission. Dani is a team member on multiple projects with different community groups + entities such as the Orange Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club of Orange, James Madison’s Montpelier + more! She’s full of positive, intentional energy and is ready to spread her light to the masses in the effort to foster + nurture the young people (and EVERYONE) in her community.
Anna Pillow - Director, Arts Center in Orange
Born and raised in rural Virginia, Anna Pillow is the Executive Director of The Arts Center in Orange. She holds an MA in East Asian Art from Sotheby’s Institute in London, earned her BFA in Painting from Old Dominion University, and believes that supporting artists is crucial for thriving, resilient communities. Anna has worked internationally with artists, institutions, and galleries including Japanese Living National Treasures, Takashi Murakami, Ai Weiwei, SculptureCenter, the Park Avenue Armory, Chambers Fine Art, and Asia House UK, among others. She is also an artist who works in porcelain to create objects that celebrate the beauty of everyday life.
About the moderator
Mary Furlong Minkoff, Assistant Director of Archaeology and Curator of Archaeological Collections, joined the Montpelier staff in October 2015. She earned her PhD at the University of Maryland, College Park where she specialized in civically engaged archaeology, community archaeology, African American archaeology, sensory archaeology, and Civil War archaeology. Her dissertation focused on working with descendants to uncover the archaeology and memories of The Fort community in Alexandria, Virginia and African American communities associated with other Civil War Defenses of Washington sites. Prior to coming to Montpelier, Mary worked with the National Park Service in a variety of areas including the National Capital Regional Archaeology Office and as an archaeologist for the Urban Archaeology Corps youth program. Mary also worked for the Florida Public Archaeology Network as the Outreach Coordinator for the Northwest Regional Office. She earned her MA in Historical Archaeology from the University of West Florida and BA in Anthropology and History from the University of Mississippi. Mary has worked on archaeological sites spanning the prehistoric and historic time periods throughout the Southeast and Mid Atlantic regions of the United States and in Veracruz, Mexico.