Imagining Richmond’s Just Future

Join us virtually to hear insights on truth, racial healing, and what to do next with changemakers from Richmond.

Friday, September 22, 2023

4:15pm - 5:15pm EASTERN

Over the course of four days, this year’s Vanguards, alumni, Next City staff and board members will engage with changemakers in Richmond, Virginia. Vanguard 2023 is Next City’s 15th experiential urban leadership gathering of rising urban leaders. From food access and housing to community engagement and transportation, each conversation and tour will have a focus on this year’s theme, Repairing Harm and Creating a More Just Future.

We also want you to hear from people making equity a reality in Richmond. Join us virtually for a live-streamed Pecha Kucha session. During their 7-8 minute presentations, Richmonders will offer their perspectives and insights on truth, racial healing, and what to do next to ensure a just future for all.

Presentations will be followed by closing Q&A with presenters and the virtual audience.


Lacette Cross, Diversity Richmond
Presentation Title: Living Our Truth in Plain Sight

Rev. Dr. Lacette Cross is an experienced leader and facilitator. She presents on topics at the intersection of racial equity, LGBTQ+ inclusion, faith and leadership. She serves as executive director of Diversity Richmond, the first Black woman in the position. Lacette is an avid traveler and enjoys time with friends.


Art Burton, Kinfolk Community Inc.
Arthur Lewis Burton is the founder and executive director of Kinfolk Community Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that this is the last generation of children in the city of Richmond that suffer from poverty. Art’s past nonprofit service includes working for the Highland Park Restoration and Preservation Program and Virginia Supportive Housing. Art also served on the Richmond Branch NAACP Housing Committee. Art has lived in Richmond’s Northside Highland Park community for 15 years.


Ebony Walden, Ebony Walden Consulting (EWC)
Ebony is the founder and principal consultant at Ebony Walden Consulting (EWC), an urban strategy firm. Before founding EWC, Ebony worked in local government and for nonprofit organizations dedicated to citywide and neighborhood-level revitalization. Ebony is an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University where she teaches diversity, equity and inclusion. She is also the creator of Richmond Racial Equity Essays, a multi-media project that explores solutions for creating a more equitable Richmond.


Kai Banks, Storefront for Community Design
Kai Banks is the Youth Innovation Director for Storefront for Community Design. A Richmond City resident, Richmond Public School Health Advisory Board member, and Circle Keeper for the east end neighborhood. A member of the Richmond Food Justice Alliance focused on inclusive community engagement around healthy food access and policy.


Lark Washington, Maggie Walker Community Land Trust
Lark Washington is COO at Maggie Walker Community Land Trust where she leads fund development. She previously worked at Dept. of Housing & Community Development and PlanRVA. She holds a Master of Urban & Regional Planning (MURP) degree from VCU and B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Univ. of Virginia.


Micah White, Vice President of Development, Metropolitan Business League (MBL)
Micah White's enthusiasm and energy radiates wherever he goes. His remarkable journey, rooted in Birmingham and characterized by resilience, humor, and a commitment to uplifting others, has taken him on a remarkable 27-year career in stand-up comedy, public speaking and philanthropy. White remains deeply connected to his roots in Birmingham and loves to serve the community in his current home in Richmond, Virginia. He is the visionary founder of “RVA Has Talent,” an organization dedicated to fostering collaborations between local artists and nonprofits in the Greater Richmond area.

Off the stage, White serves as the vice president of development for the Metropolitan Business League (MBL). He also sits on the boards of Boys & Girls Club, Caritas, Forward Foundation, Backpacks of Love (President), Richmond Volleyball Club (Vice President), and VPM. As a TEDxRVA speaker, he has used his platform to address critical issues such as diversity, growth, and inclusion within corporations and organizations.

Presented by:

The Weissberg Foundation, a family foundation rooted in Virginia, believes building the power of those most negatively impacted by racism is the central path to dismantling structural racism. We center Black and Indigenous people, while supporting all communities of color, in Virginia and its surrounding regions. Through funding, amplification, capacity building and collaboration, we advance organizations and efforts building power of those most negatively impacted by racism. We are committed to activating 100% of our assets for racial equity and justice.

Made Possible With Support By:

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at

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