Unity Week

Unity Week is a week-long inclusive celebration and acceptance of others being held October 13 - 19. Activities and acts of unity will be happening all around the city, including recreation centers, parks, libraries, museums, the aquarium, and even at athletic events! Everyone is welcome to get involved and share their photos and messages of unity online #VBunity. The week will culminate with an inclusion celebration at Mount Trashmore on Saturday, October 19, 2019, from noon – 3 p.m.

 Unity Week Celebration Event

​Join us for a unifying celebration at Mount Trashmore Park on Saturday, October 19, 2019, from noon – 3 p.m. ​ (Rain Date: October 20, 2019).  Enjoy food trucks, children’s activities, face painting, a bounce house, a sensory zone, displays, and interaction with community organizations that promote unity and diversity.  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Passport Picnic Virginia Beach EventsMindful Unity Yoga by Christine Herrell & Angela Taylor​

Presented by Virginia Community Yoga in partnership with Mindful Arts & Healing
12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.​

Unity is about meaningful connection with those around us anywhere in our community. Yogis Christine Herrell and Angela Taylor are on a mission to help build healthy connections all over Virginia Beach! Connection with others begins with your own inner connections between mind, body, and spirit. As a practical skill, mindfulness and yoga techniques can be applied to everyday living improving general wellbeing and fitness to sensory and social adaptation, even improved communication and reduced stress. Prepare yourself for all that our Unity Week Celebration has to offer by stretching your body, mind, and spirit in this interactive workshop. For more information about Virginia Community Yoga visit their website, Mindful Arts & Healing or follow them on Facebook page or their website. ​

Bow Creek Block PartyDance, Baile, Ngoma! By Rita Cohen​    ​

Presented by Tidewater African Cultural Alliance​
1:05 p.m. - 1:35 p.m.​

Dance is a universal physical expression of emotion that has roots in every culture! Explore some of the beautiful cultures around the world in this Interactive dance experience featuring moves and music from four continents, many cultures, and multiple languages. Rita Cohen will have you moving to your own personal comfort level in no time with infectious beats that make for loads of fun. While you get your groove on, learn about dances and rhythms from South America, North America, Africa, and Europe. Try out your foreign language skills with a bit of Spanish, Creole, Twi!

Bow Creek Block PartyMil's Trills​

Presented by VB GIGs
2 p.m - 3 p.m. 

Mil's Trills is a Brooklyn-based children's music project dedicated to creating positive inclusive experiences that strive to empower and embrace young audiences and families through music. Come out and see her and her surprise band of regional musicians.​ To learn more about Mil's Trills or to listen to her music visit her website.


 Why We Celebrate


Initiated by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation's Inclusion Services Unit in 2018, Unity Week is a celebration of our differences and a movement towards everyone in the community embracing the unique aspects that set us apart. This year, VBPR invited other city departments to join us as we continue to move the initiative forward. Throughout the week, city staff will be promoting unity by wearing ora​nge, sharing special messages, a​nd providing opportunities for the community to join in. At VBPR, we’ll be engaging members in our recreation centers, participants in our Out-of-School Time Programs, and even getting our volunteers involved like those from the Mayor’s Youth Leaders in Action (MYLA.)

We invite all businesses, schools, families, and individuals to get onboard and help us promote a culture of inclusion and acceptance! ​

 ​ Be the I in Unity!

​Be the I in Unity! 

Join the movement of acceptance and inclusion during Unity Week. Come take your picture with our "Be the I in Unity" banner at any of the following locations. Share your photo with us using #VBunity.

Oct 13 - Virginia Aquarium
Oct 14 - Joint Use Library
Oct 15 - Virginia Beach City Hall lobby, Building 1 at the Municipal Center
Oct 16 - Great Neck Recreation Center
Oct 17 - Human Services office, 3432 Virginia Beach Blvd.
Oct 18 - Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, Town Center
Oct 19 - Mount Trashmore Park​

 Parks & Recreation Presents

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation will be recognizing the importance of unity across the department. Team members will be wearing orange, greeting visitors in different languages, providing free inclusive activities like story hours in rec centers, and sharing photos and posts about unity throughout the week on our Facebook page​.

Out-of-School Time Programs at Bayside, Great Neck, and Princess Anne rec centers will be having special anti-bullying presentations by the Mayor’s Youth Leaders in Action. The Sports Management Division is going orange at the Princess Anne Athletic Complex and teams in youth athletic leagues will be having an “orange out” game!​​

Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Presents: Free Group Fitness Classes Les Mills Launch Week | October 14-20, 2019 | Classes will be held at various Recreation Centers throughout Virginia Beach

Free select drop-in group fitness classes are offered throughout the week of October 14 - October 20. No membership required.

 Cultural Affairs Presents

Cultural Affairs Presents: Hands-on History Tours 

Virginia Beach History Museums Tour | Tuesday, October 15 & Wednesday, October 16 | Thoroughgood House *Please continue to check back for times

Take a sensory-friendly tour through the historic Thoroughgood House, one of the oldest surviving colonial homes in Virginia Beach and a National Historic Landmark. The hands-on tour will allow visitors of all abilities to have tactile, olfactory, and extra visual items to enhance the material being provided by the Docent leading the tour. The baskets will be available in each room of the Thoroughgood House and extra time will be provided in each room for full sensory enjoyment.

Virginia Beach History Museums Tour | Tuesday, October 15 & Wednesday, October 16 | Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum (located inside the Renaissance Academy) ​​*Please continue to check back for times

The English as a second language tours at Princess Anne County Training School/Union Kempsville High School Museum (PACTS/UK) will be offered on Tuesday & Wednesday during set times. Tours will be offered in various languages to better assist our ESL community members and visitors to the museum. 
Tours at  PACTS/UK are free to attend and will be led by tour guides. ​

​​​Public Art Unity Week Activites

The City of Virginia Beach, Cultural Affairs Department is proud to support work in the public space that highlights our diverse communities, delicate ecology and gives space for deeper conversations around local and global environmental situations. We invite you to explore our public art in our communities, through our trials and in the virtual space. Stimulate your sense of curiosity and wonder amongst the butterflies, in the oral history tradition, listen to stories from our community, and discover how public art impacts the world around us! Visit the Virginia Beach Public Art website to view a full image gallery and site maps.​

Portraits from a Place of Grace | By Richard Hollant 
Location: Future Home of the African American Cultural Center on the corner of Newtown Road and Hampshire Way near Baker Crossing

​Commissioned by the City of Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach (AACCVB), the immersive project celebrates Virginia Beach’s historic African American neighborhoods and their residents. 

Through a network of community leaders, the artist, Richard Hollant, and AACCVB leaders reached out to the historic African American neighborhoods in Virginia Beach to identify a broad range of residents who would contribute to the visual tapestry and oral history depicting the Black experience in the city. With the hospitality of Ebenezer Baptist Church and New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, neighborhood residents were photographed and video-recorded over several months. 

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“Hollant traveled through the community and got to know some of the people here—developing a rapport that would create familiarity and comfort when the time came to capture portraits,” said Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, founder and chairman of the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach. “The portraits reflect the dignity, resiliency and hopes of several generations.” 

Portraits from a Place of Grace captures the essence of a timeless story. The hope is to tell the stories of the past and ‘the now’ of the historic African American neighborhoods in Virginia Beach, and to portray residents as they meet each other, stand together and imagine a new, bold future for generations to come. 
Visit the accompanying dimensional, walk-through installation at the future home of the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach on the corner of Newtown Road and Hampshire Way. This piece is intended as both a work of art and a place of reflection. Stay a while among the portraits of our community members and contemplate our shared spirit.

To view all of the portraits and videos of the inspiring community members please visit ​Portraits From A Place Of Grace online or to learn more about the project visit http://portraitsofgrace.us/​.

Parallel Migrations XXV | By Anne Dushanko Dobek
Location: The trails at Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Park

The City of Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department in partnership with Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation created this artist residency at Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area. Virginia Beach’s Eco Public Art residencies are designed to inform and highlight Virginia Beach’s natural spaces. Parallel Migrations XXV" by Anne Dushanko Dobek;
her decades-long series of global installations in which she uses silkscreened images of the Monarch butterfly as a symbol of survival in the face of perilous journeys. We are honored to have Anne and her 25th AND LARGEST installation HERE in Virginia Beach. ​

Parallel Migrations sculpture web ready.jpg

About the Artist: Anne Dushanko Dobek is a conceptual artist whose work focuses on environmental and immigration issues. In “Parallel Migrations”, Dobek silkscreens thousands of unique Monarch butterfly images to symbolize the perilous journeys of immigrants and refugees. The series id often installed in remote, challenging, nontraditional sites, such as, oceans, forests and fields that invite examination of the images and provoke lively conversations about the content. 

Community Heroes | Under the direction of local art instructors, Jessica Van Veenhuyzen (Cox High School), Richard Nickel (Old Dominion University) and Christopher Revels (Young Audiences of Virginia) local high school students  

The City of Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the African American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach presented this interactive exhibition featuring portraits of 17 African American Heroes from Virginia Beach. Posters were displayed across Hampton Roads in guerrilla art style -- on the walls of local businesses, libraries, schools and other select locations. 

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Teens from diverse communities in Virginia Beach worked together in August to create an art project that educates the public about local African American heroes. Under the direction of local art instructors, Jessica Szymanski (Cox High School), Richard Nickel (Old Dominion University) and Christopher Revels (Young Audiences of Virginia) the students worked in teams to research a local hero and create a linocut portrait of that person. Visit the Virginia Beach Art website learn more about the Community Heroes Posters​, the teen artists and our community heroes.​

Bow Creek Block PartyAmjad Ali Jhan​

Friday, October 18 | 8 p.m. | Sandler Center of Performing Arts

Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to see legendary Indian Classical Music Master, Amjad Ali Khan! Friday, October 18th, celebrate cultural diversity by attending this unique performance! Amjad Ali Khan and his two sons are visiting only 3 cities on their US tour this year, and Virginia Beach is one! The performance features a tremendous array of music composed for the melodic multi-stringed instrument, the Sarod. Amjad Ali Khan is a national treasure and an ambassador of traditional Indian culture. Discounts for students, military members, and groups are available. To purchase tickets or for more information visit the Sandler Center website. ​

 Public Libraries Presents

Virginia Beach Public Libraries Presents: English Conversation Club & Adults with Disabilities Social Group​​

English Conversation Club ​​| Tuesday, October 15 | 2:30 p.m. | Central Library​     ​                                                                                                                                                       

If​ you are a non-native English speaker, join us to practice your conversational English in a friendly setting. Each week we discuss a different topic and do fun activities! Every Wednesday at 2:30 pm, and every Tuesday at 6:30 pm. Adults. Registration is not required.

Adults with Disabilities Social Group ​​| Wednesday, October 16 | 3 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. | Bayside Area Library

Get together with young adults with disabilities for socializing and entertainment.  Build friendships, offer support and share accomplishments. Registration is not required. Bayside Special Services Library will be printing braille bookmarks to give out during Unity Week.​

 Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Presents

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 Recipe Exchange

recipe-imageFood brings people together. For Unity Week, we invite Virginia Beach residents to sit around our virtual dinner table and share their favorite recipes that helped unite their families and friends. Please include exact measurements and directions, serving sizes and a brief description about where the recipe originated. Please note that recipes will be checked for clarity and appropriate content (please, no controlled substances as ingredients) but will not be kitchen-tested by the City of Virginia Beach. This is just a fun—and tasty—way to advance our common interests.​

Submit Recipe

View and download submitted recipes below!

                                                 ​Side Dishes  ​                                                            Desserts
                                             ​Irish Soda Bread 
                                     Loaded Baked Potato Salad
                                   Baked Sunshine Mac & Cheese​​​
                                                   ​Jerry's Pound Cake