Unity Week

Join us for a week-long inclusive celebration and acceptance of others.

Why Unity Matters

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Initiated by Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation's (VBPR) Inclusion Services unit in 2018, Unity Week is a celebration of our differences and a movement towards embracing the unique aspects that set us apart with positivity and acceptance.

In 2019, other city departments joined us to move the initiative forward and promoted unity by wearing orange, sharing special messages, and empowering the community to celebrate our differences. This year, we see a unique opportunity to go deeper. To truly have unity, we must listen and learn from others whose perspectives and experiences differ from our own. To create meaningful change and acceptance, we must seek to understand. Join us for an important series of online conversations covering race, LGBTQ+ issues, and religion. Or, start your own conversations using the resources below. 

Be a part of the unity movement – listen, learn, and share!


 Listening & Learning

Listening & Learning: Online Conversations to Promote Unity

Recordings

Watch highlights from our Unity Week virtual sessions from Unity Week.


Growing Our LGBTQ+ Acceptance on National Coming Out Day
Guest speakers:
  • Michael Berlucchi | Virginia Beach Council Member
  • Cole Werkheiser | Hampton Roads Pride 
  • Neva White | LGBT Liaison to the City Manager
Our panel shares their personal experiences, answer questions from the community, and provide perspective on actions that each of us can take in our everyday lives to become allies and foster positive change.

Islam & Judaism: Everything You've Wanted to Know But Afraid to Ask
Guest speakers: 
  • Rabbi Marc Kraus  
  • Imam Rachid Khould 
Our guest speakers moderate an open discussion about:
  • Q&A about the Jewish and Islamic faiths 
  • Discuss discrimination and perceived biases about members of these faiths including speakers' personal stories
  • Promote unity in the community through deepening your understanding of these faiths and be an advocate for the freedom of religious beliefs even if they differ from your own 

Race: A Conversation About Solutions for Sustainable Changes
Guest Speakers:
  • Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond Founder and Chairman, Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc. Chair, Mayor's Commission on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, City of Virginia Beach 
  • Dr. Sebrina A. Lindsay-Law Coordinator Equity and Opportunity Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Virginia Beach City Public Schools 
  • Debbie Woodbury, MPA, CPRP, CPM Regional Program Director, Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Activities City of Alexandria
Our panel presents an honest and open discussion to answer questions and share experiences regarding racial equity.
 

 Creating Conversation

Creating Conversation for Change and Understanding

One of the best ways that we all can work for unity is to listen to each other’s authentic lived experiences and create Newsletter articles 550x310 (39).pngunderstanding through conversation. If you are interested in holding your own discussion, keep these tips in mind: 

  1. Keep the group small and set ground rules for the scope of the discussion. 
  2. Be sure to listen. We often are coming up with a retort in our heads rather than really listening to what others are saying. Resist that urge. 
  3. Stay on topic and look for where you agree and disagree. 
  4. Avoid treating the conversation like a debate where there will be a winner. 
If you aren’t sure where to start, use the Conversation Agreements guide from LivingRoomConversations.org to get started or attend a Living Room Conversation facilitated by Virginia Beach Public Library. 

If you missed the 'Listening & Learning Webinar Series', click the links below to watch the highlights: 

Share pictures and screenshots with us on social @VBParksRec or email fun@vbgov.com.

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Why We Celebrate

 Kid-friendly Video Resources

Video Resources: Youth Perspectives on Unity

Members of the Mayor's Youth Leadership in Action program partnered with the Youth Opportunities Office to produce a series of videos featuring children sharing their perspectives on unity, kindness, diversity, leadership, and community service. Watch below or view the Unity Week playlist.



Unity

Leadership

Kindness
 

Diversity and Equality

Community Service

 #VBUnity Videos

What Does Unity Mean to You?

vbunity.pngCity of Virginia Beach leaders and staff share their thoughts on celebrating our differences and bringing our community together. Watch below or access the full playlist

What does UNITY mean to you? Share your thoughts and photos with us on Facebook and use the tag #VBUnity. Take a look at last year's Unity Week photo album.