Towards a More Inclusive and Equitable Commonwealth

In February, the UVA Institute for Engagement & Negotiation in partnership with Governor Ralph Northam and his administration hosted a Summit on Equitable Collaboration. Over the course of two days, experienced professionals and leaders from across the commonwealth met to discuss and share their experiences increasing collaboration within a variety of fields. This Summit was an opportunity to introduce the six principles of Equitable Collaboration, developed by the Institute of Engagement & Negotiation as a part of their Transforming Community Spaces Initiative, and share the progress and continued opportunity for improvement Virginia has in its goal of a more equitable future. Learn more about the Summit below!

Twelve case studies across Health, Education, Natural Resources, and Community Development were presented in order to demonstrate the six principles of Equitable Collaboration in action. These principles are: Trauma-Informed, Inclusive, Responsive, Truth-Seeking, Deliberative, and Adaptive. In the field of Community Development, organization and community leaders shared their experiences and best practices in bridging divides and building community networks in order to grow community and individual resilience. Presenters emphasized the importance of youth engagement and building trust among partners. Others shared more creative avenues for increasing engagement and collaboration through the Community Voice Method. This mixed-media, non-traditional approach to community engagement helps to build trust through one-on-one interviews and the creation of a documentary showcasing the viewpoints of all participants. This film becomes a tool and natural jumping off point for future conversation and participatory planning efforts. It is an adaptable approach that allows for flexibility in order to meet the comfort level and scheduling demands of individuals across the community. The various sessions were recorded and will be available for distribution in the future. 

The UVA Institute of Engagement & Negotiation began developing this Toolkit in the summer of 2020, as they recognized the critical importance of having honest conversations about our history and our future. The objective of the Toolkit for Equitable Collaboration is to provide an actionable framework “for addressing issues in ways that center formerly silent voices and stories, that support community learning, that provide for more complete and honest histories, that recognize trauma and promote healing, and that support justice and equity.” For more information on this initiative and to learn more about equitable collaboration, the engagement process, and Transforming Community Spaces, click here!