In spring 2021, The Walker Program released its Small Town Economic Revitalization and Racial Justice Guide, which provides a step-by-step framework to address racial inequity through the economic sector in the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, Rockbridge County and similarly sized communities. Created by a Washington and Lee University student, Courtney Berry, in partnership with the Washington and Lee University Office of Community-Based Learning, the guide assesses the program and suggests future directions for other cities. Most notably, it explains the process the program undertook, from high-level planning to fundraising, to curriculum curation, and finally implementation and funding. With no stone left unturned, the guide answers questions before they are asked and makes the steps toward combating inequity through entrepreneurship clear.
The Walker Program is a citizen-led initiative to address racial inequity in the local economic sector. Founded in 2020, the program aims to jumpstart businesses owned by people of color in Lexington, Buena Vista, and Rockbridge County, VA. The goal of the program is to establish four to six businesses owned and operated by people of color in the local community by December 2021, along with an ongoing network of support for these businesses. Current participants have finished training and are moving on to the final steps of the program before funding will be awarded to those who present viable business plans.
Image Credits: The Walker Program