Viva RVA! and the celebration of Richmond’s LGBTQ+ & Latinx community
Each year, Americans observe Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. In 2019, Diversity Richmond’s board member Fernando Rodríguez created Viva RVA!, our signature outreach program serving Richmond’s LGBTQ+ & Latinx community.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, and under Raul Cantu's leadership, it facilitated several food drives and COVID-19 testing events in coordination with the Virginia Department of Health (VDA). Recently we made the painful decision to postpone the Viva RVA! Hispanic Music Festival, scheduled for October 2nd, until next year due to the surge in cases of COVID-19 in Virginia and the Richmond Region
To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to announce a partnership with local artist Marshall Higgins, a visual artist based in Richmond and who specializes in large-scale commercial mural installations. The soon-to-be father collaborated with fellow artist Ben Batemann to paint the Viva RVA! logo outside the main Event Hall.
“I am lucky to have been around and been influenced by people in the LGBTQ community who’ve shown me nothing but love,” said Higgins.
We are also excited to announce a partnership with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Engagement (OIRE) and the Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) to host the inaugural class of the Latino Entrepreneurship Academy. 20 Hispanic participants will learn about entrepreneurship from concept to execution during the 15-week course. Several sessions will be led by LGBTQ Latino business owners and financial experts and the Academy that will begin in October.
“We are thrilled and thankful to receive the support from Diversity Richmond in the launch of this new program for the Latino Entrepreneurs in the City of Richmond. We hope this is the beginning of a lasting partnership that will benefit of the Latino community in RVA,” said OIRE Manager Karla Almendarez-Ramos.
“The City’s Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) is dedicated to making diversity and inclusion a business priority, and therefore is working with the Latino Entrepreneurship Academy to accomplish this mission. We give thanks to our partners, the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Engagement and Diversity Richmond. We anticipate great results from our collective efforts.” Stated OMBD Director, Pat Foster.
Please stop by and view the Viva RVA! mural and follow Viva RVA! on Facebook for more updates regarding the Latino Entrepreneurship Academy.