As the Commission moves forward, it remains steadfast in its commitment to transparency. By the end of the fall 2023 academic year, a comprehensive report containing recommendations will be presented to VCU's Board of Visitors.
To stay fully connected and well-informed about the progress made by the Commission, we encourage you to regularly visit this page for monthly updates.
- Commission Establishment, Planning Phase Initiation, and Work Plan: The Commission established its membership and charge, initiating the initial planning phase for community forums. This stage involved a comprehensive assessment of goals, objectives, and forum topics, alongside the identification of potential stakeholders and targeted strategies. Subsequently, the Commission developed and approved its work plan.
- Expert Insights: Dr. Peter Wosh shared valuable insights from the report on "Slavery and the Medical College of Virginia," shedding light on the important historical context. Local historian Elvatrice Belsches also engaged the Commission with thought-provoking questions and comments, enriching the discussion and guiding their work moving forward.
- Project Background: Dr. Jody Lynn Allen and Dr. Fanchon Glover provided comprehensive background information and insightful perspectives on William & Mary's Lemon Project, contributing to further considerations and a deeper understanding of Project Gabriel's importance and significance.
- Public Forums: The Commission planned three public forums focused on memorialization, scholarships, and community and individual economic programs. These well-attended events saw active participation from several hundred community members, whose valuable insights were recorded, transcribed and grouped into key themes. The key themes that emerged from each forum were shared with Commission members, serving as essential considerations for future recommendations.
- Virtual Forum: Project Gabriel's third event, held on April 11, brought together participants in a virtual setting for feedback.
- Data Analysis: The Commission began transcribing and analyzing the data collected from all of the forums. The focus was to identify key themes and insights from the forum discussions.
- Draft Recommendations: Three dedicated workgroups were established to develop draft recommendations in specific areas. These workgroups will focus on community and individual programs, scholarships, and memorialization. The resulting recommendations will be presented to the VCU President by the co-chairs.
- Preliminary Recommendations Finalized and Presented: The preliminary recommendations were finalized and presented by the co-chairs at the May 12, 2023, Board of Visitors meeting, where they highlighted the key themes identified during the process to date.
- Prioritizing and Validating Recommendations: The planning process began for additional community forums, with goals to prioritize, validate, and ensure inclusive recommendations.
- Logistics Planning for Community Forums: The commission continued its logistics planning efforts for the upcoming community forums scheduled for June 29 and July 11.
- Process Planning for Operational Plans: The commission initiated the planning process to establish a structured approach for creating operational plans to support the recommendations once the community validated them. This included the formation of workgroups and the development of corresponding templates to facilitate their work.
- Public Forums: The summer forums were conducted to validate existing recommendations and gather supplementary input to further refine and solidify the final recommendations.
- Formation of Targeted Workgroups: To drive targeted efforts, four workgroups were formed, centered around scholarships, memorialization, and community and individual programs. Comprising community members, organizational leaders, and VCU/VCU Health System representatives across departments, these groups held the mission to operationalize the recommendations, while leveraging feedback from the forums.
- Operationalizing Recommendations: Workgroups held regular meetings where they collaboratively developed detailed strategies for implementing each recommendation. These strategies covered important aspects such as projected funding, timelines, identifying responsible entities, and establishing partnerships with the community.
- Submission of Operational Plans: Workgroups finalized the operation plans, which will serve as a rough blueprint for implementing the recommendations, and this information was submitted to the co-chairs.
- Final report submission: The final report detailing the Project Gabriel journey and final recommendations was drafted and submitted to the Board of Visitors for review.
- Presentation of final recommendations: Co-chairs Sheryl and Dr. Peay presented the proposed recommendations to VCU's Board of Visitors with a request that the VCU Board of Visitors receive the recommendations in the report and direct VCU's administration to review and consider the Commission's recommendations and strategies with all deliberate speed in light of potential legislative changes, resource availability, operational plans, and guidance from legal counsel. The Board of Visitors would receive an annual update from VCU’s administration on the progress.
This motion was approved on September 15, 2023.