2020 Annual Meeting

Diversity Fairs of Virginia Board of Directors Meeting

Minutes of the Zoom Meeting  October 25, 2020, 4pm

Members present:

  • Larry Roeder, Chair and President of the Corporation
  • Gertrude Evans (elected as a Member of the Board on Oct 25)
  • Sherri Simmons (Resignation as a Member of the Board, accepted on Oct 25, then elected as Adviser to the Board on Oct 25)
  • Carlos Lawson (elected as Member of the Board on Oct 25)[1]
  • Julie Goforth
  • Tony Arciero

Members Absent:

  • Doug Miller, Secretary, Hari Sharma, Treasurer, Randy Ihara, Vice President


  1. Election of new members
  2. Update on move to Douglass HS
  3. Public release of EWP information
  4. Status of Book project “Dirt Don’t Burn”
  5. Proposals for 2021 activities
  6. Reports of the Treasurer and Secretary (o be delayed until January 2021)
  7. Election of new members. The Board Chairman proposed that Sherri Simmons be moved from board member to adviser. He also nominated Gertrude Evans and Carlos Lawson to become board members. The motions were seconded and unanimously approved.
  8. Move to Douglass. The board Chairman provided a detailed update on the potential move of the archives from Round Hill to the Douglass HS building in Leesburg. Larry and Gert have been attending multiple meetings recently of the LCSB[2] Finance and Facilities Committee and the consensus is that the proposal is looking generally positive, especially as Jeff Morse has been strong supporter. Several hurdles remain and several decisions must be taken, especially on logistics and expenses by the corporation. There are also several rules changes as well by LCSB that are required before the plan is implemented.

Larry reported that he has sent pictures of the current space to the Finance and Facilities Committee, as well as exhibits to show our research and how we would use the new space for a museum and research center. Larry also suggested that the space could be used to teach student how to conduct research.  Larry also reported that there is some interest in restoring the Training Center as a museum.  Larry felt this was a good idea but a multi-million-dollar project.  Members also felt the building should be retained by the County to be of benefit to all citizens. The group also recommended sticking with the Douglass site.

  • Release of information. Larry reported that he had conversations with Pam Stewart, the director of the LCPS Archives office, who encouraged the Edwin Washington Project to make more documents available to the public, except for student and teacher records.[3] There are some cautions to be observed, and Larry and Julie agreed to consult and develop procedures for fielding information requests with LCPS and for deciding which information is appropriate for public release. As part of that process, Larry and Julie will standardize the naming convention for all EWP documents.
  • Book Project. “Dirt Don’t Burn.” Larry and Barry Harrelson will meet with the Georgetown University Press representatives this week to discuss status and next steps. Larry and Barry were requested by Georgetown to overall management for the book project and Larry will provide the single voice the book requires; but making sure to include concepts provided by a team of authors. Most chapters are written. The transportation and petitions chapters need additional refinement. Larry requested that all board members read the chapters as written and provide constructive feedback. Additionally, Larry is pursuing feedback from the African American community to ensure important perspectives are considered and well-represented.  Georgetown has recommended a formula for royalty distribution: one-half of royalties to the DFV organization and one half to the authors, which Larry supported as a model for future books.  Georgetown checks would be sent to DFV and then redistributed to the authors.
  • Activities for 2021. The following items were raised briefly and will be covered in detail at the January 2021 meeting (Date to be announced).
  • Bulletin of Loudoun County History. Discussion was held on future staffing requirements, funding, and publicity requirements. Potential partnerships are being discussed confidentially.  It will be important to avoid associations with political parties or the many emerging or past political cults.
  • Budget implications of the move to Douglass HS. Several fundraising opportunities have arisen and appear promising. There is a need to raise money for furniture and other essentials that will be needed after the move.
  • Two books under consideration – one a picture book of all “colored” schools to be created mainly by Neil Steinberg, and a manual describing how the EWP process works.
  • The Country Schools Association of America annual convention is scheduled for Denver in June of 2021. The Edwin Washington Project has been offered an opportunity to present and perhaps display several artifacts.
  • Larry proposed creating a grant committee, which was agreed to.  Larry also proposed that Julie form it.
  • The play project was also brought up again and was felt to be a golden opportunity to highlight accomplishments by the Black committee since the Civil War and as a tie-in to social justice movements like Black Lives Matter.  Larry asked Sherri and Gert to manage the process. Tony will participate as well.[4]
  • The meeting was closed, with agreement by all.

[1] Carlos is a founder of Diversity Fairs of Virginia.  He also acts as the Pastor to the Edwin Washington Project

[2] Loudoun County School Board

[3] We can still post who studied or taught at a school and when, as well as what was taught, as well develop aggregate data from the records.  The front side of teacher cards can also be shared. EWP 4.5 Teacher Cards. This project will require much effort but be hugely beneficial to the public.

[4] Note: 2/10/2021.   This project was put on hold in January 2021, (prior to the 2021 annual meeting) due the potential impact of Covid-19; the idea being to restart in 2021.  The goal is still to hold the play to the largest audience as possible and to involve school children from across the public school system in Loudoun County.