The Department of African American Studies (AFAM) partners with the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (GSWS) to offer an internship program for AFAM and GSWS majors. Both disciplines are grounded in the principle that thought cannot be separated from action, education cannot be separated from experience and the university cannot be separated from the community.
Our internship program is designed to provide AFAM and GSWS majors with an opportunity to apply the work they are doing in the classroom to the work that is happening all around us in Richmond. It provides students with real-life experience working with and in service of our community. It aims to foster the professional development of students in areas of critical interest to African American studies; gender, sexuality and women’s studies; and the community at large.
The internship program runs in the fall and spring semesters. It is a mandatory requirement for African American studies majors, who should enroll in the program in the semester before their final semester and prior to taking their AFAM 499 Capstone.
Please complete our internship application form to start planning your internship experience.
Afrikana Film Festival
Afrikana Film Festival works to celebrate Black art, creativity and lives through its film festival showcases. It aims to celebrate, elevate and further validate Black stories, Black voices and Black lives. The mission of the organization is to present high-quality, well-crafted stories that highlight the diaspora and encourage people to connect.
Us Giving Richmond Connections: Black Pride RVA
Since 2018, UGRC has hosted Black Pride RVA, the first Black and LGBTQ event of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia. UGRC works to improve the health and well-being of Black LGBTQ communities of greater Richmond. The organization formed as a group of dedicated Black LGBTQ community leaders who saw the need for a coming together of LGBTQ persons of color.
Elegba Folklore Society
Through its cultural center, performance company, guided heritage tours, and its staging of events like Kwanzaa and Juneteenth, the Elegba Folklore Society has long offered the Richmond community a lively celebration of African and African American culture. Elegba, from the Yoruba cosmology, is an Orisa or intercessor who opens the roads, bringing clarity out of confusion. By sharing and promoting African diasporic cultural experiences, the Elegba Folklore Society likewise enriches the Richmond community. It fosters an understanding of the present that values and is rooted in the past.
Girls For a Change
Girls For a Change focuses on the empowerment and uplifting of Black girls and other girls of color. The organization views this action as a first step to end the prejudice, poverty and lack of resources that leave Black girls and young women vulnerable at the margins of society. GFAC programs focus on problem-solving skills, movement building, leadership skills, goal planning, financial literacy, network building, exposure, community engagement, skill building, sisterhood building and socio-emotional learning, among other things. They address various issues including institutional racism, sexism, the digital divide and the glass ceiling, which for many Black girls can be a concrete ceiling.
Jail Mail/Black and Pink
A collaboration with VCU’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, Jail Mail/Black and Pink offers the opportunity to express solidarity for and support our friends, neighbors and family members who are incarcerated. Using both local databases and the national Black and Pink database, volunteers write letters to those currently incarcerated as well as plan events in support of people who are incarcerated.
The United States government responded to liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s by utilizing its criminal justice system. Today, members of these organizations — the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, the Republic of New Afrika, the American Indian Movement and others — remain incarcerated. The Jericho Movement was organized in 1998 to gain recognition of the fact that these political prisoners and prisoners of war are being detained in the United States, and to work toward winning their amnesty and freedom.
Preservation Virginia seeks to protect and raise awareness of Virginia’s historic places. Among these sites are places of historical importance to Virginia’s Black community, including Civil War battlefields in which Black Union soldiers fought; Green Book sites (the network of Black-owned establishments and businesses that facilitated Black people’s travel during the era of Jim Crow); Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, the spiritual hub for the post-emancipation Black community of Settlement; the Shockoe Hill African Burial Ground in Richmond; and many others. Preservation work engages with a host of social justice issues, including environmental justice, gentrification, affordable housing and the protection of threatened communities. Review a detailed list [Google document] of potential internship projects with Preservation Virginia.
Restoration Fellowship is a church daring to do church differently. It is a safe space for all persons recovering from life’s hurt. As a praying church that embraces diversity, they look to build, develop and strengthen relationships. They provide encouragement and provide healing to the lost, hurt and untouched in our community.
Richmond Public Schools, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Richmond Public Schools is located in a district where learners have the opportunity to explore a rich diversity of cultural and historical experiences. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction works to ensure that all students and teachers have a complex and complete picture of the past. Interns will work on projects related to history and social science. Past projects include InspireVA Voter Registration, Mayor Talks with Levar Stoney and the annual RPS History Fair.
Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project
The Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project is Virginia’s grassroots abortion fund. The RRFP provides practical and financial support for abortion services in Virginia and the surrounding communities. It engages in grassroots advocacy for the full spectrum of reproductive rights.
Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
Launched in 2004 by the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Quality to facilitate the campaign to reclaim “Gabriel’s Rebellion” and Richmond’s African Burial Ground, the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project seeks to expand and promote community access to and understanding of its public history resources.
The "Virginia Defender" is a statewide community newspaper that is published quarterly in Richmond. Produced by an all-volunteer staff, the newspaper provides news and analysis of interest to poor and working-class people, with an emphasis on the Black community. The paper brings on interns who are committed to social justice and interested in gaining on-the-ground experience in newspaper reporting, research and/or writing.