Continuing Commitment to Environmental Justice
Environmental justice, as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws.”
Bridging The Gap In Virginia is committed to fostering personal growth in individuals and offers community-wide services through our environmental efforts. We uphold this commitment by combining restorative justice with positive environmental impacts. Through our Solar Installation Training Program, participants learn specialized skills while gaining a deeper understanding of their substantial contribution towards the future of renewable energy.
We hope to further our mission and extend our reach to other communities in need of advocacy and support.
Every six weeks, we offer a FREE solar installation training class in the City of Richmond in partnership with the City’s Office of Community Wealth Building and energy efficiency non-profit Viridiant. We have trained over 70 people to date, with several going on to pass the (fully subsidized) NABCEP PV Associate exam and landing jobs in the industry. If you’re interested in registering for an upcoming training, reach out to Richard Walker by email or phone.
Union Hill is located in Buckingham County, Virginia. This land was maintained by enslaved peoples as a tobacco plantation in the pre-Civil War era. In the late 1800s, newly freed slaves purchased parcels of land and began a community of freedmen now called Union Hill. Direct descendants of these families are still living on this land today. Though many records and documents were lost due to arson, an oral history has been passed down from generation to generation. The legacy of these freed families continues on as the backbone of the Union Hill community and is a testament to their resilience as a community and the historical importance of their land.
CEO Richard Walker is a member of the Harper family. Walker’s great-great-grandfather Taylor Harper purchased his family’s land in 1885 for a mere fifteen dollars. The family still meets on this land for family gatherings and to honor the history of their ancestors. Our recent efforts have been to locate the hundreds of unmarked slave burial plots and preserve Union Hill as a historical landmark that must be recognized.
For more information about this historic land, read about our efforts to bring well-deserved recognition to this community through news articles and events. Below are photos showing the beautiful, natural landscape of Union Hill, recent and historic marked gravestones, engagement with community members, and our continuing environmental advocacy efforts.