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Five People 'Being the Change' in Charlottesville

graphic of 6 individuals with the words "Being the Change" overlaid
From left to right: Myra Anderson, Katie Kishore, Jimmy Hollins, Karina Monroy and Robert Gray. 

Meet five individuals who are striving to make a difference in the Charlottesville community — often behind the scenes — in the areas of mental health, entrepreneurship, historical preservation, education and mentorship. Find out what inspires them to do the work and how we can all be changemakers during this special episode of “Charlottesville Inside-Out.”


Myra Anderson

Myra Anderson standing outside with trees in background
Photo by Terri Allard

Myra Anderson is a poet and a UVA Equity Center Community Fellow-in-Residence. As a descendant of enslaved families of Monticello and the University of Virginia, Myra reflects upon her roots and her own experiences to help make changes in mental health services and support for African Americans. She founded Brave Souls on Fire – a peer-run organization focused on emotional wellness, advocacy and healing justice for African Americans.

Robert Gray

Robert Gray standing outside near a road with direction signs in the background
Photo by Terri Allard

Robert Gray is a father, a sports enthusiast and a member of the community hotline network, “Sitdowns Before Shootouts.” Having dropped out of college twice before earning his political science degree, Robert is committed to giving community youth the chances they need to succeed. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Conscious Capitalist Foundation – an organization that works to interrupt the school to prison pipeline by providing financial literacy training, business skills, and credible messenger mentoring.

Katie Kishore

five people standing in coffee cafe
Photo by Terri Allard

Katie Kishore is proof that sudden life changes can make us reevaluate our priorities and our perceptions, and help us to understand how much we can learn from people with different experiences. Katie Kishore — a former college athlete and former educator — founded Kindness Cafe, a nonprofit coffee shop created to employ adults with cognitive disabilities.

Jimmy Hollins

Man standing in front of sign for Jackson P. Burley high school
Photo by Terri Allard

Jimmy Hollins is the co-founder of the Burley Varsity Club, a group of athletes who attended the all-Black high school that served the community from 1951 to 1967. The organization focuses on preserving the history of their beloved school and was recently successful in listing the building as a Virginia Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. Jimmy is currently helping with the Burley Restoration Project — quietly working behind the scenes with area partners — to restore and modernize the existing athletic field and facility.

Karina Monroy

Woman sitting at a desk in an art room
Photo by Terri Allard

Karina Monroy describes herself as an artist, a community organizer, a chicken-raiser and her grandmother's legacy. Karina draws on her own life experiences to inform her work as the Executive Director of Creciendo Juntos, where she strives to provide a platform for the Latinx youth community through art, education, leadership development and workgroups.