Posts Tagged ‘institutional racism’

Everyone!

On Monday, Nov. 25, Richmond City Council will consider a critical resolution on the mayor’s proposal to put a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom. It’s not a legally binding resolution, but would put the council on record as being in favor of the proposal. This would be a big pubic relations victory for the mayor. Every council member is getting deluged with emails and phone calls about this issue and we are hearing they may decide not to vote, which would be a huge victory for our side. 

This is a real battle. The deep-pocketed, pro-business group Venture Richmond has hired a public relations firm to promote the mayor’s plan. Or, more exactly, the developers’ plan being fronted by the mayor. They were able to turn people out for Tuesday’s Land Use Committee meeting, which we also attended. They had more people there, but we had more people willing to speak, and that was the message the media carried.

WE NEED EVERYONE WHO CAN MAKE IT TO BE AT MONDAY’S CITY COUNCIL MEETING – 6 pm, Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, Richmond City Hall, 900 E. Broad St. Showing up is half the battle and we don’t want to lose this fight.

People are also needed to attend council’s Finance Committee meeting at 3 pm Thursday, Nov. 21. And please speak to the issue if the spirit moves you. It helps.

One last thing: The mayor says that if his plan is adopted, the city will gain net tax revenues of up to $187 million over the next 20 years.But he says If it builds a new stadium on the Boulevard, it will still gain half that amount. We say, keep baseball on the Boulevard and develop a historic district and major tourist destination in Shockoe Bottom and you’ll make even more in the long run, from taxes on hotel rooms and meals for the millions who would travel here in years to come. And you will avoid further cementing Richmond’s image as a backward, Confederate-tainted town that cares more about profits than respecting its Black history.

And whether or not you can make the meetings, please make sure you sign the online petition against the stadium – we’re close to 2,000 signatures! See http://shockoebottom.blogspot.com

Thanks,

Phil Wilayto
for the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
http://shockoebottom.blogspot.com/

Some folks helping Parents For Life 2012, did some research today. In less than 2 hours, using google, they were able to find evidence to support the case that AV Norrell Elementary is NOT fit to be re-opened.

Please read the articles below, and look out for an upcoming report from them on what can be found with the articles.

http://www.richmondcitywatch.com/forum3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2069

At tonight’s School Board Meeting, the School Board had decided in a work group meeting before to continue with their decision to re-open Norrell Elementary next week to host pre-school age children.
From 5-7 around 40 or more protesters came out and held signs in front of the 9th Street Entrance to City Hall. There was also a strong media presence.
When the School Board Meeting finally started around 7:30, around 7 or more people got up to speak against the re-opening of Norrell. Protesters made impassioned cases, bringing up numerous points against the re-opening. The School Board members seemed largely unaffected, and offered no response.
Please stay tuned, because if the School Board goes ahead with this ignorant, dangerous, environmentally and institutionally racist plan, they will continue to face a mounting resistance.
Email burtonal@live.com or parentsforlife.2012@gmail.com to get involved.
Don’t put our babies on the dump!!

Tuesday Sept 4th at 5pm, Parents for Life 2012 will be picketing around City Hall, in response to the recent School Board decision to send over 250 pre-k students into an old, unsafe, built on a dump, school that was shut down in 2006.

There is a School Board meeting at 7pm that we will be attending as well.

When: Tuesday, September 4th

Time: 5:00pm Picket

7:00pm School Board Meeting

Where: City Hall 9th St. Entrance

301 N. Ninth Street

Richmond, VA 23219

For More Information Contact: Art Burton (804) 467- 6408 or email burtonal@live.com

Parents For Life 2012!   parentsforlife.2012@gmail.com

Some recent articles on this issue:

Pre-School at the Dump

Decision to Re-Open School Sparks Protest Plans

Re-Opening of Norrell for Pre-k Generates Controversy

 

More info, and previous press release after the cut: (more…)

Recently there has been renewed hubbub around CAPS in Richmond again. CAPS, for those (lucky enough to be unfamiliar with it), stands for Community Assisted Public Safety. It is a joining of efforts of Police, Code Enforcement, and citizens. Lately they have been keeping residents of Richmond  safe by hunting down house shows and punk venues and shutting them down, charging the owners/leasees/proprietors with a variety of misdemeanors and other charges according to news reports.

CAPS, just like Cops, serve a very specific function in our city and society. We can not reform CAPS just as we can not reform Cops.  We might be able to push back in terms of unconstitutional aspects of the overall CAPS program, including dipshit City Councilman Charles Samuels’ noise ordinances, but CAPS is not an abnormality or mistake.

A well written article by Carl Athey in RVA magazine (http://rvamag.com/articles/full/12329/who-invited-these-guys) called out the apparent hypocrisy in the City of Richmond proudly lauding its arts and music scenes, with the new Arts District and the simultaneous increased policing and harassment of the arts and music scenes, everything from a high admissions tax to police oppression of First Fridays. What I think is important is to realize that the city and powers that be are in fact NOT being hypocritical.

They want arts and music scenes, just not ones that are oppositional to the status quo. In fact, it might be a bad assumption on the part of Athey and others (or maybe they’ve been intentionally tricked) to believe that they are included in the art and music culture that the City wants to build here. 

So to answer Carl’s query to see if  the city will back up their rebranding image by backing down on CAPS- we think not. CAPS and the City are rebranding themselves as Carl mentions- it is highly unlikely that they will want to include broke, dirty, drunk punk kids in that image.

CAPS functions very deliberately.

CAPS uses existing regulations, from building codes to business laws, in order to shut down cultural events that either are not to the taste of the rich people and politicians, or which they are not able to properly profit off of. (more…)

A reminder that although VCU has finally closed the parking lot on the Richmond African Burial Ground, 4 people still have court this Wednesday over their act of civil disobedience protesting the use of the Burial Ground as a parking lot.  Please come out this Wednesday to support them! Details below.

From the Richmond Defenders:

As the subject header suggests, the battle to reclaim the Richmond African Burial Ground is finally over!  You may recall at the last COC meeting, five individuals volunteered to become members of the Coordinating Committee (CC).  The CC members are:  Autumn Barrett, David Boothe, Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, and Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor.  The charge of the CC is to keep you informed and we will endeavor to do just that.

While we can relish this victory, we must still remain ever vigilant until this Sacred Ground is properly memorialized.  Below is the statement released by the Defenders on behalf of the COC, and important dates for you to remember.  We would also like to thank you, the community, for taking a stand and helping to bring this reclamation to fruition.

We look forward ever, backward NEVER!

Janet B. Taylor
Coordinating Committee
Celebrate the Reclamation of the Burial Ground/Support the Four Advocates
The VCU parking lot which for years desecrated the Richmond African Burial Ground was finally closed, Saturday, May 21 and is scheduled to be removed starting, Tuesday, May 24.  The African Burial Ground, formerly the Burial Ground for Negroes, is the city’s oldest known municipal cemetery for enslaved Africans and free people of African descent.

After years of community agitation, the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year passed a bill authorizing the transfer of the 3.4 acre site from VCU to the City of Richmond.  The City has placed a marker on the site explaining its historical and cultural significance as well as detailing Richmond’s leading role in the internal U.S. slave trade.

Part of the activism that eventually led to the closing of the parking lot occurred, Tuesday, April 12, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  Eight community activists were successful in closing down the parking lot for an hour and a half.  Four of the eight -Donnell Brantley, Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan, Autumn Barrett and Phil Wilayto – were subsequently arrested and charged with trespassing.  They are being represented pro bono by the law firm of Benjamin & DesPortes, a leading criminal defense firm.  As McMillan explained, “We decided to close the parking lot ourselves…We wanted the whole world to see that this state institution has no respect for the community that surrounds it.”

For more information, please contact Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, 804-347-3598 or OneRastaQueen@hotmail.com.

IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:

Monday, May 23, 6 pm
Public Hearing, Richmond City Council Chambers, 2nd floor/City Hall, 900 W. Broad St. The City will vote to accept the land transfer from VCU.

Tuesday, May 24, 10:30 am
Groundbreaking Ceremony, Richmond African Burial Ground, 15th & Broad streets.

Wednesday, May 25, 9 am
Support vigil outside the Manchester Courthouse, 920 Hull Street, followed by the 10 am trial of the four African Burial Ground advocates who shut down the VCU parking lot, April 12.  Please wear a white shirt or blouse as a show of solidarity.

Sunday, June 5, 4-6 pm
Community Organizing Committee meeting, location TBA. (Note:  Meetings are always the first Sunday of the month, 4-6pm; you will be notified of the location.)

——————————————- Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality A group of Richmond area residents working to improving the lives of people in our community. Phone & Fax 804.644.5834 . PO Box 23202, Richmond VA 23223 . DefendersFJE@hotmail.com

The Richmond Defenders for Freedom, Justice, and Equality just released an announcement that they are holding their own ceremony in regards to the new historical markers along the Richmond Walk of Enslaved Africans. The Mayor, Governor, and others decided to postpone the originally scheduled event this Sunday in order to attend a VCU basketball game. This scheduling change is extremely problematic, considering the fact that VCU continues to park cars on the African Burial Ground despite full knowledge of the many reasons for that to be disrespectful at best.

If you can, please attend the ceremony on Sunday in support of the Defenders and others organizing against racism in Richmond. The statement from the Defenders is below:

PO Box 23202, Richmond, VA 23223  Ph: 804.644.5834  Fax: 804.332.5225
E-mail: DefendersFJE@hotmail.com www.DefendersFJE.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 31, 2011
MEDIA CONTACTS: ANA EDWARDS or PHIL WILAYTO at (804) 644-5834 or DefendersFJE@hotmail.com

Defenders pull out of City’s Slave Trail Commission ceremony; call for independent event on April 3

In light of the City’s inexcusable postponement of Sunday’s ceremony honoring sites associated with Richmond’s dominant role in the U.S. slave trade, the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality have informed the city’s Slave Trail Commission that we will no longer be participating in this event. Instead, we are calling on the community to hold its own independent event on Sunday, at the time and place of the original program.

Originally scheduled for April 3 – Richmond’s Emancipation Day – the Slave Trail Commission’s ceremony was to celebrate the unveiling of 17 historical markers along Richmond’s Walk of Enslaved Africans. Ana Edwards, Chair of the Defenders’ Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project, had been invited by Commission Chair Delores McQuinn to unveil the marker at the African Burial Ground, at 15th and East Broad streets.

The Defenders had initially accepted the invitation because we thought it important to acknowledge the placement of these markers as a good step forward in making Richmond’s Black history visible, and to again demand the immediate closing of the Virginia Commonwealth University parking lot and removal of the asphalt that now covers this sacred site.

However, the Commission rescheduled the event for April 10 after Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones and Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell decided that, instead of honoring their commitment to speak at Sunday’s ceremony, they would instead travel to Houston, Texas, to watch the VCU Rams compete in the Final Four NCAA basketball game.

After nearly 10 years of struggle by the Defenders and many other community organizations and individuals, a bill introduced by Delegate McQuinn to authorize the transfer of the Burial Ground property to the City was unanimously adopted by this year’s General Assembly. Further, a budget amendment introduced by the governor authorizing $3.3.million to compensate VCU for the transfer also passed. And yet, the university – the area’s dominant economic and political powerhouse – continues to use the Burial Ground for a parking lot.

The VCU connection in the decision to postpone Sunday’s unveiling ceremony simply adds insult to this historical and cultural injury, said Edwards. (more…)