Posts Tagged ‘Kenneth Yates’

A C L U O F V I R G I N I A

M E D I A R E L E A S E

April 20, 2011

ACLU Sues Richmond Police Over

Onerous Costs on Parade Organizers

Richmond, VA – The ACLU of Virginia today filed a request in federal court on behalf of activists in Richmond for an injunction ordering the Richmond Police to allow them to hold a May Day parade without having to pay for off-duty police officers.

“Nowhere in the city code does it say that Richmond police have the authority to assess fees on parade organizers,” said ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg. “The police cannot arbitrarily impose costs on individuals exercising their First Amendment rights.”

Kenneth Yates and other organizers are planning a May Day march through Richmond city streets and submitted a parade permit application on March 21. Although city code requires police to issue or deny the permit within five days, Yates did not receive a response until April 11. At that time, he was told that in order to march, his group would have to pay $296 for two off-duty police officers and two police cars. The group does not have the funds to pay for the officers.

The ACLU sent a letter to the Richmond Police Department on behalf of the group informing them that the Richmond parade ordinance does not authorize them to require a person to pay for off-duty police in order to march. Additionally, the ACLU said that applying such a requirement without specific guidelines is unconstitutional. The police did not respond to the ACLU’s letter.

“Without clear guidelines, police may be imposing fees on some groups and not on others,” said Glenberg. “We are concerned that police may be chilling free speech in Richmond.”

This issue is not a new one. Last year, May Day parade organizers were told they would have to pay for off-duty officers in order to march. Ultimately though, the police relented and granted organizers a permit to parade in the street without having to pay for off-duty officers.

“Organizers followed the rules and applied for their parade permit just like everyone else,” added Glenberg. “Richmond police cannot just move the goal posts and add another obstacle that is not authorized by law.”

Yates is represented by Glenberg and ACLU of Virginia Dunn Fellow Thomas Fitzpatrick.

A copy of the ACLU’s complaint can be found online at: http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/YatesvNorwoodcomplaint.pdf. A copy of the preliminary injunction memo can be found online at: http://acluva.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/YatesvNorwoodPImemo.pdf.

Contacts:

ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg, (804) 644-8080

Demand Dignity & Respect!

Demand A Competitive Living Wage and Substantial & Consistent Pay Raises For Workers at Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market!

One of our fellow worker’s, Kenneth Yates was wrongfully terminated from Richmond, Virginia’s Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market after 5 ½ years of committed service on Tuesday February 15th.

“When you go to work you ordinarily leave your constitutional rights as a citizen in the glove compartment of your car…” -Staughton Lynd & Daniel Gross

Kenneth was well aware of this and as a committed member of the community in which he lives and works, did not allow that to come between him and the injustices he found in the workplace. In December, after being courted by management to become a part of their team, then respectfully refusing the offer, he was threatened with a statement that he should reconsider and either “move up, or move out”.

Fast-forward to January 30th & 31st, 2011. Kenneth, in a concerted effort with his fellow workers, challenged a new and unwarranted decision by management to force workers in their department who regularly work early morning shifts to close one shift a week and take a mandatory following day off, and for those who close to do the same. The schedules were not changed. However, we feel that after refusing to submit to the schedule changes that would bring undue stress on our minds and bodies, Kenneth was singled out as a problem, a wrench in the machine, the organizer. (more…)

Please read this article and sign the petition about the parking of cars on Richmond’s African Burial Ground by VCU. This is a dramatic example of institutionalized white privilege and racism. Imagine the public outcry if VCU built a parking lot on Hollywood Cemetery. Parking on sacred ground is not acceptable, and it has only gone on for so long due to historical and current white supremacy and racism which infect most institutions and capitalist ventures. The Wingnut Anarchist Collective stands in solidarity with everyone fighting to end this disrespectful and oppressive treatment of a historical and spiritual site.

End VCU/MCV Parking on Richmond’s African Burial Ground

by: Kenneth Yates x370724

A place called Shockoe Bottom in Richmond, Virginia was once the center of the African slave trade in North America. However if you were to visit this area you would never know it. Beneath the night clubs, condominiums, office buildings, and streets lies a history grossly repressed by capitalist appetites for commercial development.

One hidden piece of history in particular lies beneath a parking lot publicly owned and utilized by the Virginia Commonwealth University & Medical College of Virginia staff and students.



Photo by: Kenneth Yates

 In 1992 local historian and author Elizabeth Cann Kambourian, while researching for a book about a local slave rebellion leader named Gabriel, discovered something. Around 1800, inspired by the Haitian Revolution which was in full swing at the time, Gabriel plotted one of the most organized slave revolts in United States history. The plan was for hundreds of enslaved Africans, free Blacks and a few whites to to enter the city of Richmond, take the governor hostage and demand the abolition of slavery in Virginia. The revolt, however, was crushed after an intense 100 year storm flooded the area, making it impossible for Gabriel and his army to enter the city.

With information given by one of Gabriel’s collaborators, the then Richmond Governor James Monroe formed a militia to hunt down Gabriel and his co-conspirators. Gabriel was eventually captured, tried and, on Oct. 10, 1800, executed at the town gallows, located in what was then called the Burial Ground for Negroes. At least 25 of his comrades met the same fate, either at the same site or in surrounding areas.

The burial ground was retired sometime around 1810, after hundreds, perhaps thousands of enslaved Africans had been buried there. The exact number is unknown. Before long the burial ground itself fell into obscurity, eventually buried beneath 10-20 feet of filler as the land took on many other uses over the years.

Kambourian discovered an old Richmond City map placing the African Burial Ground just north of 15th & Broad Street. That area is now partially covered by Interstate 95, with the remaining portion of the Burial Ground buried beneath a parking lot utilized by both VCU & MCV staff and students. The exact boundaries are yet to be determined.

The Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality have been fighting to reclaim this sacred ground from its present desecration. (more…)

Richmond’s Transit Rider’s Union (RTRU) is up and running, and has the potential to really have a positive impact for many lower and working class people in Richmond. Public transportation is something that many people rely on to get the their jobs, to the grocery store, to school, etc. Neighborhoods like Southern Barton Heights, Highland Park, Battery Park, Brookland Park etc. rely on dependable, useful, and affordable public transportation. The proposed increase in bus fair as well as the reduction of routes amounts to nothing more than classism at best, class war at worst.

Making public transportation less accessible is a direct attack on the working and lower class. It is classist and racist and ableist. RTRU is having a public meeting on June 14th from 7-9pm at 7th at Broad at the University of Richmond downtown space. Richmond Food Not Bombs will be serving light refreshments at the meeting in solidarity. RTRU is partners with Richmond IWW.

For more information you can email richmondtru@gmail.com and go to http://www.richmondtru.org

If anyone wants to become involved in canvassing bus stops in the Southern Barton Heights neighborhood please come by the Wingnut to pick up some fliers.

Here is an article about RTRU:

http://rvanews.com/news/public-bus-users-fight-increasing-fares-route-cuts/28781