This story was published between issues of the newspaper. Reproduced here for accessibility and archival purposes.
Originally published May 31, 2020 on the Virginia Defender Facebook page.
By Phil Wilayto
RICHMOND, VA, May 31 — For the second night in a row, Virginia’s capital city has experienced an unprecedented rebellion against racism.
The catalyst was the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, but, as in cities across the country, that atrocity has been the tipping point for a deep anger over ongoing local issues.
There are those here who, while portraying themselves as progressives, are lining up to condemn the property damage that has been a defining part of these rebellions. While every uprising has its negative aspects, the essence of these rebellions has been a genuine grassroots explosion against racist oppression.
Here in Richmond, there are those who are trying to define the protests as being mainly young whites who are insensitive to the effects of their actions on the Black community. This false narrative is setting the stage for the repression that surely is coming. So far, the Richmond police have been relatively restrained, generally ceding the streets to the protesters. But at the same time, they are asking the public to give them information about who has been setting the fires and breaking the windows.
The Defenders are proud to have been in the streets with the protesters. We’ve been very impressed with the thoroughly multiracial character of the demonstrators, although we have noted that the later the protests go on each night, the more they seem to be predominately made up of Black youth.
We will have much more to say about this incredible new development, but for right now here are some of the photos we took on Saturday night, May 30, and early Sunday morning, May 31.
As an organization that since 2003 has been calling for the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue to come down, we couldn’t be happier to see these symbols of white supremacy thoroughly trashed in acts of civil disobedience largely led by Balck youth.