Updates & Announcements


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OCTOBER 29, 2021

This date in 1929 saw the collapse of the U.S. stock market, the start of the Great Depression and the beginning of the Great Fightback of the 1930s.

The Autumn 2021 edition of THE VIRGINIA DEFENDER is out, on the streets and online at: virginiadefender.org

In this issue:
  • The housing crisis & Richmond’s declining Black population
  • The significance of Princess Blanding’s run for governor: A Defender analysis
  • COVID-19 shots: Why you need them, where to get them
  • La Milpa: More than a restaurant, more than a market
  • Bakery workers win strike vs. giant snack company
  • Fort Lee, Pickett barbers strike, say NO to pay cuts
  • Jermaine Doss gets 2nd annual parole hearing
  • Will the Black community benefit from the memorialization of Shockoe Bottom?
  • 19th annual Gabriel Gathering: Reclaiming Sacred Spaces
  • Whatever happened to the ‘Slave Trail’ Commission?
  • Tensions grow in Lebanon after attack on Hezbollah supporters
  • Why are they telling us to be afraid of China?
  • & much more!

Now in its 17th year, the Defender is Virginia’s only statewide, all-volunteer, progressive newspaper. We’re always looking for more people: writers, photographers, distributors, advertising salespeople and more. If you’d like to pitch in and help, please email us at DefendersFJE@hotmail.com or call or text 804-644-5834.

Vote YES for Princess Blanding!

The Virginia Defender wholeheartedly endorses Liberation Party candidate Princess Blanding for governor. And here’s why: Princess Blanding’s third-party run for Virginia governor: A Defender Analysis

Vote NO to the casino!

The Virginia Defender strongly condemns the proposal to put a casino anywhere in Richmond. And we are deeply, deeply disappointed at those who are trying to portray any opposition as racist. Shame on you.

Casinos are by their very nature exploitative. They are extractive Industries. They produce nothing. They only take money out. ​​And they take out so much money that they are able to give generous contributions to public officials and others who then promote the casinos.

They are able to promise millions of dollars in tax revenue to the host cities. And they can do all this because of the enormous profits they expect to make.

But where do those profits come from? The real money comes from the minority of players who are hopelessly addicted to gambling. The casinos know this and they design their “games,” especially the slots, to exploit the vulnerable.

We urge our readers to check out the moving, well-researched story “How casinos enable gambling addicts” in the December 2016 edition of The Atlantic magazine.

Richmond Crusade for Voters declares support for Goldman redistricting lawsuit

Read the press release on the Crusade’s support HERE.

Sat., Oct. 30: Sankofa Community Orchard Open House & Black Ribbon Cutting

… was rescheduled from last week to Saturday, Oct. 30, at 309 Covington Road in South Side, Richmond.

Oct. 30 & Nov. 1: Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

La Milpa is hosting the traditional Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) event Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 outside its restaurant and market at 6925 Hull Street Road, North Chesterfield.

And be sure to see the interview with La Milpa’s founder and co-owner, Martin Gonzales, in the Autumn edition of The Virginia Defender.

Sat., Nov. 13 in Norfolk: 2nd Quarterly Palitunes event

More information on Facebook at the Palitunes event page HERE.

Palitunes Open Mic and Culture: Join us for a cultural experience you'll never forget! In dedication to the Palestinian cause, we are proud to present the second quarterly Palitunes: Open Mic and Culture event! Performances may include poetry, speeches, stories, and music. The Theme is not just limited to Palestine but may also discuss other issues so long as the topic surrounds ethnic discrimination, ethnic identity, racism, genocide, apartheid, and the like. For any questions or concerns, you may reach out to our social media pages or text/call 757-809-6024. Time: Saturday, November 13, 1-4pm. Place: Shelter #2 at Lafayette Park in Norfolk, VA. For updates on all local pro-Palestine events, follow us on social media! Instagram @palitunes, Facebook @palitunesopenmic

Thurs., Nov. 4: There All Along

“A conversation about how we can deepen our understanding of the Civil War through the lens of African American experiences in the past and present.”

An artistic photograph depicting a Black face in profile on a backdrop of black crepe, with the background partially superimposed overtop.

Thursday, Nov. 4, 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar 480 Tredegar St., Richmond.

The panel will include:

  • Elvatrice Belsches – Public historian, archival researcher and author
  • Ana Edwards – Public historian; chair of the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality; supervisor of visitor engagement and interpretation at the American Civil War Museum
  • Mary Lauderdale – Operations and visitor services manager of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia
  • Lois Leveen – Author and a Virginia Humanities Fellow at the Library of Virginia

This in an in-person event. Masks required.

Admission is $5; free for members of the two sponsoring museums, the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia and the American Civil War Museum. For tickets and details for There All Along, see this link.


Six people, three Black and three white, posing behind five bags of trash.

Since April, Defenders and friends have been out every month to clean up the Devil’s Half-Acre (site of Lumpkin’s jail) and the Shockoe Bottom African Burial Ground. We also use the time to catch up on the Memorial Park struggle. So, if this is your first time, you can learn about the site and help out at the same time! We would love to share this remarkable history with you!

More volunteers are always welcome at the monthly clean-ups. The next one will take place Saturday, Nov. 6. We meet at 11 am at the site of Lumpkin’s jail, the fenced-in, grassy area just south of East Broad Street between I-95 and the CSX railroad tracks. You can get there by going south on 17th Street from East Broad, then right on Grace, then under the railroad tracks. The site will be straight ahead and just to your right. Park anywhere in the parking lot. If you get there late, just look for us around the jail site or at the burial ground, which you can reach through the tunnel under Broad. The clean-up/meet-up takes about an hour and a half.


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