On the one hand, we have RVA: young, hip, vibrant, artsy and doing pretty well for itself. On the other, we have Richmond, where one out of every five people is poor, where misery swirls around people’s ankles like a flooded campground and which, for the most part, is invisible.
The Virginia Defender
Established in 2005 as The Richmond Defender, The Virginia Defender is a free community newspaper, published quarterly for the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality. Print distribution is 16,000 and statewide. The online publication launched in Summer 2020.
The Feb. 3 edition of The New Yorker (circulation 1.3 million) carried a major article titled “The Fight to Preserve African-American History” that includes the long struggle to reclaim Shockoe Bottom.
More than 175 people rally Jan. 8 on the steps of the State Capitol to support legislation that would allow local governments to take down “war memorials,” including those honoring slavery-defending Confederate figures. The rally was sponsored by Monumental Justice Virginia, a statewide coalition that includes the Defenders.
A few days after the massive Jan. 20 gun rights rally at Capitol Square, I heard there had been some vandalism around the Reconciliation Statue, the anti-slavery memorial at the northwest corner of 15th and East Main streets in downtown Richmond.
A study of the economic ramifications of the community-generated proposal for a nine-acre Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park addresses some fundamental questions about the project: How much would it cost, and how would it benefit the city, especially its Black community?
In the largest event ever held about Shockoe Bottom, and one of the last events in Virginia to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of captive Africans, more than 250 people attended an all-day symposium Dec. 7 at the Library of Virginia that examined the history of Black people in the state.
Regular readers of the Defender should be familiar with the case of Jermaine Doss of Norfolk, who was sent to prison in 2000 in connection with the shooting death of Norfolk businessman James Webb.