Ten AM on a Monday morning is a hard sell to get people to come out for a City announcement. Despite the fact that growing numbers of people find themselves working service jobs with irregular hours, apathy with political engagement and night shift sleeping schedules are large hurdles to anyone trying to show opposition during City government events. For the City of Richmond, this seems to be something they increasingly count on, as a way to appear “engaged with the community” and never have to face organized resistance to whatever half-assed attempt at “revitalization” they scheme up. So when 80 to 100 people turn out on a chilly November morning to oppose the proposal to put a baseball stadium in historic Shockoe Bottom, its easy to see that the City is striking a chord with the larger community, and it isn’t a good one. Add to that the broad spectrum of participants; young and old, students and families, white, black, and brown, then its easy to see that in the Capitol of the Confederacy, people are really fed up with the City government and the small group of developers who call the shots in this City. Once the site of the largest slave-trading district north of New Orleans, Shockoe Bottom has been a contested area for decades now, with its close proximity to downtown, historic buildings and iconic architecture. It sits at the juncture of diverse and sometimes antagonistic communities and commercial districts. In addition to the slave trade (and its subsequent resistance), Shockoe boasts histories like that of The Bread Riots, when mostly working class Southern women took their share of food and clothing during the Civil War, nearly storming the Confederate White House. More modern times have witnessed all sorts of displacement and police violence, all aiming to make the area more “comfortable” for newer, wealthier, business interests trying to set up shop close to downtown. A new stadium has shown to be opposed by more than just residents of Richmond, but the sports fans from surrounding areas whom the Mayor claims to want to bring into the center of the city. Fans from outside Richmond prefer the location of the current stadium because of its close and easy access to interstate 95, and its relative low traffic congestion, even during rush hour. This has been shown time and time again to be an all around bad idea for the communities that call Richmond home.
Please keep checking these sites for updates on the struggle. There is a vote planned at the City Council meeting on November 25th at 6pm. ITS VITAL THAT AS MANY PEOPLE WHO CAN COME ARE THERE. Please help spread the word!
NO STADIUM ON SACRED GROUND!
For more information:
If you are a Richmond resident, please call City Hall, letting them know where you stand:
We here at the Flying Brick Library are excited to be co-hosting this event with the William Byrd Community House!
When: November 17th, 7pm
The June 2013 Uprisings in Brazil
A presentation by participants
Last summer, Brazil exploded in protests unlike anything in living memory. At the peak, a hundred cities participated in fierce clashes with the authorities; a movement that began with demonstrations against public transit fare increases and became a veritable popular uprising. Yet as the middle class joined in, nationalist
and reactionary narratives muddied the message.
Despite this, the movement succeeded in blocking the fare increases in many cities, demonstrating the effectiveness of new forms of struggle without parties or unions. Autonomous and horizontal groups forced other issues to the surface, including the consequences of the upcoming World Cup and Olympic games in Brazil.
In this presentation, Brazilian anarchists will describe the context from which the events of 2013 emerged, and explain their impact on other ongoing struggles. What conclusions are Brazilians drawing from their experiences, and what can North Americans learn from them?
Hello! Not many updates for a while, we know. We’ve been trying to take the summer slow here at your friendly neighborhood radical library.
Fall is in full swing here now! And that means we need more volunteers! So please! Stop by! Email us! Hit us up on Facebook! We want to meet you, chat about books and the state of radical politics in Richmond! And definitely drink lots of coffee and hot chocolate!
And don’t forget to come by for prisoner letter writing night, the 3rd Thursday of every month, 7pm. Supplies and snacks provided. This is a great chance to find out about political prisoners in the US, and remind our comrades that while they may be behind bars, they are not forgotten. We know their struggle continues, and so does ours!
Address: The Flying Brick Library, 506 S Pine St. Richmond, Va. 23220
Open Hours: Mondays – 9am to 4pm, Thursdays – 4pm to 9pm
Find us on Facebook too!
The flying brick is pleased to announce it’s most recent acquisition. Our good friend & ally Tim Barry has donated twenty years worth of books, VHS, & zines relating to freight train & hobo culture. Due to the size of the collection, we have decided to expand our reference section to include these books, movies, & zines. Additionally, members have decided to include their personal collections of books on street art, graffiti & herbalism. Please stop by & check out our new, rare gems!
Tell Richmond City Council:
To all those opposed to putting a baseball stadium in historic Shockoe Bottom:We need you to come to Monday’s Richmond City Council meeting, where Council President Charles Samuels will be introducing two ordinances dealing with the stadium issue.Samuels wants to put the issue of the stadium to a vote in the Nov. 5 election. He is proposing a very narrow referendum question: Whether the City should sell any land it owns outside the Diamond area for building a new baseball stadium. He defines this area as I-95/64 to the north, Leigh Street to the south, the Boulevard to the west and Hermitage Road to the east. So this would exclude Shockoe Bottom, which is good.
What is not so good is that the question doesn’t say the City can’t sell land to a developer who could then decide to use it for a stadium. And it doesn’t say the City can’t use tax money to support the building of a stadium in the Bottom. But, conveniently, it does mean that all nine Council members will have an excuse for not answering questions about the stadium until after Nov. 5.
Also, other City Council members could push for a change in the wording of the referendum question to ask if Richmond voters want baseball to stay on the Boulevard or move to Shockoe Bottom. An editorial in the June 20 Richmond Times-Distort incorrectly stated that “A November referendum would ask Richmonders whether they wanted a stadium on Boulevard or in the Bottom.” That’s NOT what Samuel’s proposal says. But the pro-business RTD is signaling Council members how they should change the referendum question.
The problem with the RTD wording is that it’s asking Richmond voters – most of whom are not Black – to decide whether Shockoe Bottom is worth preserving. This was once the site of the second-largest slave-trading district in all of North America. Tremendous suffering took place here, and millions of African-Americans could trace their history to this small piece of land. So it’s an issue that deals with the right of the Black community to define its own history and protect its own historical sites. In other words, self-determination. It’s wrong to put that to a general vote.
We need to be at City Council Monday night to ask Councilman Samuels to change the wording of the referendum question to exclude the use of any city property or funds for a stadium outside the present area of the Diamond. And we need to make sure Council doesn’t change the question into a vote on the future of Shockoe Bottom.
Important: To make the electoral deadline for getting his referendum question on the Nov. 5 ballot, Samuels has to get Council to agree to it Monday night. And any change to the wording of his question has to be voted on Monday. So this Council meeting will be a watershed moment in the struggle to reclaim and properly memorialize this sacred ground.
Please share this message with all your friends, neighbors, co-workers and sister/fellow activists. Raise it with your religious congregations this Friday and Sunday. Offer to give people rides to the meeting.
Also, Samuels is asking people to let him know now, before Monday’s meeting, how they feel about his referendum proposal. So let’s tell him: “No City land or money for a Shockoe Bottom stadium!” You can contact him at:Councilman Charles R. SamuelsOffice Phone: (804) 646-6532; Fax: (804)646-5468Email: Charles.Samuels@Richmondgov.com
Protests, petitions, community meetings, City Council – yes, it’s a lot to ask people to do. But we can rest later. We can’t let Shockoe Bottom be lost on our watch.
“Keep Baseball on the Boulevard! Defend Shockoe Bottom’s Black History!”
Ana Edwards – Chair, Defenders’ Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
Phil Wilayto – Editor, The Virginia Defender
AGAIN? YES, AGAIN!
A little late to the party, but I suppose we’re fashionably late? Anyway, here it is:
May 8th, 2013
TO THE SITTING MEMBERS OF RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL AND MAYOR’S OFFICE
We have watched with displeasure the most recent crimes of the Richmond City administration and its petty ambitions; it sells its soul to the rapacious FIRE sector and throws its citizens to the wolves to appease the never-ending greed of its shadowy elite. There is no change in Richmond, only the quiet hum of the Jones Machine and the avaricious stare of the sitting mayor, dancing obediently on the strings of privileged and secret interests. There is no hope in Richmond, only despair for those who remember the lessons of the past. There is no voice in Richmond, only a pathetic handful of ‘local’ media sources who are content to take their pittances from corporate masters while their city rots around them. The corruption leaking from every pore of the city is indicative of its inability to understand or accept its own past.
In this city once flourished the most oppressive and disgusting form of business ever created by mankind: the slave trade. Human beings were bought and sold like chattel by the hundreds of thousands based solely on the color of their skin. From Richmond, blacks were shipped all over the country to sweat, bleed, and die at the pleasure of white slave-owners. The scars of this atrocity still bleed and fester in the forms of institutionalized racism and economic apartheid against people of color.
For too long Richmond’s elites have systematically manipulated and disenfranchised its black majority through regressive economic policy, criminally negligent spending priorities, mock elections, and shadowy real estate deals. Jackson Ward was obliterated by white elites to make room for an interstate highway. Navy Hill’s earthly remains consist of a marker found in a parking garage by a local professor. The black children of Richmond’s school system suffer from a 75% poverty rate. Black preschoolers attend a program for disadvantaged youth on top of an unlined dump in a school that was built during the era of Jim Crow. Huge swathes of East Broad Street were gentrified to make way for the Richmond Convention Center and CenterStage Theater, a coup for the conspicuous consumers that make up Richmond’s elite patrons and coordinated by Bob Mooney, former chief financier of Richmond-based Ethyl Corp. Monument Avenue’s statuary stands as false exoneration of the ‘heroes’ of the Civil War; ‘heroes’ whose greatest achievement will forever be marked as failing to win the war they fought so desperately to win.
Decades ago, the discovery of the Burial Ground for Negroes (now Richmond’s African Burial Ground) by Elizabeth Cann Kambourian under a parking lot in Shockoe Bottom began the decades-long struggle towards the reclamation of the nation’s second-most-successful slave market by the inheritors of its legacy of cruelty and hate.
Now, as Richmond’s black residents continue to make progress to regain their past and right the great injustice that white supremacist power has laid upon them, the white land barons have again mobilized to murder the threat of black power in its crib. The specter of the Shockoe Ballpark has been resurrected by Richmond’s criminal capitalist class under the guise of ‘growth’ and ‘wealth.’ The charge is in part led by one H. Louis Salomonsky, an unrepentant capitalist sent to prison several years ago for bribing a public official in a failed bid to swing a mayoral election; his cries of “community!” serve merely to increase the value of his many real estate holdings through wasteful public expenditure projects. His tendrils, and those of others like him, extend far into local politics; the real estate sector outspends the next highest industry in Richmond political campaigns by two to one.
We call you out, Dwight Jones. Your 2012 unopposed mayoral election garnered you $314,499 in funds; $43,350 came from the land barons and their interests, with $2,500 alone from Salomonsky and his subsidiaries. Over the course of your sixteen-year political career, the landlords have bribed you for $135,917.
We call you out, Charles Samuels. Your 2012 election garnered you $63,225 in funds; $10,850 came from the land barons and their interests. Over the course of your four-year political career, the landlords have bribe you for $24,250.
We call you out, Chris Hilbert. Your 2012 election against a neophyte social worker garnered you $41,702 in funds; $5,155 came from the land barons and their interests. Over the course of your eight-year political career, the landlords have bribed you for $43,472.
We call you out, Kathy Graziano. Your 2012 election garnered you $96,838 in funds; $12,450 came from the land barons and their interests. Over the course of your eight-year political career, the landlords have bribed you for $71,706.
We call you out, Ellen Robertson. Your 2012 unopposed election garnered you $12,110 in funds; $1,000 came from the land barons and their interests. Over the course of your nine-year political career, the landlords have bribed you for $29,525.
We call you out, Cynthia Newbille. Your 2012 unopposed election garnered you $17,166 in funds; $1,300 came from the land barons and their interests. Over the course of your three-year political career, the landlords have bribed you for $4,100.
We call you out, Reva Trammell. Your 2012 election garnered you $65,141 in funds; $6,645 came from the land barons and their interests. Over the course of your political career, the landlords have bribed you for more than $20,095.
We are watching you, Jon Baliles. Bruce Tyler was sold to the landlords for only $82,307.
We are watching you, Parker Agelasto. Martin Jewell was sold to the landlords for only $20,600.
We are watching you, Michelle Mosby. Douglas Conner was sold to the landlords for only $29,400.
We demand that the city permanently halt attempts by its white landowners to build a ballpark in this critically important district and commit fully and transparently to enacting recommendations by the Richmond Trail of Enslaved Africans Commission for a heritage site in Shockoe Bottom.
We will be watching.
WE ARE ANONYMOUS.
WE ARE LEGION.
WE DO NOT FORGIVE.
WE DO NOT FORGET.