No Stadium in Shockoe! Solidarity Needed at Monday’s City Council Meeting!

From No Stadium in Shockoe Bottom!:


Tell Richmond City Council:

Monday, June 24 – 6-8:30 pm
Richmond City Hall Council Chambers, 2nd floor
900 E. Broad St., downtown Richmond, Va.
  • 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. Samuels
    Office Phone: (804) 646-6532; Fax: (804)646-5468

    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!”

    In solidarity,

    Ana Edwards – Chair, Defenders’ Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
    Phil Wilayto – Editor, The Virginia Defender




For the third time, Richmond’s business and political elite are calling for a commercial baseball stadium to be built in Shockoe Bottom, once the site of the second-largest market for enslaved Africans in all of North America. Only a few wealthy developers would benefit from this project, but they might well succeed if the City government doesn’t see a strong opposition. Here’s how you can help stop the desecration of this Sacred Ground:


EDUCATE yourself, your friends, neighbors and co-workers about this important issue, by reading the material posted on this website and in the Spring 2013 edition of The Virginia Defender newspaper, posted online at:



COMMUNICATE with Richmond’s elected officials, by sending an email to Mayor Dwight C. Jones and members of the Richmond City Council. Send an original email or use the sample posted below. (Email addresses are provided.)
SIGN THE PETITION opposing a Shockoe Bottom stadium. Every time someone signs, a notice is sent to Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and the nine members of Richmond City Council. When we reach 1,000 signatures we’ll hold a press conference. As of June 16 we were up to 260 names. ADD YOURS NOW!


Click here to sign:


VOLUNTEER to help in this campaign, by sending an email to:
COME TO THE JUNE 19 VIGIL TO SAY ‘NO TO A BASEBALL STADIUM IN SHOCKOE BOTTOM!’ (See the notice at the top of this page. More actions to be announced.)


We are expecting any day now that Mayor Jones
will announce a decision on where to build a new stadium.
We must raise our voices NOW!
Please send these elected officials an email today.
Compose your own, or use this sample:
“I am writing to express my strong opposition to building a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom, the site of Richmond’s former slave-trading district.” 
And please “cc” or “bcc” the Defenders at
so we know how many emails are being sent.
“Mayor Dwight C. Jones” <>
1st District – “Jonathan Balilies” <>
2nd District – “Charles Samuels” <>
3rd District – “Chris Hilbert” <>
4th District – <>
5th District – “Parker Agelasto” <>
6th District – “Ellen Robertson” <>
7th District – “Cynthia Newbille” <>
8th District – “Reva Trammell” <>
9th District – “Michelle Mosby” <>
LINKED EMAIL ADDRESSES – Just cut and paste this entire list into the “To” box in your email program:
“Mayor Dwight C. Jones” <>, “Jonathan Balilies” <>, “Charles Samuels” <>, “Chris Hilbert” <>, <>, “Parker Agelasto” <>, “Ellen Robertson” <>, “Cynthia Newbille” <>, “Reva Trammell” <>, “Michelle Mosby” <>

~ by flyingbrickrva on June 22, 2013.

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