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

•June 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From No Stadium in Shockoe Bottom!:

UPDATE:

Tell Richmond City Council:

‘NO STADIUM IN SHOCKOE BOTTOM!’
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
    Email: 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!”

    In solidarity,

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

 

————————————————————————-

AGAIN? YES, AGAIN!

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: DefendersFJE@hotmail.com
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.)

 

 
  SEND AN EMAIL TODAY TO MAYOR JONES  
  & MEMBERS OF RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL  
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 DefendersFJE@hotmail.com
so we know how many emails are being sent.
INDIVIDUAL EMAIL ADDRESSES:
“Mayor Dwight C. Jones” <askthemayor@richmondgov.com>
1st District – “Jonathan Balilies” <jonathan.baliles@richmondgov.com>
2nd District – “Charles Samuels” <Charles.Samuels@Richmondgov.com>
3rd District – “Chris Hilbert” <Chris.Hilbert@Richmondgov.com>
4th District – <Kathy.Graziano@RichmondGov.com>
5th District – “Parker Agelasto” <parker.agelasto@richmondgov.com>
6th District – “Ellen Robertson” <Ellen.Robertson@Richmondgov.com>
7th District – “Cynthia Newbille” <Cynthia.Newbille@Richmondgov.com>
8th District – “Reva Trammell” <Reva.Trammell@Richmondgov.com>
9th District – “Michelle Mosby” <michelle.mosby@richmondgov.com>
LINKED EMAIL ADDRESSES – Just cut and paste this entire list into the “To” box in your email program:
“Mayor Dwight C. Jones” <askthemayor@richmondgov.com>, “Jonathan Balilies” <jonathan.baliles@richmondgov.com>, “Charles Samuels” <Charles.Samuels@Richmondgov.com>, “Chris Hilbert” <Chris.Hilbert@Richmondgov.com>, <Kathy.Graziano@RichmondGov.com>, “Parker Agelasto” <parker.agelasto@richmondgov.com>, “Ellen Robertson” <Ellen.Robertson@Richmondgov.com>, “Cynthia Newbille” <Cynthia.Newbille@Richmondgov.com>, “Reva Trammell” <Reva.Trammell@Richmondgov.com>, “Michelle Mosby” <michelle.mosby@richmondgov.com>

ANONYMOUS issues communique to Richmond City Council. No Stadium in Shockoe Bottom!

•May 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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.
EXPECT US.

http://www.defendersfje.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/shockoeb…

http://www.us.iofc.org/unpacking-iofc-census

http://saverichmond.com/?p=173

http://www.change.org/petitions/richmond-school-board-do-norrell-element…

http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/reconnecting-dotts/Content?oid=13608…

http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/free-and-clear/Content?oid=1887302

http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/10145?start_year=2012&end_year=…

http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/128997?start_year=2012&end_year…

http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/133714?cmte_type_1=local_cands&…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/1614?start_yea…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/16049?start_ye…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/152342?start_y…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/70346?start_ye…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/9426?start_yea…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/76455?start_ye…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/106406?start_y…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/15206?start_ye…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/16049?start_ye…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/38785?start_ye…

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_industry1/28787?start_ye…

An Open Letter From Assata Shakur

•May 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle:

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

‘The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life.

The U.S. Senate’s 1976 Church Commission report on intelligence operations inside the USA, revealed that “The FBI has attempted covertly to influence the public’s perception of persons and organizations by disseminating derogatory information to the press, either anonymously or through “friendly” news contacts.” This same policy is evidently still very much in effect today.

On December 24, 1997, The New Jersey State called a press conference to announce that New Jersey State Police had written a letter to Pope John Paul II asking him to intervene on their behalf and to aid in having me extradited back to New Jersey prisons. The New Jersey State Police refused to make their letter public. Knowing that they had probably totally distort the facts, and attempted to get the Pope to do the devils work in the name of religion, I decided to write the Pope to inform him about the reality of’ “justice” for black people in the State of New Jersey and in the United States. (See attached Letter to the Pope).

In January of 1998, during the pope’s visit to Cuba, I agreed to do an interview with NBC journalist Ralph Penza around my letter to the Pope, about my experiences in New Jersey court system, and about the changes I saw in the United States and it’s treatment of Black people in the last 25 years. I agreed to do this interview because I saw this secret letter to the Pope as a vicious, vulgar, publicity maneuver on the part of the New Jersey State Police, and as a cynical attempt to manipulate Pope John Paul II. I have lived in Cuba for many years, and was completely out of touch with the sensationalist, dishonest, nature of the establishment media today. It is worse today than it was 30 years ago. After years of being victimized by the “establishment” media it was naive of me to hope that I might finally get the opportunity to tell “my side of the story.” Instead of an interview with me, what took place was a “staged media event” in three parts, full of distortions, inaccuracies and outright lies. NBC purposely misrepresented the facts. Not only did NBC spend thousands of dollars promoting this “exclusive interview series” on NBC, they also spent a great deal of money advertising this “exclusive interview” on black radio stations and also placed notices in local newspapers.

. . .

Like most poor and oppressed people in the United States, I do not have a voice. Black people, poor people in the U.S. have no real freedom of speech, no real freedom of expression and very little freedom of the press. The black press and the progressive media has historically played an essential role in the struggle for social justice. We need to continue and to expand that tradition. We need to create media outlets that help to educate our people and our children, and not annihilate their minds. I am only one woman. I own no TV stations, or Radio Stations or Newspapers. But I feel that people need to be educated as to what is going on, and to understand the connection between the news media and the instruments of repression in Amerika. All I have is my voice, my spirit and the will to tell the truth. But I sincerely ask, those of you in the Black media, those of you in the progressive media, those of you who believe in truth freedom, To publish this statement and to let people know what is happening. We have no voice, so you must be the voice of the voiceless.

Free all Political Prisoners, I send you Love and Revolutionary Greetings From Cuba, One of the Largest, Most Resistant and Most Courageous Palenques (Maroon Camps) That has ever existed on the Face of this Planet.

Assata Shakur Havana, Cuba

Below is a clip of Assata Sakur’s Documentary “Eyes of the Rainbow: Assata Shakur Documentary”

 

“I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved, i have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered … rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.” — Assata Shakur

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

Volunteer Meeting April 10 8PM

•April 4, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Volunteer Meeting April 10 8PM

Hosting a volunteer meeting this Wednesday. If you’re interested in learning about becoming a volunteer come get information about becoming a librarian! If you’re an experienced volunteer let’s talk about new books, organization, etc.

SSA and the Flying Brick Library Present: Scott Crow; “Black Flags & Windmills”

•April 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Join the Flying Brick Library and Students for Social Action for a presentation by Scott Crow! Co-founder of Common Ground Collective in New Orleans!

black+flags+and+windmills

There will be two presentations! One Monday, April 15th at The Flying Brick at 7pm and the second Tuesday, April 16th at Richmond Salon III in the VCU Student Commons at 7pm.

The presentation based on crow’s book Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy and the Common Ground Collective (PM Press) is used as a foundation for a visual, fast moving and engaging presentation of stories to show what ordinary people can do to change their own worlds without governments. It is equal parts personal story, radical history and organizing philosophy based on crow’s experiences as a radical and anarchist organizer in the US. Some highlights covered are the connections and influences of past movements on current grassroots political organizing, the creation of the Common Ground Collective–the largest anarchist/horizontal inspired organization in modern US history formed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005–crow being labeled a ‘domestic terrorist’ by the US government and investigated for 10 years as and the effects of the ‘war on terrorism’ on political dissent and building power from below.

Please Write Letters to Imprisoned Latin Kings!

•March 19, 2013 • Leave a Comment

From our friends on the ALKQN Support Committee

 

FORSYTH COUNTY DETENTION CENTER:

Jorge Cornell (King Jay)

Russell (Jonathan) Kilfoil (King Peaceful)

Ernesto Wilson

Forsyth County Detention Center (F.C.D.C)
201 N. Church St.
Winston Salem NC, 27101

 

USP COLEMAN 1:

Randolph Kilfoil (King Paul) #24768-057

USP Coleman I
US Pen. PO Box 1033
Coleman FL 33521
 

MARIAN CI:

Irvin Vasquez (King Dice) #0912834

Marian CI. 
PO Box 2405
Marian NC 28752

POLK CI.

Carlos Coleman (King Spanky) #1204102

Polk CI. 
Po Box. 2500
Butner NC 27509

 

Currently King Jay, King Peaceful, and Wilson are in limbo and waiting to hear back from the court about their motion for retrial and/or sentencing hearing.  King Paul, King Dice, and King Spanky were found not guilty of Racketeering but unfortunately are still locked up. More updates soon.

They need words of encouragement or just letters and people to write. Thank you.

Solidarity with Brooklyn Youth Resisting Police Violence!

•March 15, 2013 • Leave a Comment
 
  
  

Demonstrators face-off against police during a protest against the police shooting of Kimani Gray, March 13, 2013 in the East Flatbush neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Numerous arrests were made during the police crackdown on this protest.

16-year-old Kimani Gray was shot and killed by police on March 9, provoking unrest in the neighborhood. Gray was shot in the back and had committed no crime.

 

from Socialism, Art, Nature

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.