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Queen Latifah in Richmond: A day of empowerment with a “get out the vote” message

There was unity around one message in Richmond Tuesday among a diverse crowd of over 1,000 women: empowerment. From entertainer Queen Latifah to the first ladies of Virginia to a Native American chief, the Women’s Achieve Summit at the Greater Richmond Convention Center celebrated women’s achievements and explored how to continue reaching new frontiers.

Capital News Service

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By Aliviah Jones and Imani Thaniel

There was unity around one message in Richmond Tuesday among a diverse crowd of over 1,000 women: empowerment.
From entertainer Queen Latifah to the first ladies of Virginia to a Native American chief, the Women’s Achieve Summit at the Greater Richmond Convention Center celebrated women’s achievements and explored how to continue reaching new frontiers.
Host Queen Latifah held court with interviewees, sharing anecdotes and laughs over the stories of challenges and triumphs. The summit was part of the American Evolution, a commemorative year of events highlighting pivotal moments that occurred in Virginia 400 years ago and continue to impact the nation. Ahead of the summit the Virginia Women’s Monument was unveiled, which features seven statues honoring women from different parts of the commonwealth.

Retired astronaut and U.S. Navy captain Wendy Lawrence talked about growing into a leadership role, while also challenging the “false narrative” that women have to face things alone.

 “I was possessed by a dream, so I absolutely know the power of having a dream,” she said.

Anne Richardson, chief of the Rappahannock Tribe, spoke about honoring ancestors who led the way, while working to usher in dreams — of how to find one’s “North Star.”

Deborah Jewell-Sherman, a former superintendent of Richmond Public Schools who now teaches at Harvard University, spoke alongside Irma Becerra, president of Arlington County-based Marymount University, to touch on key issues women of color face in the education system, and why it is imperative to teach young people that college is accessible.

“Education is challenging,” Becerra said. “We need to be intentional with moving forward and moving along … It does take a village to instill that confidence.”

“I encourage all young people to get a well-rounded education because you never know where you may end up,” Virginia first lady Pamela Northam said.

Along with the personal stories of how to break glass ceilings, blaze trails and overcome obstacles was the idea of showing up.

Queen Latifah recalled first noticing voter apathy at her high school in Newark, New Jersey; “people thinking that it’s no big deal, it doesn’t matter, but it does matter.”

“People need to go back and take a look at a few pictures and see some people being sprayed with hoses and being bitten by dogs for their right to vote, and maybe it will spark something inside of them,” she said.

This isn’t the first time Queen Latifah has encouraged people to vote. In 2018, she partnered with Black Entertainment Television’s “Black Girls Rock!” to encourage voter registration and she recently tweeted “Voting gives us a voice” on National Voter Registration Day.

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner spoke to Queen Latifah about how upcoming state elections are imperative for women in regard to working for equal protections — especially with all 140 General Assembly seats up for re-election.

In the past two years, a record amount of women have been elected to the Virginia General Assembly and Congress.

Warner said the government functions better with more women because they are “used to getting stuff done.”

In February, the Equal Rights Amendment lost by one vote in the House. With a couple more votes, legislators could pass the ERA, Warner said.

“You don’t have to go out and change 50 different delegates, although you can do that as well, but if we switch a couple of the votes in the House and the Senate, Virginia could become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.”
Queen Latifah said that voting is “ultimately our power,” and she can’t imagine giving that power away.

“I challenge any person that is about to be 18 … to register to vote, if you decide you don’t want to vote then you don’t have to vote, but if you are not registered you can’t vote,” Queen Latifah said.

At the end of the month, Queen Latifah will receive the W.E.B Du Bois medal from Harvard for her service and contributions to the African American community.

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The Capital News Service is a flagship program of VCU’s Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture. In the program, journalism students cover news in Richmond and across Virginia and distribute their stories, photos, and other content to more than 100 newspapers, television and radio stations, and news websites.

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Community

Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End

No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.

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A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.

We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!

Bear on Northbank this morning! from r/rva

Here he is in town.

Bear at Byrd and 5th from r/rva

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Downtown

Majority of Virginia to enter Phase Two of reopening; Richmond to remain in Phase One for now

Richmond and Northern Virginia will remain in Phase One while surrounding localities can now ease restrictions on gatherings, indoor dining, and other uses.

RVAHub Staff

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Governor Ralph Northam today signed Executive Order Sixty-Five and presented the second phase of the “Forward Virginia” plan to continue safely and gradually easing public health restrictions while containing the spread of COVID-19. The Governor also amended Executive Order Sixty-One directing Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond to remain in Phase One.

Most of Virginia is expected to enter Phase Two on Friday, June 5, as key statewide health metrics continue to show positive signs. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to trend downward as testing increases. The Governor and Virginia public health officials will continue to evaluate data based on the indicators laid out in April.

“Because of our collective efforts, Virginia has made tremendous progress in fighting this virus and saved lives,” said Governor Northam. “Please continue to wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. Virginians have all sacrificed to help contain the spread of this disease, and we must remain vigilant as we take steps to slowly lift restrictions in our Commonwealth.”

Executive Order Sixty-Five modifies public health guidance in Executive Order Sixty-One and Sixty-Two and establishes guidelines for Phase Two. Northern Virginia and the City of Richmond entered Phase One on Friday, May 29, and will remain in Phase One to allow for additional monitoring of health data. Accomack County delayed reopening due to outbreaks in poultry plants, which have largely been controlled through rigorous testing. Accomack County will move to Phase Two with the rest of the Commonwealth, on Friday, June 5.

Under Phase Two, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures.

Restaurant and beverage establishments may offer indoor dining at 50 percent occupancy, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 30 percent occupancy, and certain recreation and entertainment venues without shared equipment may open with restrictions. These venues include museums, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, and outdoor concert, sporting, and performing arts venues. Swimming pools may also expand operations to both indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction.

The current guidelines for religious services, non-essential retail, and personal grooming services will largely remain the same in Phase Two. Overnight summer camps, most indoor entertainment venues, amusement parks, fairs, and carnivals will also remain closed in Phase Two.

Phase Two guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase One guidelines sectors are available here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

The full text of Executive Order Sixty-Five and Order of Public Health Emergency Six is available here.

The full text of amended Executive Order Sixty-One can be found here.

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Richmond Police, Mayor Stoney apologize after tear gas deployed before curfew on protesters

Protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday night and were met with a forceful response and the deployment of tear gas by Richmond Police – an action for which the department and Mayor Stoney later apologized.

RVAHub Staff

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Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Richmond again Monday afternoon and evening to speak out after the death of George Floyd. The group organized near both the Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart Monuments on Monument Avenue and remained mainly peaceful until police approached demonstrators at the Lee statue and deployed tear gas, as can be seen below from the below Twitter video from VPM.

Around the same time, reports began coming in that protesters at the Stuart monument were attempting to bring it down. A young demonstrator scaled the base of the statue and took what appeared to be a hack saw to the leg of the monument’s horse in an effort to bring it down. Police responded by calling on protesters to stand down, citing the weight of the monuments and their potential to crush bystanders.

Richmond Police and Mayor Levar Stoney later apologized for the deployment of tear gas on peaceful protesters – well below the 8:00 PM curfew – saying it was uncalled for and inviting protesters to City Hall at noon Tuesday to “apologize in person.” For its part, RPD said the officers involved had been “removed from the field” and would be subject to disciplinary action.

The protesters then continued marching down Franklin Street, then W. Broad Street, where things fizzled out around 10:30 PM near 14th Street.

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