Governor Ralph Northam today issued Executive Order Forty-Seven and Executive Directive Six, deemed among “the most comprehensive executive actions in Virginia history to ensure inclusion and opportunity for Virginians with disabilities,” his administration said in a press release.
Executive Order Forty-Seven and Executive Directive Six continue the equal employment initiatives outlined by former Governor Terry McAuliffe in a 2015 executive order. In addition, these executive actions dramatically expand the scope of support for Virginians with disabilities to increase opportunity in higher education, improve the accessibility of state services, and ensure continued stakeholder engagement.
“Virginians with disabilities have an absolute right to the same benefits of society and freedoms of everyday life that all people enjoy,” said Governor Northam. “These executive actions highlight our commitment to ensuring every Virginian has access to the support and opportunities they need to thrive in our Commonwealth.”
Executive Order Forty-Seven ensures employment equity for Virginians with disabilities by prioritizing hiring and workforce diversity in state government. To expand educational opportunity, it directs the Secretary of Education to explore ways to increase active participation in advanced training and higher education programs. It also directs the Virginia Information Technologies Agency to review state websites and technology services, to increase accessibility and ensure all Virginians can benefit from the state services and support they need.
“True and genuine inclusion is only achieved by addressing systems of inequity—therefore it requires intentional collaboration and comprehensive action,” said Dr. Janice Underwood, the Commonwealth’s first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Today’s executive actions not only facilitate opportunity for Virginians with disabilities, but they also represent a bold step towards a Commonwealth that is truly open, inclusive, and equitable for all.”
Virginia also continues to prioritize the mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Olmstead v. L.C. by Zimring, 527 U.S. 581 (1999) decision, and the Virginians with Disabilities Act. Executive Directive Six continues the Community Integration Implementation Team (CIIT) to ensure the Commonwealth is providing opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become fully integrated into the community if they choose.
Finally, Executive Order Forty-Seven works to maintain a continued focus on Virginians with disabilities. It requires the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to convene regular meetings with relevant stakeholders, providing an opportunity for future feedback and ensuring Virginians with disabilities have an ongoing voice within state government.
Stoney administration commits $25-50 million for commemoration, memorialization of “complete history”
The first investment of $3.5M will fund the Shockoe Area Memorial Park campus.
Surrounded by members of the Shockoe Alliance on Tuesday, Mayor Stoney committed to funding a capital improvement budget amendment of between $25 and 50 million in the city’s five-year CIP plan specifically for the commemoration and memorialization of what he calls “Richmond’s complete history.”
The mayor asserted that the shared priority of the Shockoe Alliance and city leadership is embracing and “telling the truth about Richmond’s history, centralizing the turmoil, resistance, resilience, and triumphs of Black Richmond.”
“Black lives built this city. Black lives have defined Richmond’s history. They matter,” Stoney said. “The story of Black lives should span our skyline, our landscape, and our textbooks accordingly.”
Priority investments will include the Shockoe Area, various African American burial grounds, and the Slave Trail. The effort will begin with a $3.5 million investment in the Shockoe Area Memorial Park.
The memorial park, a vision developed by the Shockoe Alliance and informed by decades of community work in the area, will use greenspace and structural sites such as a heritage center or museum to create a space of memorialization, education, and atonement.
The space will encompass the African American Burial Ground, the Devil’s Half Acre site, and the two blocks east of the railroad tracks that may constitute a future archeological site.
“In this city, we care about our history. We are our history, no matter how painful that may be to confront, and we are committed to telling our full story,” said Mayor Stoney. “That story, and so rightfully that investment, begins here. On the ground of Shockoe, and in honor of our ancestors.”
Richmond reschedules National Night Out events due to COVID-19 concerns
Events will be tentatively rescheduled for October 6th, 2020.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Richmond Police Department is rescheduling this year’s National Night Out.
National Night Out will be tentatively held on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.
“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 conditions in Richmond,” police said in a release. “Please watch RPD’s social media sites for updates.”
National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for, and participation in, local anti-crime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police‐community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
As we get closer to the rescheduled date, RPD will provide updates on the status of 2020 National Night Out.
Daily Planet pleads with community for water donations for homeless during heatwave
The nonprofit needs supplies to distribute to the homeless population during the hottest time of year.
With Richmond already experiencing its first significant heatwave of the summer, and with more expected in August, Daily Planet Health Services (DPHS) is asking those that are able to, to donate bottled water and pre-packaged, single-serve snacks to the nonprofit. The supplies will be distributed directly to the homeless living around Richmond, helping to ensure this population has the necessary resources to stay hydrated and nourished during the hottest part of the summer.
This week (July 27-31), a DPHS employee will be set up to receive donations in the parking lot of the 517 W Grace St parking lot from 8:30 a.m.-noon. If someone would like to donate water or snacks outside of that timeframe, they can call the nonprofit at 804-783-2505 x 230 to set up a donation.
74 percent of DPHS’ patients are at or below the poverty level, and as the Healthcare for the Homeless Grantee, the nonprofit serves the region’s homeless. Typically, summer and winter months are the most difficult for these populations, but given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, they now have even fewer resources available to them.
“With so many of the traditional places that our homeless population utilizes to cool off and hydrate during the hot summer months – like libraries, restaurants and community centers – either closed or drastically limiting capacity, many are left without an avenue to escape the heat,” said Taylor Garrett, outreach coordinator at Daily Planet Health Services. “We’ve unfortunately already seen firsthand this summer the dire impact the heat can have on the homeless population, and we’re hopeful that the Richmond community can come together to help us get nourishment to those that need it most.”