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City, community partners to launch emergency childcare centers for essential personnel

The first center located at Downtown YMCA opens today and will admit children of medical personnel.

RVAHub Staff

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On Friday, outside the Downtown YMCA, Mayor Stoney announced his administration has partnered with the YMCA of Greater Richmond to provide emergency childcare to elementary and middle school-aged children of essential medical personnel in Richmond.

The site at the Downtown YMCA will open today, Monday, and will be the first of several emergency childcare centers across the city. The centers will care for the children in grades Kindergarten through 8 of essential personnel for the duration of school closures due to COVID-19. Healthcare providers will work directly with the YMCA to register the children of essential employees eligible to participate in the program.

“When Superintendent Kamras made the tough but correct decision to close Richmond Public Schools last week, it was immediately clear to us that the city needed to gather its partners around the table and ensure the city’s most essential workforce wouldn’t have to worry about childcare while they’re on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Mayor Stoney.

“The YMCA of Greater Richmond is honored to serve the families of our healthcare personnel during this unprecedented time,” said Tim Joyce, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Richmond. “Our quality staff team is looking forward to giving these families the comfort of knowing their children are in a safe environment with professional caregivers who are dedicated to their community.”

The YMCA’s sites will serve medical and healthcare personnel. The city intends to open additional childcare sites at Richmond Public Schools facilities in the coming weeks, pending approval from the Virginia Department of Social Services. Those expanded sites will cater to other essential government and non-government personnel, including first responders, sanitation and solid waste workers, bus drivers, and grocery store and pharmacy staff, among others. As the emergency childcare program expands to RPS sites, the city will partner with employers to identify and invite eligible participants.

The Community Foundation, through its newly-launched Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, has committed to supporting the launch and operation of these emergency childcare centers.

“The Community Foundation views the YMCA of Greater Richmond as a high-impact partner in their work. We are honored to support their daily programs as well as special initiatives like this one,” said Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer for the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond.

The childcare centers will adhere to the most recent guidelines from the Virginia Departments of Health and Social Services. Precautions include a maximum child-to-staff ratio of nine to one, frequent temperature checks and thorough cleaning with CDC-approved disinfectants.

Children experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or residing in a household with anyone experiencing symptoms will not be admitted.

“None of the essential workforce should have to choose between knowing their kids are safe and keeping our community running,” said Mayor Stoney. “That’s why I charged my administration with providing this network of support. I’m excited to build it out.”

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Community

Results from “Lost Cause” Studio Project Survey Reveal a Richmond Eager to Confront its Past

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio can address community needs.

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From the Valentine.

Today the Valentine released the results of a community survey, conducted in October and November of 2020.

The survey asked Richmond region residents to share their knowledge about and ongoing impact of the Lost Cause myth, their desire to learn about this complex history and how a transformed Valentine Studio (the location on the museum’s campus where sculptor Edward Valentine created many Lost Cause works) can address community needs. More than 1,000 participants, representing a wide variety of perspectives and backgrounds, completed the survey.

A diverse team of historians, activists, local leaders, Valentine family members and community members developed the survey. The Valentine also held focus groups to gain a deeper understanding of the variety of opinions about the Lost Cause, the role of cultural institutions in sharing this history and the potential installation of the damaged, paint-covered Jefferson Davis statue, until recently displayed on Monument Avenue, in the space. The results of the survey and the focus groups will inform and guide the project development.

Results included:

A majority of respondents stated that they would like to see the Valentine use the reinterpreted studio to explore the history of power and policies in Jim Crow Richmond, the art and artistic processes that created Lost Cause sculptures and the history of racial oppression in Richmond.

Additionally, 65% of respondents from the Richmond region agreed that museums should acquire the monuments from Monument Avenue and display them with context. For the Valentine specifically, this reinforced our request to the City of Richmond to acquire and display the graffiti-covered Jefferson Davis statue on his back as he fell.

Additionally, focus group participants, moderated by project partner Josh Epperson, felt that using the studio to explore Lost Cause history and connect it to the present would be a valuable use of the space. Focus group participants also affirmed the Valentine’s commitment to continuing its high level of community engagement, which they expected to be critical to the success of the reimagined studio.

You can find additional survey results HERE.

“Based on the survey feedback we received from our fellow Richmonders, we are confident that this is the best next step for this space and for this institution,” said Director Bill Martin. “We look forward to providing a location where Richmonders can learn about the Lost Cause, consider Richmond and the Valentine’s early role in disseminating the damaging Lost Cause myth and ultimately gain a deeper, more nuanced, more empathetic understanding of the region we call home.”

The Valentine will continue to solicit and address community questions, comments or concerns as the Studio Project develops.

On December 31st the Washington Post had an article on the museum taking a closer look at the role that founder of Edward V. Valentine had in the lost cause.

Today, the artist’s studio is closed to visitors at the Richmond museum that bears his family name — the Valentine. But museum director Martin and others see the workshop as the center of what could be a public reckoning with the racist mythology that Valentine’s sculptures helped bring to life.

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Community

Bookbinder’s Brings you Mac & Cheese on Another Level with BIGWIFE’S Pop-Up

This isn’t your typical mom’s mac & cheese. If your mom makes mac & cheese like this we would like to be adopted.

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Old Original Bookbinder’s Seafood & Steakhouse has launched a new experimental pop-up concept focusing exclusively on macaroni and cheese. BIGWIFE’S Mac & Cheese is operating for delivery and carryout from the Bookbinder’s kitchen.

The inventive menu includes creative spins like Buffalo Mac with spicy chicken and gorgonzola cheese; Little Figgy Mac with goat cheese, ham and fig; Mac Lorraine with bacon, scallions, and gruyere; and Greek Wedding Mac with tomato, olive, artichokes, pepperoncini and feta. Any mac can be made gluten free.

Orders can be placed at https://www.bigwifesmac.com/ and via Grubhub. BIGWIFE’S is open Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Old Original Bookbinder’s is located at 2306 E Cary Street, Richmond, VA 23223.

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Crime

City of Richmond declares State of Emergency due to “credible threats” related to planned protests

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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The City of Richmond and Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration has declared a State of Emergency for the city due to what officials call “credible threats” of violence related to planned protests leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20th.

The declaration follows Governor Ralph Northam’s declaration of a statewide State of Emergency, which allowed the administration to send National Guard troops and State Troopers to Washington, D.C. to help with security, logistics, and other immediate needs following the insurrection at the Capitol last week.

The city’s declaration opens up funds for emergency use and was voted into effect unanimously by City Council Monday evening.

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