This statue is a symbol of oppression, and if it’s a symbol, it’s an idol, and if it’s an idol, I as a Christian am convinced that the idols must be torn down.
These words were spoken by Reverend Rob W Lee, great-great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E Lee. His words carry weight with the family name. And with any family requests, any arguments afterwards are null and void.
With convincing words, the Reverend Lee set the course for healing. Along with Governor Northam’s order, motions were set to remove the Lee Monument. The next day, all votes from City Council were secured to remove all the Confederate Monuments per Mayor Stoney’s declaration.
It hasn’t been 2 weeks since George Floyd was murdered by police and the world feels different. Demonstrations and protests were met with violent resistance. Looting and destruction forced many businesses around the country to board their windows. Richmond was no different. Peaceful demonstrators were met with tear gas and pepper spray at the Lee and JEB Stuart monuments.
Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up
Finally, I had to chance to go see the Lee Statue for myself Friday afternoon. I was not able to join in the demonstrations for various reasons (we’re still in a pandemic) but felt the need to go see it with my own eyes and lens. Admittedly, there was some anxiety parking at a location that had experienced so much turmoil just a few days ago. As I walked across Monument, I heard folk tell a couple on a porch “I love y’all!” and all of sudden the trepidation melted. It felt like walking into a cathedral.
Acoustic guitar played notes over the air as the circle was neared. Crossing the circle, I was struck by the image of black mothers walking their children along and up the monument. Tents were set up with sealed bottles of water and cheerful people to give them out along with smiles and grace. Folk sat in lawn chairs soaking up the sun and moment while others ambled around, taking pictures. It felt… euphoric. It felt like a place where many can come together to gain peace
The removal of the statues will take time but it is a huge step.
Instead of an avenue of division, Monument Avenue can be a place where people come together. Instead of discord; harmony. Instead of scars; healing. Instead of the past; the future Instead of the past; love.
Once this pandemic is over, Monument Avenue will become a place where peace is exchanged, where bread is broken, where souls can be healed.
Between Boulevard and Belvidere on Monument, everyone is welcome into the sanctuary to join in on a future well worth embracing.
God didn’t make anybody to be a second-class citizen. Of this country, or the human family. I believe it because I believe that’s what the scripture teaches. And that is clearly what Jesus teaches. He says come into me all of you. He didn’t limit love. The dude, he got it.
– Presiding Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry
Deep Run Roadhouse Closes Its VCU Restaurant
The original location at 12379 Gayton Road is still serving up barbecue so don’t fret if Deep Run Roadhouse was your go-to que.
Shed a barbecue flavored tear as a solid BBQ joint closes its VCU outpost. Deep Run Roadhouse brought the flavors of Alamo to the Fan and the West End. Paul Hubbard was the smoke master of Alamo, sold his interest in the Church Hill legend and opened up Deep Run Roadhouse out on Glayton Road. Five years ago he expanded to 309 N. Laurel Street. Now only the West End restaurant remains but he hopes to come back into town.
Its been an amazing and successful 5 years, but our lease has come to an end. We are currently looking for a larger space to eventually move into, so we can be back downtown someday soon. Our West End store is still open 7 days a week from 11am – 9pm and it is thriving.
There are no words that could express our gratitude to all of our patrons and the VCU community. We will always honor our 10% off commitment to all patrons with a VCU ID at our West End location. We also hope to still continue being VCU’s preferred BBQ Catering Company for many years to come.
With ALL of the love, sincerity, and respect imaginable, our Deep Run Roadhouse family thanks all the awesome employees and patrons, that made the last 5 years a success. We are also very fortunate to mention, that all employees at our VCU location that wanted to stay with the company, have kept their jobs and have received a higher pay rate at our West End store and in our catering department.
We will dearly miss cooking for you all and hope that you will visit us at our West End Location someday soon.
The Deep Run Roadhouse Family
James River Park System Update from Bryce Wilk, Superintendent
Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 James River Park has had visitors. The same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. The current staff devoted to James River Park is 5.
The James River Park is getting heavy use but that’s not all that’s going on in the park. Here’s what Bryce Wilk, Superintendent has to say.
- The JRPS is seeing visitors at a higher rate than any other year ever! Through June 30, 2020: 1,076,873 visitors. Same date in 2019: 975,433 visitors. This despite all the restrictions in place during the stay at home orders due to Covid 19 this past spring and early summer. Close to a quarter million visitors in the month of June alone.
- JRPS staff and local paddling groups installed new Dam Hazard Signs and Buoys between Huguenot Flatwater and Z-Dam to better warn people of the dangers of Z-Dam and the river.
- JRPS hired parking attendants to ticket all illegally parked vehicles at Pony Pasture Rapids Park on weekends and holidays.
- During the closure of public facilities, JRPS took the opportunity to upgrade the bathroom at Pony Pasture with new flooring and paint.
- JRPS added parking lines in the parking lot to help guide and organize vehicle parking.
- Currently we only have 5 full time staff members dedicated solely to the James River Park System, James River Park System relies on volunteers to keep this park beautiful.
- JRPS is providing volunteer opportunities for river clean ups at Pony Pasture specifically through https://www.handsonrva.org/.
- If people are interested in volunteering on their own or have any questions, Volunteer Coordinator, Matthew Mason can provide resources and equipment. His email is [email protected]
- Please visit https://jamesriverpark.org/ and http://www.richmondgov.com/parks/ for the latest updates and safety information about the James River Park System and Richmond’s Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.
Henrico launches rental assistance program for residents impacted by the COVID economy
Funding is available for qualifying, income-eligible households that have been impacted by job loss, furlough, reduction in hours of pay or other factors resulting from the economic downturn precipitated by the pandemic.
Henrico residents who are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic and are at risk of losing their rental house or apartment can apply for emergency support through the Henrico COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program.
Funding is available for qualifying, income-eligible households that have been impacted by job loss, furlough, reduction in hours of pay or other factors resulting from the economic downturn precipitated by the pandemic. The emergency program is designed to prevent homelessness; assistance is intended for Henrico renters facing the imminent loss of their residence.
Henrico County has received $360,000 from the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act to fund the effort.
Since the pandemic surfaced in central Virginia in mid-March, more than 33,900 Henrico residents have filed initial unemployment claims through July 4, according to data from the Virginia Employment Commission. More than 15,200 residents have filed continuing unemployment claims.
Applications in English and Spanish are available from Henrico’s Department of Social Services. Residents can download and print the application or request that one is mailed to them. Beginning Monday, July 13, residents can pick up an application at Social Services’ offices at 8600 Dixon Powers Drive and 3820 Nine Mile Road.
Emergency rental payments of up to $1,500 per month will be made on behalf of Henrico residents who qualify for the program. The payments, which can cover overdue rent, delinquency fees, and court filing fees, will be made for up to four months. Applicants will need to provide documentation regarding the economic impact of the pandemic on their finances and household income as well as additional verification.
The Henrico COVID-19 Rental Assistance program will continue while funding is available.
Additional information is available from Social Services and by calling (804) 501-5294.