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Editorial: The Healing Begins

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.

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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
-James Baldwin

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

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Is a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in Padow's bacon.

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Bridge Workers

Day after day hanging off, under, and all over a bridge has to be challenging work.

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The work on Nickel Bridge continues. A sign of hope though, it looked like yesterday, when this picture was taken, that they were taking down the coverings. A better reporter/photographer would have asked these gentlemen how much longer. Unfortunately in this case I’m most definitely not your huckleberry. Officially work is scheduled to continue “through the fall”.

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Bakery to Rise Up in Manchester

There’s some work to be done on the location and they hope to open up in January.

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Spotted on Instagram and Facebook is news of Wildcraft Focaccia Company picking a spot to set up shop in Manchester. They describe themselves as naturally leavened, garden-to-table, sourdough and focaccia bakery. I look forward to trying them out. They don’t state it but I’m pretty sure the address will be 1303 Hull Street.

Here’s what they said on FB about their location.

It’s finally official – I found a space. It’s taken way longer than I ever expected – I worked on several properties and had months-long negotiations three separate times. Then there was the huge chunk of time when I didn’t even look for properties during the initial covid months, but finally, after almost a year of looking, I’ve landed in Manchester! My plan as of now is getting the keys on October 1st and likely taking three months to work on the space (it needs some TLC and some layout changes) Then opening in early January. Thanks for hanging with me during my “photo only” phase and please continue to keep me company during the build-out process! I’m looking forward to seeing you in person in 2021!

 

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Arts & Entertainment

The Valentine’s popular Controversy/History series returns to address 2020’s impact

The Valentine’s popular conversation series will return virtually on Tuesday, October 6, co-hosted by Valentine Director Bill Martin and Coffee with Strangers host Kelli Lemon. The free, five-event series will focus on the evolving impacts of 2020, a year full of unexpected challenges and uncomfortable conversations, all amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic and massive social change.

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The Valentine’s popular conversation series will return virtually on Tuesday, October 6, co-hosted by Valentine Director Bill Martin and Coffee with Strangers host Kelli Lemon. The free, five-event series will focus on the evolving impacts of 2020, a year full of unexpected challenges and uncomfortable conversations, all amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic and massive social change.

“The Richmond community that entered 2020 is not the same community we find ourselves a part of today,” Valentine Director Martin said. “2020 has truly been a year of historic change, and it only makes sense to use our conversation series Controversy/History to examine those changes, how they have impacted the people of the Richmond Region and what we can do as a community to move forward together.”

Each virtual event will include an exciting lineup of guest speakers discussing contemporary issues and how 2020 has either upended or reinforced Richmond’s history, followed by questions from the audience and action steps for those inspired to get involved.

Here is a complete list of dates and topics:

October 6, 2020, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
2020 and Voting

November 3, 2020, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
2020 and Mental Health

December 1, 2020, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
2020 and Business

January 5, 2021, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
2021 and Education

February 2, 2021, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
2021 and Activism

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