Early Wednesday morning, Mayor Stoney asked City Council to vote to immediately remove the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue. City Council declined, citing procedural rules. A vote was scheduled for Thursday. Stoney was in no mood to wait. Wednesday afternoon a work crew with a crane and flatbed trailer descended on the Stonewall Jackson Monument at Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Monument. Upon arrival, they immediately went to work taking down Stonewall Jackson from his massive pedestal.
The mayor felt justified in his end-run around City Council stating, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and protestors attempt to take down Confederate statues themselves or confront others who are doing so, the risk grows for serious illness, injury, or death. We have an urgent need to protect the public.”
The removal of the statue was unannounced but word quickly spread on social media. What started as a small crowd swelled to over 1,000.
The process of removing the statue was slow and tedious. The mood of the crowd was celebratory.
At one point an individual quickly went the statue and waved a “Respect our Monuments” flag. Tensions quickly escalated as the crowd rushed towards him. Richmond Sherriffs quickly escorted the counter protestor from the area but not before his flag met an ignominious end.
Throughout the workers steadily prepared the statue for removal.
As the moment of truth approached so did the storm clouds. Heavy rain hit as Jackson was lifted into the air. The tension that had been building was released as the remaining folks cheered the Confederate generals removal.
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At the time of this writing the work crew was setting up at the Maury memorial.
Buildings Damaged Tuesday Night, Arrests Made
No other reports of damage or injuries at this time.
The John Marshall Courthouse, Wells Fargo building, Omni hotel, and a Starbucks were damaged last night.
Brent Solomon of NBC12 Tweeted photos of the damage.
— Brent Solomon (@solomonreports) August 12, 2020
The police released the following statement on arrests.
On Tuesday night a group of individuals broke windows and damaged and defaced property in several neighborhoods in the city of Richmond.
At approximately 11:50 p.m., officers detained several individuals. The Department consulted with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney on possible charges and charged four.
Julius Dela Cruz, Lakshmi Menon, Kyra Nguyen and Brian Quach were charged with rioting.
Several items, including a metal crowbar and a hammer were seized from the individuals.
Institute for Contemporary Art and VPM launch community media center
Chioke I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies at VCU, will serve as the center’s inaugural director of community media.
The Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University and VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, are creating a media center inside the ICA for the production of audio content by VCU students, local community members and VPM professionals.
The VPM+ICA Community Media Center will create new opportunities for storytelling, train and educate the next generation of audio producers, and amplify voices often missing from traditional media.
Under the leadership of Chioke I’Anson, Ph.D., inaugural director of community media, the center will launch this fall with community and student podcasting workshops, training sessions and a special performance — all of which are expected to begin virtually due to COVID-19. The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is slated to open in spring 2021.
“Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed the rise of podcasting as a new genre of narrative and documentary arts,” said Dominic Willsdon, executive director of the ICA. “With that in mind, the ICA — as an institution responsive to new currents in public culture — sought to partner with VPM and launch an initiative that supports audio storytelling by, for and about our communities, especially those that have suffered historical inequity. We plan to grow this over time to include audio, video and community media-making more broadly. Beginning in 2021, our new community media center will provide the space, tools and support for this.”
Through this innovative partnership, the ICA and VPM also will launch a multiyear educational and media-making program comprising VCU academic seminars, youth media programs and public seminars, workshops and symposia.
“The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is a unique opportunity for public media to play a role in engaging a new generation of diverse content makers,” said Jayme Swain, CEO of the Virginia Foundation for Public Media and president of VPM. “We are honored to partner with the ICA and Dr. I’Anson to provide a creative space for students and the community to learn how to harness the power of media to tell their stories.”
The ICA’s second-floor Murry DePillars Learning Lab will house the media center, complete with two recording booths and workspace for conceptualizing, editing and producing podcasts and other audio programs.
The project reflects the ICA’s continued engagement with VCU students and faculty to develop new ways of thinking about and utilizing its space, a precedent that’s been in place since the ICA’s conception and has actively shaped its building design and programming.
“Everyone in Richmond has a story that only they can tell, or a perspective only they can share,” said I’Anson, an assistant professor of African American Studies in the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU and underwriting announcer at NPR. “The VPM+ICA Community Media Center is the lab where anyone with something to say or a desire to create can get the technical skills to share their vision. The media center will be an arts and storytelling focal point, serving the city of Richmond and helping deliver its stories to the rest of the world.”
I’Anson will teach a podcasting seminar each semester for students in the Department of African American Studies and will work with a managing team comprising VCU students to plan and create a series of community events and youth programs.
VMHC partnering with VPM to honor the centennial of the 19th Amendment with panel talk, new documentary
On Friday, August 14, the VMHC will host a live panel discussion with the historians featured in the film. They will share their insights on this pivotal movement Virginia’s history, and will also take questions from participants live during this virtual discussion.
The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC) is partnering with VPM to celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women’s right to vote this month. “These Things Can Be Done”, a documentary produced by Boedeker Films and with support from the Commonwealth of Virginia Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemoration in partnership with the VMHC, explores the often-overlooked narrative of women’s suffrage in Virginia will premier this Thursday, August 13 on VPM. To learn more about the film and see the trailer, visit SuffrageFilm.com.
On Friday, August 14, the VMHC will host a live panel discussion with the historians featured in the film. They will share their insights on this pivotal movement Virginia’s history, and will also take questions from participants live during this virtual discussion. Speakers on the program will be Barbara Batson from the Library of Virginia, Ajena Rogers from the Maggie Walker National Historic Site, Dr. Karen Sherry from the VMHC, Dr. Sandra Treadway from the Library of Virginia and Christina Vida from the Valentine. To participate online for free, participants can join the livestream at noon on Friday on the VMHC Facebook page or YouTube Channel.