Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter on Monument Avenue: Parading and Petitioning

Script: On a beautiful afternoon I took a Flintstones model digital camera with me to shoot this footage at the Easter Parade on Monument Ave. Since I’m a member of the Citizens Referendum Group, I also took petitions with me, so I could gather more signatures. My aim is to stop the building of a baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom.   

Since the huge success of the Oscar-winning film, “12 Years a Slave,” Richmond's pre-Civil War slave jail history has suddenly become more interesting to a lot of people, here and elsewhere. No doubt, there are folks working at City Hall who wish that movie’s release could have been delayed a year or two.

Having grown up in Richmond, I’d like to know more about the slave market business that once thrived here. Likewise, I’d also like to learn how that aspect of local history was rather effectively covered up for so long. Let’s shine a fresh light on just how Virginia’s history books were cooked, back in the day. We need to take a hard look at how the truth about slavery and the Civil War was systematically processed into lies of denial, to be taught in our public schools.

Today, saying that building a stadium in Shockoe Bottom will really facilitate a scholarly investigation of the neighborhood’s history and archeology is just more denial talk.

Reality matters. What about those who say, too many of the baseball fans who go to The Diamond probably won’t go to the Bottom? What about those who say, with schoolhouse roofs caving in we shouldn‘t commit another nickel of public funds to spectator sports?

During the last 10 years of warmed over indecision about a baseball stadium, 27 different representatives have served on City Council. Over that time Council has heard from a parade of experts, boosters and activists.

Isn’t it time for ordinary citizens, the taxpayers! to be heard? Sign a petition in April … vote in November.

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