Sunday, September 9, 2012

Upcoming Actions and Events

Sept. 13 – Sentencing hearing for Ashley Williams – 10 am, Courtroom 311, John Marshall Court Building, 400 N. 9th St., downtown Richmond. Ashley Williams will go to trial on Nov. 30 on charges connected with the tragic death of her 2-year-old son D'Sean. Richmond's Commonwealth's Attorney's office is trying to put her away for many years for supposedly allowing D'Sean to starve to death. There is no evidence for this, but there is evidence that D'Sean suffered from an undiagnosed genetic disease that can prevent the body from processing food. Three of D'Sean's close relatives exhibit signs of the same disease. Mass community support has so far kept the courts from railroading Ms. Williams, but we can't let up in this struggle. The sentencing hearing on Sept. 13 deals with a separate case. On July 17, Ms. Williams pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. At the time of her arrest on that charge, she had lost her son D'Sean, then her other three children were taken away by Social Services, she had lost her job because of the publicity around her homicide and neglect charges and her family had had to pay out $8,000 in bond money. She was depressed and broke, without a way to earn a living. We need to turn out for this sentencing hearing so that the court knows her supporters have not abandoned her.

Fri., Sept. 14 – Protest TRAP – 7:30 a.m. (yes, a.m.), 9960 Mayland Drive, Richmond. From the organizers: “We call for 500+ to line the walkway at the Perimeter Center where the Board of Health is mtg to re-address and re-vote on permanent regulations that unfairly target abortion providers (TRAP). The Attorney General is demanding regulations be written in such a way they will shut down most clinics in VA., continuing his War on Women. The outside protest will be followed by an opportunity to speak out to the Board in their meeting. *Signs, Banners, T-Shirts, All Welcome!*” Information:

Mon., Sept. 17 - DefendersLIVE Interview with Richmond author Gigi Amateau about her new book, "Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, The Black General Gabriel", available in bookstores Sept. 12. Click here to see a trailer.

Thu., Sept. 20 - Book Launch: "Come August, Come Freedom: The Bellows, The Gallows, The Black General Gabriel" by Gigi Amateau, at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, 6:30-8:30 pm. Click here for more information.

Sat., Sept. 22 – Malian Independence Day Celebration – 6-8 p.m., at the Virginia Commonwealth University Commons. From te organizers: “You are invited to join us on Saturday September 22, 2012 for VFOM's annual celebration of Mali Independence Day featuring a special presentation by the Malian Ambassador to the US, M. Almaamoun Baba Lamine KEITA, on the state of the crisis in Mali, with food by Goree African Restaurant and centers of information in French and English covering the history of Mali, VFOM, travel programs, Women's issues, annual cultural festivals... and a concert of world reknowned, traditional and innovative Malian musician Cheick Hamala DIABATE and his band! You will not want to miss this! SAVE THE DATE for this annual meeting (very brief) and celebration of Mali's independence from colonial rule. Given the current state of affairs this will be an opportunity to learn and celebrate the achievements and struggles of this West African nation, and the larger context in which it is happening. That, with great music and great food, reports of VFOM's work over the last year, and greetings from special guests and friends alike.” Information at:

Sat., Sun., Oct. 6-7 – Second Street Festival – From the organizers: “... one of the Mid-Atlantic's largest street festivals. Nearly 50,000 people visit historic Jackson Ward to reminisce about the days when 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond's African American community. Attendees enjoy jazz, R&B, fashion shows, gospel music, the children’s area and performances by community groups on four stages. They also enjoy the marketplace, delicious food and reuniting with family, friends, classmates and acquaintances.” Sponsored (unfortunately) by Altria (cancer-causing cigarettes) and Dominion (high electric bills and dangerous nuclear power plants). Information at:

Sun., Oct. 7 – Public Forum: “U.S. HANDS OFF SYRIA, IRAN & MALI! We need JOBS not WAR!" – Is the U.S. preparing to attack Syria & Iran? Is it preparing to intervene in the West African country of Mali? Can we stand by as the lives of millions more people are put at risk? If there's no money for a public jobs program, how is there money for more wars? What's really behind the developing crises, and what can we do about it? On the 11th ANNIVERSARY OF THE U.S. WAR ON AFGHANISTAN, you are invited to a PUBLIC FORUM to address these and other issues. With a special showing of the award-winning documentary “BAM 6.6.” 6:30 p.m., William Byrd Community House, 224 So. Cherry St. (2 ½ blocks south of West Cary & 3 blocks west of So. Belvidere), Richmond, Virginia. Free, donations appreciated. Children welcome. Light refreshments. Sponsored by The Virginia Defendernewspaper and the DefendersLIVE! radio program. Information:

Thurs., Oct. 18 – Autumn issue of The Virginia Defender – Look for it at your local barber shop, beauty parlor, church, mosque, corner grocery store and all branches of the Richmond Public Library. Online at

To help support the work of The Virginia Defender, please send a check or money order payable to “Virginia Defender” to: “Defender, PO Box 23202, Richmond, VA 23223.” Or contribute through PayPal at

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