Monday, October 29, 2012

Reporting LIVE from Frankenstorm SANDY:

Updates & Announcements from The Virginia Defender – Oct. 28, 2012 

About that storm  … Looks like coastal and Central Virginia will get hit pretty hard from Hurricane Sandy. So before we go to the Announcements, here's some information from the City of Richmond:

The City has designated two Emergency Relief Shelters for city residents if they expect to be displaced by the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Major power outages have been predicted throughout this weather event, and total rainfall is expected to reach 5 to 8 inches.

Two shelters are presently open and operating: Linwood Holton Elementary School on the Northside (1600 West Laburnum Ave.)  and J. H. Blackwell Elementary on the Southside (1600 Everett Street). GRTC is providing transportation to the emergency relief shelters as needed. Residents needing transportation to the shelters should look for the buses marked “Special” on the following routes:
     Bus 1: Chimborazo going west to 21st Street to Princess Anne Ave. to Whitcomb Street to Ford Ave. back to Mechanicsville Tnpk. to Fairfield Way to 17th Street to Broad and then west to Malvern and turn right to Laburnum Ave. to Linwood Holton School.
     Bus 2: Harrison Street and Main Street to Colorado Avenue to Meadow Street to Idlewood Ave. to Robinson to Main to Nansemond to Cary Street east on Cary Street to McCloy Street to Douglasdale Road to the Boulevard to Linwood Holton School.
     Bus 3: Jeff Davis Hgwy. and Wamsley Boulevard to Semmes Ave. left to Forest Hill Ave. to Hug. School (no stop at Wall Mart) turn around and go back down Forest Hill Ave. to Semmes Ave. to Commerce Road to Maury Street to Blackwell School
     Bus 4: Hull Street west to Chippenham Parkway to Midlothian Tnpk. to Hull Street to 16th Street to Blackwell School.
     Additionally, GRTC Route #74 Oak Grove will take residents to the Southside Shelter (Blackwell).  The Oak Grove bus will be running its regular route, but residents traveling to the shelter may identify themselves, and will not be charged a fee.

Mayor Dwight Jones has declared a local state of emergency for the city of Richmond. According to the mayor, “It is vitally important that residents prepare for a prolonged weather event where we will likely see extended power outages. Also, if you think you are gong to be in need of emergency shelter, we encourage you to travel to the shelter sooner rather than later, so that you will not be traveling to the shelters in dangerous weather.”

For residents with medical needs, it is strongly advised that you act now to stock medicines and medical supplies. If you take medicine or use a medical treatment on a daily basis, be sure you have enough on hand to last at least a week. This includes oxygen. If you use oxygen please contact your supplier and request to have extra bottles delivered to you. Do not depend on emergency responders to assist you with these types of supplies. Additionally, if you anticipate needing assistance during a disaster, make a plan for getting assistance from family, friends or others who can help you. As part of your preparation, teach them how to operate your equipment or administer medications in case of an emergency.

In addition:

  • The Freedom House Conrad Center will serve as a homeless shelter beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, October 27 through 6:30 p.m., Monday, October 29. The Conrad Center is located at 1400 Oliver Hill Way.....
  • Homeless persons needing shelter tonight should go to Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church, 14 West Duval Street. The shelter opens at 7 p.m. tonight and closes the tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. Food will not be provided.
  • All residents are encouraged to treat this storm seriously by taking precautions now in preparation for any impact from this hurricane. Residents should go to for a detailed list of storm precautions.
  • Residents are strongly advised to stay tuned to local TV and radio stations for the most current storm information. In the event your home loses electrical power, plan to have a battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio and extra batteries ready so that you can access weather information and instructions from officials.
  • For up-to-date information and additional instructions from the city of Richmond during the storm, please visit, follow the City on Twitter @CityRichmondVA, and stay tuned to local radio and television stations.

 Thursday, Nov. 1 – AUTUMN ISSUE OF THE VIRGINIA DEFENDER  – on the streets and in the neighborhoods. And online at: Stories on the Ashley Williams case, the new threat to put a ballpark in historic Shockoe Bottom and a major report on conditions in the Richmond City Jail. Plus, what the U.S. military is trying to do in West Africa. Want to help get this information out to the community? Contact the Defender to volunteer to help distribute the paper. Call 804-644-5834 or email

 Monday, Nov. 5 - Working People's Movements Forum  – "Join Students for a Democratic Society for an educational panel on working class movements. Speakers include representatives of local labor unions, community organizations, and more. A variety of issues relating to working Americans will be discussed, including public transportation, jobs, racism, and the importance of having a working people's movement. We are all workers, and we are all in this together. The event is from 7pm to 8:30pm on Monday, November 5th in the VCU Student Commons Theater (907 Floyd Avenue). It is free and open to the public."

 Thursday, Nov. 8 – Public Forum on Housing in Segregation  – HOME and the Virginia Poverty Law Center Invite you to join them for “Residential Segregation: A Community Conversation” - 6:30 p.m., University of Richmond Downtown, Gallery Space, 626 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219. Come hear panelists discuss Richmond's history of residential segregation, current segregation in the city, and 
how the community can work toward a more integrated city. Dr. Shawn Utsey, Chair of VCU's African American Studies; The Reverend Ben Campbell of Richmond Hill; Dr. John V. Moeser, UR's Bonner Center of Civic Engagement - moderated by Ana Edwards, Manager of Library Programs  & Byrd House Market at William Byrd Community House. Seating is Limited. Please RSVP: The Future of Richmond's Past - 200 S. Third Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Contact: Carolyn Martin · Office: 804-289-8088 · Fax: 804-287-6540 · Email: -

 Sat., Nov. 10 – Peace Center Auction and Dinner – The Richmond Peace Education Center will hold its annual fundraising auction and dinner on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, beginning at 6 p.m. This year’s event will again be held atop the Troutman Sanders Building, 1001 Haxall Point, overlooking the James River. During the evening, Lori Haas and Andrew Goddard will be recognized as Richmond’s 2012 Peacemaker of the Year; our 2012 Peace Essay winners will also be recognized. Items available in the live and silent auctions include vacation getaways; ethnic dinners for four; gift certificates from local restaurants and other businesses; art and craft objects; clothing and jewelry; books by local authors; home-made treats and much more. Tickets to the event are $30 in advance; $35 at the door.  Reservations for children 5-12 are available for $15. Tickets are available by calling the Peace Center at 232-1002, emailing, or by credit card at  Last year’s event sold out, so early reservations are highly recommended. Tickets will be sold at the door, but only if space is available. As always, proceeds from the auction will support the programs of the Peace Center, including the Richmond Youth Peace Project, Racial Justice in Richmond workshops, public forums and conflict resolution training for adults and young people. For more information:  Richmond Peace Education Center, 232-1002,

 Sat., Nov. 17 – Cooking as a 2nd Language  – “West African cuisine from Senegal!! Wolof-central! Jolof-central! Home of Yassa and Thiebu Jen and Maffe and Curry and Oxtails - OH so GOOD. Chef Boubacar will surprise us on Nov. 17 - daring to share his way of cooking at least two of these fabulous entrees. Register at! This cooking class only $10. William Byrd Community House – Nutrition Room, 224 S. Cherry St., Richmond. / 804.643.2717, ext. 306."

 Thurs., Nov. 22 – Thanksgiving Feast  – The 2012 Giving Heart Community Thanksgiving Feast will be held Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from 11 am to 2 pm. ALL ARE INVITED! From Giving Heart: “Become a donor.  Interested in making "in kind" donations? … We'd love to accept your offerings. Help to provide for our cooking needs and to offer items for our food bags that are given to many of the guests by coming out to our annual Sam's Club (Short Pump) food and toiletry collection event from November 16th to November 18th. Take up a collection within your family, neighborhood, club, church, school or business. Do you like craft or floral projects?  Make a few centerpieces to grace some of our tables. Gather toiletries and other items for our distribution room. Information:

Ashley Williams is charged with second-degree murder and felony child neglect in the tragic death of her 2-year-old son D'Sean. When her son died, he weighed just 14 pounds – about half of what is normal for a child that age. Without a shred of evidence, Richmond's Commonwealth Attorney's office is claiming that Ms. Williams neglected her child and basically allowed him to starve to death. Medical experts who have looked into this case have suggested that D'Sean likely suffered from DiGeorge Syndrome, a genetic disease that can prevent the victim from properly processing food. The state autopsy performed on D'Sean reported he had both food and liquid in his system, and yet he was severely malnourished. Bolstering this theory is the fact that two of Ms. Williams' sisters and a niece also have young sons who are dangerously underweight. But the private doctors of those boys have prescribed life-saving treatment. In contrast, Ms. Williams's Medicaid-appointed doctor did not suggest any such treatment. Ms. Williams was pressured by a court-appointed attorney to plead guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter – a lesser charge, but still one that carried a long prison sentence. Today she would be in a state prison if it had not been for the timely intervention of the Virginia state NAACP, former Richmond City Councilman Sa'ad El-Amin and support from the larger community, which has packed the courtroom for each of Ms. Williams' court hearings. In the words of one of her sisters, “The only thing Ashley is guilty of is being young, poor, uneducated and following the advice of people who she thought knew what they were doing.” Ms. Williams has been held in the Richmond City Jail since November 2011. The medical, Social Services and legal systems have all utterly failed her. Now they are trying to scapegoat her for those very failures. Community support has so far kept her from prison. Let's join together one more time to help her win her freedom. Please attend Ashley Williams' trial on 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, Courtroom 307 in the John Marshall Courts Building, 400 N. 9th St., Richmond, VA 23219.

 Wed., Dec. 12 – SAVE THE DATE!  – 12/12/12 Fund-Raising Holiday Party for The Virginia Defender. Details to be announced. This will be the last time in nearly 90 years – until Jan. 1, 2101 – when the month, day and year will all be represented by the same numerals: 12/12/12. Let's mark this numerical occasion by raising some numbers so the Defender can start 2013 on a solid financial basis.

 New Activists Events Calendar  – A Richmond activist has launched an online calendar to announce local news and opportunities for local action. Check it out at:

Monday, October 1, 2012

DefendersLIVE today: A Chat about Public Education

Chicago Teachers' Strike
Chicago's teachers have created a true 'paradigm shift'... National Education Association weights in with 'lessons' of the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012, SubstanceNews.Net

New York City Public Education Challenge
Getting Out from Under: A Human Rights Alternative to the Corporate Model of Public Education in NYC
Independent Commission on Public Education, 

On The Education of Black American Children

The ideology undergirding the charter school movement has been sharply analyzed via:

Richmond Public Schools & School Board Elections

For information about the Richmond School Board, click here, then Administration, then School Board

Oct. 7 Public Forum: US Hands Off Syria, Iran & Mali

you are invited to a



We need JOBS not WAR!"

6:30 PM – SUNDAY – OCT. 7

William Byrd Community House – 224 So. Cherry St., Richmond
(2 ½ blocks south of West Cary & 3 blocks west of So. Belvidere)

ALSO: Updates on the Ashley Williams case, support for inmates in the Richmond City Jail & the fight to keep a ballpark out of Shockoe Bottom

An analysis of the developing crises by: PHIL WILAYTO – Editor, The Virginia Defender; author, “In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation's Journey through the Islamic Republic”

An analysis of the recent coup, civil war & the threat of U.S.-backed military intervention in Mali by: ANA EDWARDS – Host, DefendersLIVE! weekly radio program; Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project

& A SPECIAL REPORT on the Sept. 25 meeting of U.S. peace & social justice activists in New York City with IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD by:KWAME BINTA – Member, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality; District 3 Commissioner, UNIA-ACL; Regional Representative, November Coalition

This acclaimed documentary explores the humanity of the Iranian people through the prism of the devastating 2003 earthquake that struck the ancient town of Bam in southeastern Iran. Through the experiences of two young American tourists, one of whom is a Jewish woman, viewers witness how a natural disaster can overcome religious and political barriers, dispel stereotypes and unite disparate members of the
human family.



Sponsored by:
THE VIRGINIA DEFENDER newspaper & the DefendersLIVE! radio program
PO Box 23202, Richmond, VA 23223 – Ph: 804.644.5834 – Fax: 804.332.5225
– Email: