Church to host reconciliation service

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

On Aug. 20, 1619 (or thereabouts), “20 and odd” enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of Jamestown. This began a 400-year legacy of enslavement, violence, segregation, suppression and oppression. This legacy lives on to the present moment.

On Saturday, Aug. 17, St. John’s Episcopal Church, along with the other Episcopal churches in Richmond in the Diocese of Virginia, will hold a Service of Lament, Reconciliation and Commitment. This service will ask those who attend to lament the actions of our ancestors, to work toward reconciliation and to commit to a better tomorrow. This service begins at 5 p.m.

We live in a world that is infested with hate, racism, xenophobia, homophobia and transphobia, to name but a few of the evils we face. Please consider joining with others as we gather to remember our past and to commit to love, hope and a better tomorrow.

Everyone is welcome.

The Rev. Deacon David Curtis.


Stop order needed for entire MVP

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In response to the news report “DEQ halts work on pipeline section in Montgomery,” I ask that central Virginians please recognize how our Southwest Virginia neighbors are being mistreated.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline spent a year committing hundreds of water quality violations throughout the construction process, and along the entire pipeline route. These violations were predicted by community members, geologists, karst specialists and engineers, whose warnings, given to regulatory agencies even before permits were issued, asserted that there was no way to safely build The Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) through the intended terrain of Southwest Virginia.

Those warnings have come true as communities are impacted, farms destroyed and waterways filled with sediment. More than 600 violations have been recorded by the volunteer monitoring group, Mountain Valley Watch. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), unable to keep up with mounting erosion and sediment control failures, asked Attorney General Mark Herring’s office to intercede in 2018, resulting in a civil lawsuit. As MVP haphazardly installs failing erosion control measures, flips excavators, lets sediment runoff pour into waterways and damages every ecosystem encountered, the lawsuit brought by Herring’s office sits ineffective without a stop work order.

The Aug. 2 announcement that DEQ has issued a partial stop work order, for only two miles of the more than 300-mile project that is actively harming communities and waterways in Virginia, is positive but wholly insufficient. The systemic failures of this ruinous fracked-gas project will not stop with a 2-mile stop work order, nor with a lawsuit without protective measures. Time and construction efforts have shown there is no way to build MVP without harming the communities, waterways, farms, livelihoods and futures of our neighbors in Southwest Virginia.

A full stop work order must immediately be issued by DEQ or required by the attorney general’s office.

Jessica Sims.


Why is Coliseum in such bad shape?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Hampton Coliseum opened in 1969. The Norfolk Scope opened in 1971. Richmond Coliseum also opened in 1971. Both the Hampton and Norfolk venues are open and advertise a full schedule of entertainment and sports events. Our Richmond Coliseum is shuttered and we are told it is in such dire shape that it is beyond saving. If all of these venues are approximately the same age, my question is, why is the Richmond Coliseum in such dire shape?

Jeb Hockman.


Reader wants improvements instead of a new Coliseum

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I am a 15-year resident of the city of Richmond. I chose to move to the city after living in Chesterfield for about 10 years. I remain here because I love this city. I remain here despite the ever-increasing property taxes, which we always are told are going to support our public schools, and then, suddenly, some other newer, bigger, showier project comes along.

I am one of Mayor Levar Stoney’s constituents. I voted for him. And I am one of the several thousand of his constituents who do not want the proposed Coliseum plan. We don’t need the big shiny thing; we need good public schools. We need the potholes repaired. We need our parks maintained. We need our infrastructure strengthened and maintained. And did I mention good public schools?

Stoney has made no secret of the fact that he aspires to the governor’s office. He needs to listen to the people who will be voting for him, not the 1% who are going to throw money at him.

Margaret Rush.


Lawmakers must act to end senseless gun violence

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I’m tired of seeing flags at half-staff. I’m tired of hearing politicians express heartfelt thoughts and prayers. I’m tired of watching children place teddy bears at makeshift memorials for the victims of yet another mass shooting.

The causes of these massacres are myriad, but it boils down to too many guns available to too many people. Some of the perpetrators are unstable and have expressed desires to harm themselves and others. Some have real or imagined grievances.

I have no problem with anyone owning a handgun for self-protection or a rifle for hunting. I do have a problem with assault rifles, bump stocks and large-capacity magazines. I have a problem with lax background checks and gun show loopholes.

I also have a problem with the Centers for Disease Control having a congressional muzzle so they aren’t allowed to study gun violence as the public health crisis it is. More people die by suicide using firearms than any other method. And the suicide rate is rising in all 50 states.

Finally, I am tired of the NRA dictating the gun policy of this country through their bought-and-paid-for politicians.

Enough is enough.

Debra Gardner.


Pitts was incorrect in his assumptions

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Each day I read all of the opinions on the op-ed page. I can no longer remain silent after reading Leonard Pitts’ recent column.

I am on the edge of the boomer generation as I was born in 1943, a generation which has not yet received a moniker.

I particularly take exception to his categorizing white teens of the 1950s as “flush with cash, brimming with modern conceits and — initially — indulged by parents captivated by the very newness of them.”

Nearly every teenage boy of my acquaintance worked for every penny that they had. We mostly came from blue-collar working families. Some, during the summer, baled hay for the local farmers for $1 per hour in the broiling hot sun. My own experiences included a morning paper route for which I had to rise at 4 a.m. and complete my route before school started in all kinds of weather. During the summer, I worked in construction, mixing and carrying mortar, bricks and concrete blocks and doing all sorts of carpentry. My work experience also included stock boy at a grocery store and working in retail, all the while maintaining good enough grades to earn a college scholarship to attend a prestigious engineering school and eventually achieve an advanced degree.

Pitts is guilty of what he rails against, that is lumping all people of a certain race into his own neat, preconceived category.

Gerald Mericle.


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