Let the little children enter our country

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come to me for such is the Kingdom of God.” The leadership of this nation effectively says keep the little children away from here or guards will shoot them with tear gas, separate them from their parents, or put them in pens.

The difference is obvious: Jesus welcomed little children while this nation is trying to keep them out.

How long are we going to sit around and watch small children cry at a time when we celebrate the birth of another infant, named Jesus? Perhaps wise women and men will defend the innocent children.

I know my words will not please a lot of people, but I cannot live in peace while innocent children are suffering.

Walter S. Griggs Jr.

Henrico.

Newly reopened market was a disappointment

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

From the time I was a young girl, the 17th Street Market was a place of interesting people and vendors. The news of a newly rebuilt market prompted a visit with friends. I imagined sellers with Christmas wreaths and Hanover “greens.” But visiting the market the day after it officially reopened left me wondering what happened to the sheds and the vendors. True, the newly planted trees with bright Christmas lights looked pretty, but several million dollars were spent for this? What were the city planners thinking?

Let’s hope the spring will bring improvements, the vendors will return, and 17th Street Market will be once again in business.

Marion R. Jones.

Old Church.

Safer bus stops needed in the area

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The news story, “Expanding service in Chesterfield seen as priority for GRTC,” about the lack of GRTC bus service in Chesterfield, discussed Chesterfield Plaza Express bus 81X between the Lowe’s parking lot and downtown Richmond, which was shut down for lack of ridership in 2016.

Not mentioned among the reasons for lack of ridership was the lack of safe routes to walk to and from the bus stop. Of the 1,300-plus multifamily units that lie within walking distance of the Lowe’s stop, only about one-fourth of those residents could safely walk to the bus stop. Lowe’s is in a block bounded by four busy highways. There are no pedestrian signals at any of the six signalized intersections connecting that block to surrounding neighborhoods.

So most potential patrons of the bus would have had to drive or be driven to reach the bus stop. That being so, those patrons often went four miles up the road to Bon Air to take the cheaper and more flexible buses 64X or 2A.

The same lack of pedestrian accessibility to bus stops plagues all three corridors in Chesterfield proposed for GRTC bus service. Hull Street Road east of 288, Midlothian Turnpike east of North Woolridge Road, and Jefferson Davis Highway have very few sidewalks. But worse, nowhere on those busy highways is there an intersection with countdown pedestrian signals to assist patrons in crossing the highway to reach or leave a bus stop.

Potential patrons won’t ride the bus if they can’t reach the bus stop safely.

The Virginia Department of Transportation owns the roads in Chesterfield County and decides on pedestrian signals. So VDOT will ultimately determine whether bus service in Chesterfield can become feasible.

Lindsay N. Childs.

Midlothian.

UR students form a bipartisan political group

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Last week, a group of students took the initial step toward bridging the partisan divide that has weakened our country’s democratic institutions. The University of Richmond Chapter of Unite America formed to become the first college chapter in Virginia and is part of a much larger movement of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working together to disrupt politics as usual. Student members plan to work across political ideologies to put our country and its people before party.

Our chapter is built upon a “declaration of independents.” First, putting public interest ahead of any partisan or special interest. Second, a belief in using common sense and finding common ground to address and solve important issues. Third, standing for opportunity, equality, and stewardship so the next generation can be better off than we are. Fourth, championing competition, transparency, and accountability in politics. Fifth, a belief in the shared responsibility of civic engagement.

Our generation of student leaders cannot wait for systemic change to come from our elected officials. We realize that politicians must go against their own self-interest in order to enact meaningful reform such as redistricting and campaign finance reform.

Students can be a part of the external catalyst to a system that has been stagnant for far too long.

Virginia has an opportunity in 2019, 2020, and beyond to find and encourage commonsense candidates for all levels of office who can represent all people, not just those from their party; individuals who are not beholden to partisan or special interests and who can find common ground so important issues that have been ignored can be addressed. If you are one of the thousands of Virginians who have become disillusioned by politics, I call on you to join our movement.

Connor Frascati,

University of Richmond.

Richmond.

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