26 December 2011

"Rio's Cemetery of New Blacks sheds light on horrors of slave trade: Tooth analysis shows Africans taken from wide area ranging from Sudan in the north-east to Mozambique in the south." http://ping.fm/fyNfY

NOTE from SGHRP: Scientists in Rio are using the same tooth analysis technique first used on the bioarchaeological remains in the New York African Burial Ground to ascertain countries of origin for the enslaved men, women and children who were buried in this site. The mid-18th to early-19th century use of this cemetery (1760-1830) coincides with that of Richmond's African Burial Ground (1750-1816).

19 December 2011

Richmond-area endorsers of the 2012 Virginia People's Assembly will hold a press conference TODAY Monday, Dec. 19, to respond to the two-year state budget being proposed by Gov. Robert McDonnell. The press conference will take place at noon outside the General Assembly Building at the intersection of N. 9th and E. Grace streets. DefLIVE will air Call In from press conference during today's show. Live via www.WRIR.org or 97.3 FM.

13 December 2011

January 2012

**Before you go, please confirm event details with contact information provided.**

28 November 2011

Christmas Day Dinner
25 December 2011 | @ The Conrad Center 1400 Oliver Hill Way Richmond, VA. Supervalu provides this holiday meal along with the support of Food Lion, Martins, Pepsi and Mimi's Whole Wheat (a Byrd House Market vendor). The meal will be served to the homeless and working poor from 9 am to 2 p.m that day wih buses picking up guests throughout the city starting at 8:30 a.m. Volunteers will help serve the dinner as well as help out in the gift room. Groups, churches, companies, individuals and others will provide gift bags filled with age and gender appropriate items for each guest that attends, and other new needed items such as coats, toys, shoes, tee shirts, thermal underwear, coats, and blankets. Bicycles and skateboards are raffled off to the children every half hour. Please contact Christy Ellis at 233-4064 ext. 209 if you are interested in participating in this experience. We need volunteers willing to donate gift bags and other needed new items and willing to volunteer in the dining room and gift room.
The trial of the trespassing cases of 5 Occupy Richmond participants is tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 2pm at the Manchester General District Courthouse, 920 Hull St. on Richmond's south side, 23224. Please attend to show your support and to bear public witness.

27 November 2011

Nov 28 on DefendersLIVE: Richmond Free Press Editor Ray Boone Talks about his Special Guests - Occupy Richmond. Mondays on WRIR.org and 97.3 FM at Noon (and Tuesdays at noon online only)

Food, Water and Land Grabs

When we experience drought conditions in Virginia we remember the way that land and water work together. In a day to day way that relationship is experienced by the food we eat, the grass we play on, the green of the trees that shade us, relief from summer's heat, the vibrant colors of autumn and blossoms of spring, the flow of the James River and its tributaries. We know that waterside land is sought after and therefore has a higher market value. We know that wars both small and large have been fought over land and water rights - recall any of the endless cowboy movies about cattle ranchers versus farmers? Well, now the geopolitical land grab is being driven in part by the very basic need for water for food production and the place, as usual, that is rich in land and water is Africa. The buying programs of the UK and Saudi Arabia are the focus of the article linked below. But China, Russia, the US and most of the former colonizing nations of Europe are involved in one way or another in similar encroachments around the continent.

How food and water are driving a 21st-century African land grab

22 November 2011

CSPAN3 airs ASALH Annual Convention's Saturday Luncheon-African American Burial Grounds: Sacred Space Reclaimed, Panel Session (featuring Michael Blakey, Shawn Utsey, Edna Medford, Ana Edwards) over the Thanksgiving holiday
Nov 24 at 3pm & 11pm
Nov 25 at 7am
Nov 27 at 1am & 2pm

FILM: "Until the Well Runs Dry" 2nd screening at the Main Branch Richmond Public Library, 101 E. Franklin St., Friday Dec. 2nd at 6:30 pm.

14 November 2011

Today on DefendersLIVE: Interview with Ed Ayres, UR president, Future of RIchmond's Past chair, 19th Century Guy on public radio's Back Story - discussing the Sesquecentennial and other things. Live on WRIR.org and 97.3 FM at Noon

09 November 2011

Wednesday, November 9th at 7 p.m. for the premiere of "All Night, All Day", a short documentary about the period of time between OccupyRichmond's march to Kanawha Plaza and the raid on their camp at 1 a.m. on Halloween morning. Created by Kontra. Gallery 5 is located at 200 W. Marshall Street, Richmond VA, 23220. Afterwards the group plans to re-occupy Richmond by occupying Monroe Park.
ALWAYS FREE - the African American Studies Community Course, Wednesdays at Richmond Public Library, 6:30-8:30 pm. Tonight: Franz Fanon and Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Decolonizing the African Mind: Practical Approaches to Solving Problems of Psychological Oppression
featuring Mark Bolden, Ph.D. Psychologist, Denver Public Schools and Private Consultant, Loyola Marymount University

31 October 2011

Police break up Occupy RIchmond - 9 arrested

Dear friends,

This morning shortly after 1 am, Richmond police raided Occupy Richmond at Kanawha Plaza. Horses, SWAT, fire trucks, the whole nine yards. There were no reported injuries, but nine people were arrested. The park is now closed, taped off with yellow caution tape and guarded by police. A General Assembly was scheduled for 11 am - about 10 minutes ago. I'm on my way there now.

I visited  Kanawha about 7:50 this morning and spoke with several homeless people who were there during the raid. I also visited the office of the chief magistrate at Richmond Police Headquarters, stopped by Manchester Courthouse and just got off the phone with the Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney's office, trying to get information about those were arrested.

From what I've been told, nine people were arrested. All were charged with (1) refusing to leave property after being told to leave, a state Class One misdemeanor that carries up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine; and (2) being in a public park after dark, a violation of the City Code.

I was told by a sheriff's deputy that the nine arrested people were arraigned before a magistrate this morning by videoconference while they were still in the police lock-up on 9th Street. Four were released on personal recognizance, five were held without bond, evidently because they indicated, or the magistrate concluded, that they intended to go back to the park.

The only two people I know for sure who were arrested and held without bond are Sur Williams and Farid Alan Schintzius, both of whom have played selfless roles in the occupation. Alan's court date is set for Nov. 29, which may be the same date for all five who are still being held.

The five who are still detained will likely be moved to the City Jail this morning.

This information will go out today at noon on the DefendersLIVE! radio program on WRIR radio, 97.3 FM (www.wrir.org). I'll also be speaking tomorrow from noon to 1 pm on WCLM, 1450 am (www.wclmradioonline.com) and will pass along any new information we receive and can verify.

There was supposed to be a general assembly today at Kanawah at 11 am. I'll stop by to see if that's still happening. 

If anyone has any new information, I would appreciate your calling or e-mailing me at (804) 644-5834 or DefendersFJE@hotmail.com. The Defenders will do all we can to support those who have been arrested, as well as Occupy Richmond as a whole.

in Solidarity,


10 October 2011

Bring flowers - bring candles - a chair and your creative expressions on paper to share at the community reclamation celebration for Gabriel's Rebellion and Richmond's African Burial Ground. http://ping.fm/Cgldx

04 October 2011

October 10 Flier for printing

Be sure to adjust your printer settings to ensure 8.5x11 (letter size) output:

21 September 2011

VIGIL for Troy Davis TONIGHT at 7pm

Tonight the state of Georgia plans to execute an innocent man, Troy Davis. Silence is acceptance. Please do your best to support every action in Virginia opposing this racist, premeditated state murder. Below is some information from Virginians Against the Death Penalty.
Action Alert
Dear Members,
Many of you are aware and concerned about the scheduled execution in Georgia tonight at 7 p.m. of Troy Davis, a man with a strong claim to innocence.  Those looking to attend a vigil for Mr. Davis and Mark MacPhail, the man he was convicted of killing, should be aware that there will be vigils in Richmond, Newport News, and Washington DC this evening.  Please see the information below for specific information on the times and locations:
Richmond: Meet at Broad and Belvidere at 6pm on Wednesday September 21st. Please bring signs and banners in support of Troy Davis if you can.  Around 6:45 we will walk down Belvidere to Monroe Park (the corner of Main and Belvidere) to hold a vigil for Troy Davis at 7pm.
Newport News: Vigil begins at 6:45 pm at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, 100 Harpersville Rd. Newport News, Va. 23606.  Please contact Social Ministry Coordinator Tina M.Wandersee at 757-595-0385 ext. 118 for more information.
Washington DC: Gather at 6pm at Vernon Square, across from the DC Convention Center where the Congressional Black Caucus is holding its annual convention in order to involve as many of those leaders as possible.
 *If you have not already done so, please sign the petition against Troy Davis’s execution by clicking here.

11 September 2011

WRIR's fund drive keep's DefendersLIVE on the air

WRIR's fall fund drive runs from Sep. 16-25 and as the home station of DefendersLIVE, I'd like to ask that you consider supporting the station: Donate online, in person (1621-B W. Broad St. 23220) or by phone (804-622-9747).

27 August 2011

City Opens 2 Emergency Shelters

The City of Richmond is currently being impacted by Hurricane Irene. The National Weather Service in Wakefield, VA has forecasted up to 5 inches of rain for the eastern portions of the city and up to 4 inches to the western portions of the city. The City is forecasted to receive sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph, through early Sunday morning, with gusts of 50 mph.

The City will open two emergency shelters at noon today for City residents. Shelter locations are the Arthur Ashe Center, 3001 North Boulevard, and Huguenot High School, 7945 Forest Hill Avenue. Both shelters will remain open throughout the night with water, snacks and dinner being provided. Residents should bring their medications and essential items for infants and special care family members as needed for overnight sheltering. Pets with the exception of service animals are not allowed. Residents who would like to provide shelter for their pets can do so by calling the City’s Emergency Operations center at 254-1191. Pets will be sheltered at Richmond Animal Care and Control, 1600 Chamberlayne Avenue.

Although mass evacuations do not appear to be necessary, City officials may decide some area evacuations are necessary. For up-to-date information and additional instructions during the storm, please visit www.Richmondgov.com, follow the City on Twitter @CityRichmondVA), and tune into local radio and television stations.

16 June 2011


No Slave Trail Commission Meeting in August. July 22 press release announces commission has 5 open seats, APPLICATIONS due September 1.
Community Organizing Committee meeting for August to be announced.
July 25: DefendersLIVE features new issue of Virginia Defender with guest, editor Phil Wilayto - listen online at WRIR.org or by radio at 97.3 lp FM, 12noon Mondays (follow on facebook, too)

August 13: Millions March in Harlem
August 19-21: Black Freedom Weekend / Happily Natural Day
August 20-21: Down Home Family Reunion
August 20: Nationwide Day of Action on The Other Wars
August 30: Gabriel's Rebellion Day - 207th anniversary of the planned date for this insurrection.

SAVE THE DATE: October 10, 2011 - A special celebration for Richmond's African Burial Ground at this year's commemoration!

01 June 2011

City Cooling Shelters Open June 1

The city will open three cooling shelters to assist residents with today’s high temperatures. City cooling shelters are opened when the temperature and/or heat index reaches or exceeds the 95 degree mark. City cooling shelters will open from noon to 5 p.m. today and are located at:

            ● Southside Community Center, 4100 Hull Street Road
            ● Department of Social Services, 900 East Marshall Street
            ● East District Center, 701 North 25th Street

Bottled water will be available, but food will not be provided. Pets, with the exception of service animals, are not allowed.

All residents should take measures to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged exposure to the heat during the day.

For more information regarding cooling services, residents can contact the Department of Social Services Fuel Assistance Office at (804) 646-7046. Elderly residents with heat related issues can contact the Adult Protective Service Unit at (804) 646-7367. In the event of a heat related emergency, please call 9-1-1.

30 May 2011

Statement by the Four African Burial Ground Advocates

"Wednesday, May 25, 2011, was a day of victory for us and the community. We wish to thank whatever higher power we believe in, our lawyer, Steve Benjamin, and the community for showing up at the Manchester Courthouse to support us. The courtroom was filled to capacity with supporters. It was awesome to see the room empty out when we left. We also thank those who were not able to come but were there in spirit.

To Virginia Commonwealth University, we say that “actions speak louder than words.” A true good-faith gesture would be to donate $123,000 to be used for the development of the African Burial Ground. This is the amount VCU is saving because of the generosity of several companies that are donating their time, energy and equipment to remove the asphalt from the African Burial Ground at no cost. In addition, VCU should donate all the parking fees they collected over the past three years to the African Burial Ground. That money was to recover the cost of purchasing the land, but the cost has now been covered by the General Assembly.

To the Slave Trail Commission, we say the Richmond African Burial Ground Community Organizing Committee is ready and willing to interact with them in a positive manner. Our goals are to promote continued community input in regard to decisions affecting how the African Burial Ground is to be memorialized and to promote the principle that any related contracts and jobs should go first to the African-American community.

To the community, we say please continue to join us in deciding how the African Burial Ground should be memorialized. Your input is so important. Our meetings are held on the first Sunday of each month from 4-6 p.m. Do come out. To receive meeting notices, please send your name, phone number and/or email address to: Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor at , or call (804) 347-3598.

Again, thanks so much to everyone for supporting us. We really appreciate it.

Donnell C. Brantley
Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan
Autumn Barret
Phil Wilayto

17 April 2011

Defenders at UNAC April 9 AntiWar Demonstration

Three members of the Defenders made the 3am/Apr 9 - 1am/Apr 10 drive from Richmond to New York City and back again to participate in the only national anti-war demonstration to take place this year. Click "Anti-War" link above to see a slide show of the 2 rallies and march in NY with 10,000 people participating. A sister demo was held on April 10 in San Francisco.

15 April 2011

"Four Arrested for Blocking VCU Parking Lot"

Tuesday, April 12, community advocates succeeded in shutting down the VCU parking lot that continues to desecrate Richmond's African Burial Ground! For an hour and a half no cars were allowed to park on this sacred site. Now we appeal to you to support the right to defend the Burial Ground by attending our trial, scheduled for 10 am, Wednesday, May 25, at Richmond General District Court, 920 Hull St., Richmond, VA 23224.

News Coverage:
"Four arrested for blocking VCU parking lot" 4/13/11

29 March 2011

Listen to Wrap Up of April 3 Emancipation Day commemoration

Today at Noon, DefendersLIVE: a wrap up of Sunday, April 3rd's Emancipation Day celebration and Open Mic rally and report back from the Richmond African Burial Ground Community Organizing Committee.Listen online at wrir.org or on the radio at 97.3 FM.

"... think back to the day the history books still refer to as the "Fall of Richmond." Confederate troops had fled the city, setting fires as they retreated. Thick, dark clouds billowed up to the sky. Men, women and children, Bklack and White, free and slave alike, came out onto the streets to see what would happen next.
   And then came the Black troops, marking and riding into the capitol of the Confederacy. 

   Richmond didn't "fall" -- it was liberated."

-excerpt from 2001 booklet, "They Marched Into Richmond, a brief tribute to the struggle against slavery, including the participation of black union soldiers in the defeat of confederate forces in Richmond, Va."

28 February 2011

Keeping up...

DefendersLIVE today at 2pm online at www.WRIR.org
Co-Host Phil Wilayto is joined by Host Ana Edwards calling in from Rhode Island for an update important upcoming events and report on Sunday's meeting of the Richmond African Burial Ground Community Organizing Committee.

21 February 2011

As heard on DefendersLIVE / WRIR

Richmond's Slave Trail Commission meets
the first Thursday of every month at 4pm
East District Initiative Center
701 North 25th Street, Church Hill
Richmond, VA 23223-6539
(804) 646-4599

NEXT MEETING: March 3, 2011, 4pm