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Report-Back: The murder trial of Ashley Williams began this morning

The murder trial of Ashley Williams began this morning in Richmond circuit court, John Marshals Courts Builiding, 400 N. Marshall St.

Ms. William is the single, poor, 27-year old, African American mother charged with deliberately neglecting her youngest child D’Shawn, allowing him to starve to death. D’Shawn died on May 30, 2009, and it is only because of intense community interest in the case that the prosecution of Ms. Williams was delayed until today. Members of the family and the community have packed virtually every court hearing over the last several years.

The previous judge recused himself without comment, and the trial is being presided over by a visiting jurist, Judge Alfred B. Swersky. The morning was taken up by jury selection. The composition of the 12 jurors and 2 alternates is 8 whites, 6 African American, and includes 5 white men, 3 white women, 3 Black men and 3 Black women. After jury selection and a short break, opening statements were made. The 2 sides presented diam…

Happenings

MON., March 4 - DefendersLIVE on WRIR 97.3 fm - Noon: Ashby Anderson, jazz pianist, composer and founder of the Muse Creative Workspace in Shockoe Bottom discusses the making of the Richmond History Suite and the role of music in struggle, memory and place-making. Listen to this interview at DefendersLIVEradio.blogspot.com/listen

March 7 - 29 - The 60-day public comment period on TRAP (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) is now open. The VA Board of Health will make their third and final vote on April 12, and will be hearing public comments in the form of writing, phone calls, and in person hearings from now until March 29th. There are two scheduled public comment periods on March 7 & 12. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/events/495571623823452/

MON, March 11 - “Remembering Fukushima ~ No Nukes ~ Renewable Energy Rally- “We want to let Dominion Virginia Power know that their continued use of nuclear power with it's production of toxic forever nuclear waste is unaccep…

UNAC Statement on US Military Intervention in AFRICA

UPDATE 27 January 2013: The day the statement below was being released, the insurgent forces of the northern Mali called an end to their ceasefire and attacked the city of Douentza in central eastern Mali and quickly moved into Konna, a town further west that put them closer to the  country's second-largest airstrip strategically located in Sevare very close to Mopti. This prompted the long ready intervention of French troops which began helicopter airstrikes on January 12, launching the influx of nearly 3,700 French troops and 2,000 African troops with the expectation that up to 5,700 African troops will be in Mali in the very near future. While the northern forces seem to be in retreat, they have the territorial savvy to be able to retreat, disperse, regroup and come again. The US, which is currently transporting French troops and materiel to Bamako Senou Airport for deployment in the north, obviously providing key logistical and intelligence support for France's interventio…

Virginia People's Assembly 2013 in 3 Days!

Saturday, January 5, 2013 Wesley Memorial Church 1720 Midlothian Turnpike  Visit vapeoplesaassembly.org for details. WHAT IS THE VPA? The Virginia People's Assembly is an annual gathering of people from across Virginia who are engaged in a broad range of struggles. We are union members, community activists, prisoner advocates, immigrants, students, women, antiwar organizers, veterans, members of the Occupy Wall Street movement and the LBGTQ community – all working and fighting to win justice for our communities and constituencies. At the VPA, we find new friends and allies. We explain the issues we are involved in and hear about the struggles of others. Together we learn that the thing we hold in common – a burning desire for a better life for ourselves, our children and our communities – is far greater than anything we are told must divide us.

The 2013 VPA will be the fifth time we have come together to strengthen this movement for Jobs, Peace and Justice. This year, we want to m…