Good morning, RVA! It's 57 °F, and we’ve got another excellent day lined up. It’s Friday, the sun’s out, and the temperatures are in the mid 70s—take a minute to enjoy.
Ned Oliver says the eyerolly-named group, the CSA II: The New Confederate States of America, will hold a rally at the Lee statue on September 16th despite it being against the law. This seems fairly straight forward: Police should declare whatever assembly they end up with unlawful, tell everyone to go home, and arrest those that do not. What is even the point of the permitting process or the Governor’s executive order temporarily banning rallies at the monument if those things are not enforced? And if you think groups like this are about anything other than white supremacy, you can read this short piece by Patrick Wilson about the Reconciliation Statue being vandalized with a “Confederate states forever” sticker. The Reconciliation Statue!
I’m sure you saw the pictures of the INDECLINE installation in Bryan Park yesterday. If not, Ned Oliver took a couple of photos. The two best things I’ve read (so far) about this are from Free Egunfemi at Untold RVA and Michael Paul Williams at the RTD. The former said, “Once again, presumptuous, patriarchal self-motivated white folks comprehending the least are doing the most.” The latter said, “There’s nothing funny about a lynching.”
Tom Perriello has a column in the RTD about where do we go from here? His suggestion is a statewide Truth and Reconcilliation Commission to figure out “systematic, nonpartisan public processes for establishing a common understanding of our history, evaluating how we publicly memorialize that history and tackling policy reforms that address the painful legacies of our past.” This would be like the Monument Avenue Commission, but with a much, much larger scope and authority. I’m into it!
This correspondent of the day advocates for tearing down the Harry F. Byrd statue on the capitol grounds—which I 100% agree with. Although he doesn’t think so, the arguments he gives for bringing this statue down are the same for bringing down Confederate statues: “Those statues were put up with the specific intent of intimidating black citizens and declaring the racist defiance of those in power at the time.” And in a M. Night Shyamalan-sized twist: This correspondent of the day is...KEN CUCCINELLI???
Saraya Wintersmith livetweeted last night’s gubernatorial debate at Virginia Union. You should scroll through her feed to get a feel for some of the questions and answers.
One of my favorite Richmond food festivals, the Armenian Food Festival, now in its 59th year, begins today. Go get some of those hye burgers and paklava!
Amazon has put out an RFP for their second headquarters (PDF). I’d like you to notice that one of their core site requirements is access to mass transit. Also note that they’ve paid $43 million into Seattle’s transit system, which is just about an entire year of GRTC’s operating budget. As you can imagine, the opportunity to snag up to 50,000 jobs has mayors across the nation (including our own) signing up for what feels a lot like Mayoral Hunger Games. May the odds be ever in your favor, mayors!
- Kickers knocked off Orlando, 0-2,
- Spiders take on #25 Colgate at 1:00 PM on Saturday.
- #18 Hokies host Delaware at 3:30 PM.
- Wahoos welcome Indiana to Charlottesville, also at 3:30 PM.
- Nats beat the Phils, 4-3, and look to do it again tonight at 7:05 PM.
This morning's patron longread!
From Patron Phil comes this longread by Ta-nehisi Coates in the Atlantic. It’s long, sad, hard to read, and filled with things to think about.
To accept that the bloody heirloom remains potent even now, some five decades after Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on a Memphis balcony—even after a black president; indeed, strengthened by the fact of that black president—is to accept that racism remains, as it has since 1776, at the heart of this country’s political life. The idea of acceptance frustrates the left. The left would much rather have a discussion about class struggles, which might entice the white working masses, instead of about the racist struggles that those same masses have historically been the agents and beneficiaries of. Moreover, to accept that whiteness brought us Donald Trump is to accept whiteness as an existential danger to the country and the world. But if the broad and remarkable white support for Donald Trump can be reduced to the righteous anger of a noble class of smallville firefighters and evangelicals, mocked by Brooklyn hipsters and womanist professors into voting against their interests, then the threat of racism and whiteness, the threat of the heirloom, can be dismissed. Consciences can be eased; no deeper existential reckoning is required.
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This morning's longread
I love concepting big, underused streets because it gives folks the chance to see how much better our cities could be without spending a ton of money pouring concrete. Someone should do this to a bunch of spots in Richmond.
How can strips of asphalt become something transformative? Earlier this year, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) released the Global Street Design Guide, a compendium of innovative case studies from more than 70 countries across the globe, addressing everything from bus-rapid transit to bike lanes, parklets to pedestrian plazas. Curbed applied these ideas to five different U.S. cities, using some of the concepts sketched out in the book as starting points to reimagine each intersection or street. Not every before-and-after scenario may be completely feasible, but each offers a vision of how designers can reclaim and repurpose our ever-present roadways.