Good morning, RVA! It's 41 °F, and it looks like the rain has finished up, leaving us with a cool, breezy, and partly cloudy day. Do you think we have one good snow left in us, or are we done for the year?
I know you’re probably tired of reading about and thinking about Virginia’s Executive Branch Crisis, well, too bad. Read this excellent piece in the Virginia Mercury by Samantha Willis about history, blackface, sexual violence, repentance, and consequence—especially if, like me, you’re privileged enough to have taken a break from reading and thinking about racism and sexual violence over the last couple of days. Lots of folks cannot. If you read one thing this morning make it this one.
Michael Martz at the Richmond Times-Dispatch describes the current environment at the General Assembly as everyone works to get a dang budget passed 💸. The continual question I have lately, which this piece hints at but doesn’t fully answer, is how has Virginia’s Executive Branch Crisis changed the balance of power down at the Capitol? I just don’t know enough about state politics and strategy to know if the current concessions and compromises made by each side—which we’ll learn more about later today apparently—have shifted since all this garbage began almost two weeks ago. Has someone written about this and I just missed it?
Actually, table that last question, which is (stupidly) about politics and not about policy. Instead, take a minute to dig into this post from the Commonwealth Institute about the racial equity impact of the proposed House and Senate budgets. Palace intrigue is often more compelling than actual policy discussions, but getting sucked into political strategy is usually a waste of time and a distraction from the progress or harm being made by actual legislation. I forget this all the time, and it’s nice to have folks in town writing in a sufficiently wonky manner to remind me.
Michael Paul Williams has the word from Lillie Estes’s memorial service. It ends with a quote from Supervisor Nelson’s eulogy: “She led and cleared the way. We’ve just got to keep on moving.”
The Virginia Mercury’s Mechelle Hankerson has a redistricting update, which includes...Arnold Schwarzenegger? As a supporter of redistricting reform, and implementer of reforms in his own state, he surely must say “Gerrymandering must be terminated!” a ton, right?
Today from 11:00 AM–12:00 PM at the Sarah Garland Jones Center (2600 Nine Mile Road), you can attend the third and penultimate community meeting to give the Mayor’s administration some feedback on what you’re looking for in the next police chief. The City hopes to find and hire a candidate by June.
This morning's longread
From William J. Barber II in the Washington Post comes this powerful piece about what real repentance looks like.
Scapegoating politicians who are caught in the act of interpersonal racism will not address the fundamental issue of systemic racism. We have to talk about policy. But we also have to talk about trust and power. If white people in political leadership are truly repentant, they will listen to black and other marginalized people in our society. They will confess that they have sinned and demonstrate their willingness to listen and learn by following and supporting the leadership of others. To confess past mistakes while continuing to insist that you are still best suited to lead because of your experience is itself a subtle form of white supremacy. At the same time, we cannot allow political enemies of Virginia’s governor to call for his resignation over a photo when they continue themselves to vote for the policies of white supremacy. If anyone wants to call for the governor’s resignation, they should also call for the resignation of anyone who has supported racist voter suppression or policies that have a disparate impact on communities of color.
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