Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: Massive statue, personal pronouns, and Arthur Ashe Boulevard

Good morning, RVA! It's 72 °F, and today looks beautiful. With highs in the mid 80s and no real chance of rain, make sure you spend some time outside taking it all in. This weekend’s weather looks pretty great, too.

Water cooler

This is incredible news: The VMFA will install a massive Kehinde Wiley statue, Rumors of War, at the entrance to the museum this coming December. You probably saw Wiley’s work at the VMFA in 2016, or have seen the official presidential portrait he did of Barack Obama. This new work “is the artist’s direct response to the ubiquitous Confederate sculptures that populate the United States, particularly in the South. Sitting astride a massive horse in a striking pose, Wiley’s young, African-American subject is dressed in urban streetwear.” The statue will debut in Times Square on September 27th before heading to its permanent home in Richmond. What a big deal, and what awesome news!

Look at this! The Richmond Times-Dispatch has interviews with and portraits of five Richmonders who identify as nonbinary (words by Colleen Curran and photos by Daniel Sangjib). Most readers of this email will be like, yeah, duh, but the audience of the Richmond Times-Dispatch is...different...than the audience of Good Morning, RVA. Even making the decision to run a piece like this and taking the time to educate their readers on gender seems like a big move for the paper.

Michael Schwartz at Richmond BizSense says that C.F. Sauer Co. will be sold to a private equity firm, ending 132 years of family ownership. According to Schwartz, this sale basically happened because Duke’s Mayonnaise is delicious and impossible to ignore. I EXPECT THAT IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE, NEW OWNERS.

Put a pin in this story by Richmond BizSense’s Mike Platania about VCU Health buying 15 acres out by Broad & Parham. This is an obvious location for a westward expansion of the Pulse further into Henrico—something I can maybe even imagine VCU supporting with actual money one day. Just eyeballing the map, I think you’d need to add three to four stations to what we’ve got now to get all the way out to Parham. There are, of course, no real plans to do anything like this (yet), but it is something the region could pull off pretty quickly and easily should we decide to do so. It just takes some political courage (and a couple million bucks).

This guest column in the Virginia Mercury by Queen Zaria Rafiqa Shabazz does a good job at showing how much environmental justice work the State of Virginia has left to do. Typically—and directly because of outright racism or indirectly because of complex, systemic racism—the neighborhoods with the highest temperatures, worst air quality, most lead in the water, nearest to highways are usually neighborhoods where people of color live. When the Governor talks about working on racial reconciliation for the rest of his term, making serious progress towards environmental justice is an easy place to start.

The story is mostly in the headline with this one from Patrick Wilson at the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Contrary to online posts, Del. Chris Peace is not running as an independent 💸.” According to Wilson, state election officials still don’t have an official candidate from the Republic Party of Virginia in this race.

The Arthur Ashe Boulevard Celebration continues tonight! We’ve got Tennis Under the Lights, an actual tennis competition that folks can watch at the Byrd Park tennis courts, and a bowling situation at River City Roll. Tomorrow, the unveiling ceremony with Rep. John Lewis takes place from 11:00 AM–12:30 PM at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture; members of the Congressional Black Caucus will meet and discuss the State of Black America from 2:00–4:00 PM (also at the museum); there’s a community celebration at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center from 1:00–5:00 PM; and an after party at the Graduate. Lots of stuff going on!

This morning's longread

The Man Who Put Down Clay

Does this type of essay have a name? Something that’s about one thing, but really about the author’s relationship with their family and how that relationship impacts their own worldview? Anyway, I enjoyed reading this.

This is how my father came to wrist-wrestle one of history’s greatest athletes. The details of the event have been extinguished with time, perhaps because I only ever half-listened but more likely because my father harped on what he thought mattered: that he’d won. “I think Clay was a little embarrassed, getting beat so easy,” he’d say at the end of a story he told me every time we saw each other. I’d raise my eyebrows in feigned amazement, and he’d smile at me with the patronizing greediness of someone who knows a secret about you that you don’t yet know.

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Good morning, RVA: Arthur Ashe Boulevard, happy birthday Pulse!, and affordable housing meetings

Good morning, RVA: Arthur Ashe Boulevard, another 5th District candidate, and diversifying the brewery crowd