Community members, advocates organizers and activists joined the Richmond Peace Education Center in a spirit of liberation and empowerment to stand united on the International Day of Peace. We celebrated RVA’s rich diversity by standing against White supremacy, systemic racism and all forms of oppression. Speakers included Princess Blanding, from Justice and Reformation for Marcus-David Peters, Rebecca Keel of RISE for Youth, Seema Sked from Fight the Muslim Ban, Lacette Cross of Black Pride RVA and more.
At the Maggie Lena Walker Memorial Plaza, I directed attention to racial injustices in Virginia over history. Richmond is the former capital of the Confederacy. A racist act of terrorism happened an hour away from where we are standing. Richmond pushes Black kids out of school and incarcerates them at alarming rates. A selfless, caring Black teacher named Marcus David Peters, loved by his students, was shot to death by a police officer as he suffered a mental breakdown, here in Richmond.
Black girls in Richmond go missing, become victims of gun violence and they never get the attention the attention they deserve. An 18-year-old Black girl named Latifa Hudnall who was about to graduate from high school was shot dead, here in Richmond. A student named Krissia Henderson who was about to go into her second year of college was shot on Hull St.
How many more Black girls in Virginia will go missing and get shot dead for America to to stop devaluing our lives? Instead of criminalizing racial injustice and women, we are criminalized for calling it out.
Coming together as a collective doesn’t mean being colorblind and ignoring our identities to feel more comfortable. People need to see us, celebrate us for who we are and show that they uplift our voices and our lives through their actions.