REPARATIONS A REALITY IN VIRGINIA
Discussed widely as an idea, the first reparations checks have now been issued, by Virginia Theological Seminary to descendants of Blacks, some enslaved, who worked on the campus during the eras of slavery, Reconstruction, and segregation.
One recipient, age 78, grew up in Alexandria, in the shadow of the Virginia Theological Seminary campus. Her family has long-standing connections to the seminary, and she recently received a check for about $2,100 from VTS. The money was part of a first round of annual reparations checks. Her grandfather had worked as a waiter at VTS about 1910, according to the institution’s records. She said her late grandfather also worked there, too, in the 1920s.
The seminary’s reparations program, funded with a $1.7-million endowment established by the Episcopal seminary in 2019, is one of the first of its kind. The seminary is using income from the endowment to make annual payments to direct descendants of Black people who worked on the campus during the era of segregation under Jim Crow laws.
The university engaged historians and genealogists to identify Black workers at the campus and their descendants. The seminary has so far identified 35 eligible descendants, from eight different families, and has distributed checks to 15.
The recipient said her grandfather would have been pleased. “His words would be, ‘Well, praise the Lord, it’s about time. Our community has been through a lot.”
HATE FINDS A HOME IN VIRGINIA
Flyers with anti-Semitic propaganda targeting Fairfax County school board members were found last week by a resident of Fairfax Station. The flyers say that they were distributed by the Loyal White Knights, a part of the Ku Klux Klan, and addressed board members as “Jew-inspired, communist, queer-loving sex fiends.” Several school board members spoke out about the flyers at a recent school board meeting. “Those messages were targeted to all of us,” said the Springfield District representative.
In a statement, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors called the flyers “disgusting and alarming.” The associate director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington issued a statement condemning the flyers, saying “We are horrified at this expression of hate and at the targeting of elected officials. We note the particular insidiousness of targeting a district that is represented by a Jewish school board member who has been subjected to anti-Semitic rhetoric on previous occasions. Our leaders should not have to endure threats of this kind and such virulent hate has no place in our community.” Fairfax County police say the matter is being investigated.
“Hate has no home here”? Apparently, sometimes it does.
LOCAL TEENS SEEKTO ‘FISH ALL 50’
Two Northern Virginia teens from Oakton who were to have started at Clemson University last fall before COVID hit, made a change in plans: take a gap year and attempt to catch the state fish in all 50 US states, a Guinness shoo in. Beginning last August, they have caught 46 of the 50, while becoming local celebrities in many of the states where they visited. Stories about the boys have shown up on local radio and in print, often with photos –and of the locally caught fish. They made good use of an app called–of course–fishbrain.
They even have a blog that captures their day-to-day activities [https://www.fishallfifty.us/]. They discovered, for example, that Indiana has no official state fish! Undeterred, they decided that catching a bass would be a safe bet, being one of the most popular sportfish in the country. The trip has also afforded the pair a chance to see parts of the country that they had never visited. An excerpt from their blog: “Maine was everything we expected from this trip. Lots of time on the road, helpful fishing community, beautiful rivers, lakes and skies, and the occasional moose.”
Not a bad way to spend an off year!
COP TO COP PROFESSIONAL COURTESY–FOR CHILD PORN
Events of the past year have been more than sufficient to demonstrate that police officers are to often not the stalwarts of community standards that we would like to believe. The Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney is reviewing more than a dozen active cases and past convictions involving the testimony of a City of Manassas police detective after prosecutors learned she was disciplined for misconduct in connection with a case involving a federal border patrol officer facing charges of child pornography. The 10-year veteran has since resigned.
The border patrol officer was arrested last August by the multi-jurisdictional Northern Virginia-D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, on which the Manassas detective served. She is said to have developed a personal relationship with the spouse of the border patrol officer, and provided the officer with religious counseling services for pornography addiction through her church, according to an internal City of Manassas Police Department memorandum obtained by the Prince William Times.
The Manassas detective made representations that the Virginia attorney general’s office “did not wish to prosecute” and offered “prosecutorial promises,” according to a memo authored by a Manassas investigator. As a result of these compromising actions, the Virginia Attorney General’s office would “no longer prosecute the cases involving the detective, as she was “too personally involved.” The detective defended her conduct asserting she was “providing ‘community service to a family in crisis utilizing [crisis intervention team] skills.”
No problem, boss; I’ll handle it myself.