UNSILENT SOUNDS UNWELCOME
A family in Virginia Beach has been terrorized for months by the actions of an obnoxious neighbor–with slurs, monkey noises, even strobe lights–and the police say they can do nothing to stop it. The woman says the n-word has been repeated in the music so often that her young son has asked her what it means.
Virginia Beach police say the neighbor’s actions “did not rise to a level that Virginia law defines as criminal behavior.” The outrage has heightened after a clip posted to Twitter of the lights, slurs, and noises being played at the home was viewed nearly 2 million times. The targeted family has received welcome support from other neighbors.
The police may not act, but Virginia’s Attorney General vowed he will, condemning the conduct, saying it was “unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Virginia.” The Virginia Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights has been in touch with the family and is working to “put a stop to the alleged abuse.”
PETERSBURG BANS FIREARM CARRY IN PUBLIC
Petersburg, VA, will no longer allow firearms to be carried in any public areas within the city.
As of July 1, 2021, localities in Virginia were given the power to enact local ordinances forbidding firearms on government property. The City Council heard from two residents at the initial public hearing on July 20 who were against enacting a gun control ordinance. According to the City Attorney, the law as written is nearly identical to the Virginia State Code, adding that there may be future issues with enforcing the law. Yet the City Council voted unanimously for the ban. Violation of the new ordinance is equal to a class one misdemeanor, which carries the possibility of a 12-month jail sentence and up to a $1,000 fine.
Just a little bit safer for all.
ROANOKE REMOVES PIX OF FORMER MAYORS–ALL WHITE MEN
The Roanoke city manager has removed an entire hallway hung with mayoral portraits at the Taylor Municipal Building–all of white men. “It is my feeling,” he told the city council, “that the current image does not align with our efforts at being welcoming or supporting diversity and inclusion.” Replacing the mayoral gallery is an art installation intended to highlight population diversity, which kicks off Welcoming Week, a celebration to connect people of all backgrounds.
The manager has been considering this change for about 18 months, and held discussions with a wide range of constituent groups–including elected leaders and staff.
Roanoke had no Confederate statues, but decided last year not to reset its 60-year-old Lee monument after it was deliberately pulled down by a man who said he wanted to prevent civil strife in Roanoke. (He is charged with destroying a monument.) The Lee monument will be replaced with a marker recognizing Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman who contributed cancer cells to important medical research and who once lived in Roanoke. In another change, Roanoke renamed Stonewall Jackson Middle School as John P. Fishwick Middle School (in 2018).
After the mayoral portraits were removed, Roanoke officials entrusted the bare-walled corridor to the Roanoke Arts Commission, which organized the exhibit “Welcome to Roanoke: Images of a Compassionate, Diverse and Welcoming Community.” It features colorful works by 15 artists, the youngest of whom is 15 years old.
Replacing and renewing public images is not as difficult as believed.