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2017-1-24

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Emma Ruth Brewer

Emma Ruth Brewer, 81, of Emporia, passed away Sunday, January 22, 2017. She was preceded in death by a sister, Edna Delatte and Ernest “Buck” Beatty. Mrs. Brewer is survived by her husband, Willie J. Brewer; three daughters, Sherry High of Greensboro, NC, Teresa Brewer and Billie Jo Brewer, both of Emporia; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; two sisters, Lois Mizell and Joyce Tomlin and a number of nieces and nephews. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 25 at Owen Funeral Home, 303 S. Halifax Rd, Jarratt, Virginia. Interment will follow at Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Crater Community Hospice, 3916 South Crater Rd, Petersburg, Virginia 23805 or to The Alzheimer’s Association, 4600 Cox Rd, # 130, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.owenfh.com.

It’s a Job to Live on $7.25 an Hour

By Haley Winn, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Athena Jones is the first person her clients see at the start of the day. She gets them out of bed, changes their clothes and makes them breakfast. Her workday consists of providing emotional and physical support, assisting clients with bathing and bathroom visits, and helping them be as independent as possible.

As a home-care worker, this is Jones’ job. She does it for minimum wage – $7.25 an hour.

An advocate for people who struggle to live on minimum wage, Jones traveled from Portsmouth to Richmond this week to speak to legislators about bills to raise the state minimum wage above the federally mandated rate. She said a raise would help her save money and give back to her community.

Jones said she can’t make ends meet on her salary as a home-care worker, so she has taken on a second job as a community organizer. When she is not caring for her clients, she is helping Portsmouth residents register to vote or solve neighborhood problems.

People at the bottom of the pay scale, Jones said, must make choices that others don’t – like deciding between paying the electricity bill and requesting an extension on their gas bill.

A single woman in her 40s, Jones lives a frugal lifestyle. She doesn’t have a car, and vacations aren’t a luxury she can afford. (She has gone 10 years without one.) Her biggest expenses are utilities and medical bills – expenses that she said keep her from “exhaling financially.”

Jones said living on minimum wage is like having a “cloud of need” hovering overhead, and it never seems to go away.

Others may argue that people living on minimum wage “need to pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” Jones said. But she added: “What if there isn’t a bootstrap? What if there aren’t shoes? Then what are you supposed to do?”

David Broder, president of the Virginia 512 local of the Service Employees International Union, supports workers like Jones.

“Raising the minimum wage means Virginia families will have more money to grow the economy and help their kids have a better future,” Broder said. “No one who works full time should be forced to live in poverty because of low wages. As states and localities across the country raise the minimum wage for millions of Americans, it’s past time that Virginia did the same.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 29 stateshave raised their minimum wage above $7.25 per hour. Some members of the General Assembly want Virginia to join the list.

Three bills before the House of Delegates would boost the minimum wage in Virginia. They are:

  • HB 2309, sponsored by Del. Marcus Simon, D-Falls Church. It would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour this July and eventually to $15 per hour by 2019.
  • HB 1444, sponsored by Del. Sam Rasoul, D-Roanoke, and 18 other Democrats. It would increase the minimum wage to $10 per hour this July 1 and then gradually to $15 per hour by 2021.
  • HB 1771, sponsored by Del. Kenneth Plum, D-Reston, and 17 other Democrats. It would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 on Jan. 1, 2018. Under the legislation, beginning in 2020, Virginia’s minimum wage would be adjusted every two years to reflect increases in the consumer price index.

Those bills face an uphill battle. The Senate already has killed two bills aimed at raising the minimum wage.

Opponents of boosting the minimum wage fear that such laws will put a burden on businesses, prompting employers to lay off workers and raise prices. Indeed, that is what business representatives told the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee on Monday before the panel spiked legislation to increase the minimum wage in Virginia.

“Raising the minimum wage does not solve the problem – it only creates new problems,” said Ryan Dunn, a representative of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “There is no silver bullet for poverty.”

For years, academic researchers have debated whether boosting the minimum wage would hurt the economy.

In a 2014 book, Dale Belman of Michigan State University and Paul Wolfson of Dartmouth College concluded that a “moderate” increase in the minimum wage “has little or no effect on employment and hours.” They were unable to conclude if that holds true for a large increase in the minimum wage.

Several researchers compared states that raised the minimum wage with bordering states where the minimum wage stayed the same. In a seminal paperreleased in the 1990s, Princeton economists Alan Kreuger and David Card found that raising the minimum wage did not cause a loss of jobs in fast-food restaurants but the prices of meals increased.

In 2013, David Neumark of the University of California and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Board published a paperfor the National Bureau of Economic Research challenging previous research methods. They said their evidence “still shows that minimum wages pose a tradeoff of higher wages for some against job losses for others.” An increase could help families get out of poverty but could cause other families to fall into poverty, Neumark and Wascher wrote.

While academics and legislators debate the issue, Jones continues doing her job. She said she has been a home-care worker for 12 years and takes great satisfaction in helping her home-bound clients live as independently as possible.

“God allowed me to be born into this profession, and I would have it no other way,” she said. “I could be president of the United States, and I would still want to be a home-care worker.”

Bill Would Outlaw Tethering Dogs, Other Pets

By Ashley Luck, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Citing unpredictable and sometimes extreme weather conditions throughout the year in Virginia, Del. John J. Bell, D-Chantilly, has filed a bill that would prohibit the outdoor tethering of companion animals.

Tethering would be allowed only if the owner of the animal is outside and within sight of the pet, the bill says.

Bell said his wife, Margaret, works to rescue and foster mistreated dogs, and that motivated him to introduce House Bill 1802.

“My wife does animal rescue,” Bell said. “She’s fostered over 50 dogs over the last seven or eight years.

“We’ve seen many instances where animals were tethered for long periods of time in either extreme hot and cold weather. They were unattended and no one was around.

“In fact, we fostered one this year that the authorities had to take, where it was part of a court case. The animal was almost at death’s door. I feel that tethering for extended periods of time, particularly in harsh weather conditions, is cruel to the animal and should not be done,” Bell said.

An owner who violates the measure could be found guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and subject to a fine of up to $250. A second offense would be a Class 3 misdemeanor, with a fine up to $500.

Bell’s legislation would amend section 3.2-6503 of the Code of Virginia, in relation to the care of companion animals. The code says owners must provide adequate feed, water, properly cleaned shelter, adequate space for the type of animal and veterinary care when needed.

The provisions of HB 1802 also would apply to public or private animal shelters, dealers, pet shops, exhibitors, kennels, groomers and boarding establishments.

Most localities in Virginia do not have restrictions on the tethering of animals. The city of Richmond and a few others have prohibited it.

Robin Robertson Starr, CEO of the Richmond SPCA, said the tethering of dogs is a big problem in Virginia.

“It is a terrible thing for the dog and it causes dogs to become aggressive and territorial and thereby to become a risk to human safety,” Starr said.

“Leaving dogs outside is a tragedy. Dogs are highly social animals with an affinity for quality time to interact with and love their human family members. They should not be exposed for long periods of time to the elements outside, either in the cold of winter or the heat of summer.

“They should be living with us in the house and should go outside for limited periods of time in the company of their humans to get exercise and to relieve themselves, but otherwise should be kept indoors.”

HB 1802 has been assigned to the Agriculture Subcommitteeof the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee. The subcommittee is scheduled to hear the bill when it meets at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the seventh-floor west conference room of the General Assembly Building, 201 N. Ninth St., Richmond.

Lawmakers Aim to Increase Access to Opiate Antagonist

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By Taylor Knight, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia lawmakers are attempting to tackle the state’s opioid epidemic with a slew of bills that aim to widen the availability of the opiate overdose medication naloxone.

“We are facing a crisis in Virginia and in the nation, losing more people to opioid overdose than to car crashes,” said Rep. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax.

She is sponsoring HB 1449, which“will allow individuals trained and authorized by the Department of Behavioral Health, in coordination with the Board of Pharmacy, to go into the community with the life-saving antidote naloxone so they can get to the people who are most at risk,” Boysko said.

Her bill is one of five pieces of legislation this session that seek to make naloxone more available to the public.

A standing order for the drug was issued by State Health Commissioner Marissa J. Levine in November, making naloxone available to any Virginian at pharmacies across the state without a prescription. The price is $120 before insurance.

“Pharmacies may now dispense naloxone without a prescription, but logistical, financial and stigma-related reasons keep some of the most at-risk individuals from getting it there, and many pharmacies do not carry it,” said Rep. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton. He has introduced HB 1453, a bill nearly identical to Boysko’s.

Even when naloxone is available at a pharmacy, some people will buy the drug without knowing how to properly administer it, rendering the drug ineffective. Programs such as REVIVE!, offered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, teach citizens how to use naloxone, but they are not allowed to distribute the drug to participating students once the class is over.

Some people may worry that the widened availability of naloxone would encourage opiate users to continue using illegal drugs without fear of death. However, the Behavioral Health Department’s website says the drug is “not a safety net that allows individuals with opioid-use disorder to continue or increase use” because naloxone induces the recipient into withdrawal, which the site says is “extremely unpleasant.”

Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously passed SB 1031, which would add employees of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science and the medical examiner’s office to the list of people allowed to obtain and administer the opioid antagonist. That bill is awaiting action in the House of Delegates.

Boysko said she is optimistic that her bill will be among the legislation passed involving naloxone.

“I look forward to seeing it pass along with the other legislative efforts so that we can help people get onto the road to recovery,” Boysko said.

Bartenders May Help Prevent Sexual Assaults

By Mary Lee Clark, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Virginia bars might be stepping up their game in combating sexual assault under legislation making its way through the General Assembly.

Senate Bill 1150, proposed by Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, would encourage bartenders and other employees who “otherwise sell, serve, or dispense alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption” to undergo “bar bystander training.”

On Friday, the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services unanimously approved the bill. It now goes to the full Senate.

Bar bystander training would inform employees how to recognize and intervene in situations that might lead to sexual assault. The bill says bar employees should be taught “intervention strategies to prevent such situations from culminating in sexual assault.”

“Studies have been done that actually show that in areas where they have this bar bystander training, they have had an 11 percent lower rate of sexual assault and victimization,” Favola said.

The training would be optional.

The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control already offers online training such as Responsible Sellers & Servers (RSVP), which advises employees to follow state laws and how to deal with intoxicated customers.

Favola also suggested signs be posted to let customers know which bars have trained employees.

According to a report on alcohol and sexual assault by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately one-half of all sexual assaults are committed by men who have been drinking alcohol. And more than one-half of sexual assault victims reported that they were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault.

Many bars have created their own policies to combat sexual assault. Most notably, the Iberian Rooster in St. Petersburg, Florida, posted signs in the women’s restroom that instructed women to order an “angel shot” if they needed to discreetly notify the staff about an uncomfortable date.

Other bars have followed that lead and posted similar signs.

Treat, Don’t Jail Drug Users, Poll Says

By Jessica Samuels, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Most Virginians agree that people who use heroin or abuse prescription drugs should receive treatment, not jail time, according to a statewide poll.

More than six out of 10 respondents believe heroin users should be offered treatment instead of being arrested and charged with a crime, the 2017 Public Policy Poll by Virginia Commonwealth University found. Seven out of 10 felt the same way about prescription drug abusers.

Citizens surveyed also voiced support for treatment programs instead of incarceration for nonviolent offenders who suffer from mental illness. The poll said 88 percent of respondents said mentally ill nonviolent offenders should be required to participate in community-based treatment programs instead of incarcerated. That feeling was shared by Democrats, Republicans and independents.

Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, said the survey “demonstrates support for the governor’s initiatives with regard to mental health and combating the opioid epidemic.”

“Virginians view opioid abusers and those experiencing lack of treatment for mental illness as an increasingly difficult issue plaguing communities and that treatment options should be available for these users,” Moran said.

The poll was conducted by the Center for Public Policy at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Officials released the results at a news conference this week.

The survey involved telephone interviews in December with a representative sample of 1,000 adults across Virginia. The poll had a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

Besides asking about addiction and mental health issues, the survey also asked about police community relations. About three-quarters of poll respondents believe police in their community treat people fairly, do a good job handling race relations and use the appropriate amount of force in dealing with suspects.

“Public perceptions of police in our community are key to the maintenance of public safety,” said Robyn McDougle, faculty director of the Office of Public Policy Outreach and associate professor of criminal justice at the Wilder School.

“As many communities around the country are addressing dismal community police relations, Virginians’ perceptions of police are very favorable, which is a testament to the continual training and outreach that our police departments have done and continue to do around the commonwealth.”

Citizens are not as confident in the ability of public safety agencies to respond to acts of terrorism in Virginia, the survey found. Almost three of every four respondents indicated they were concerned about that.

“Terrorist attacks around the world are becoming regularly reported news events, and the commonwealth’s proximity to the nation’s capital has kept concerns regarding personal safety at the forefront of our citizens’ thoughts. Recent poll responses highlight the need for continual community conversations and preparations,” McDougle said.

The complete poll results are available at http://news.vcu.edu/pdfs/Public-Safety-Poll.pdf

Anti-Trump Protesters Take to Richmond Streets

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By Amelia Heymann and Maura Mazurowski, Photos by Amelia Heymann, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – More than 100 demonstrators marched through Richmond on Friday evening to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

DISRUPTJ20RVA, a social movement group, organized the event.

“Join local activists as we demonstrate that we won’t tolerate the white supremacist agenda of the incoming administration,” organizers wrote in a description on a Facebook event page. “The Trump presidency will exacerbate city and statewide struggles by undoing the hard work of countless community members.”

Unlike some other anti-Trump protests, Friday’s demonstrators in Richmond were peaceful. There were no violent interactions, destruction of property, attempts to block highway traffic or arrests. (However, as a CNS reporter was recording a video of the demonstrators, one of them grabbed the journalist’s phone and threw it off a bridge. The reporter managed to retrieve it thanks to the help of two other protesters.)

DISRUPTJ20RVA held a brief rally at Abner Clay Park in Jackson Ward. At about 6:45 p.m., the protesters made their way to Broad Street led by a sign reading “Resistance starts here.”

Participants spilled down Broad Street, turned north onto Lombardy Street and circled the roundabout at Admiral Street and Brook Road. Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter”, “F*ck Pence”, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and other slogans.

According to DISRUPT20RVA activists, the march in Richmond was one of many across the country protesting Trump and his incoming administration’s policies.

Dozens of officers from the Richmond Police Department followed the protesters on bikes. Koury Wilson, the department’s public information officer, said safety was their “utmost concern” among demonstrators and residents alike. Also present at the protest were legal observers from the Virginia branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“We’re here to observe from the sidelines,” said Charlie Schmidt, the public policy associate of ACLU-VA. “Tonight we’re most interested in interactions between police officials and citizens.”

Earlier Friday afternoon, DISRUPTJ20 held a teach-in and discussion at Gallery 5. The group discussed tactics on dealing with police confrontation in preparation for the protest. Demonstrators were advised to exercise their right to remain silent, ask officers if they were being detained and call a legal help hotline if arrested.

Some of the demonstrators apparently were parents. So DISRUPTJ20 provided child care services at Art 180 for protesters until 10 p.m.

Mallory O’Shea, the media coordinator for DISRUPTJ20, refused to give a formal statement to Capital News Service about the event or the organization behind it.

Fauquier Teacher Gives Daughters a Civics Lesson

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By SaraRose Martin, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON – Mert Cook teaches students at Coleman Elementary School in the town of Marshall in northwestern Fauquier County. But on this rainy Saturday morning, she had a lesson for her own children. She had organized a carpool to Washington, D.C., and brought along two of her daughters. They were about to learn about democratic protesting.

“I felt it was really important to show the power of women together,” Cook said. “Setting the example for my girls that our voice matters is incredibly important. We can’t just talk – we have to walk!”

Cook was among a contingent of Northern Virginia educators who joined other citizens from across the state and across the country for the Women’s March on Washington. Many of the participants came to protest incoming President Donald Trump.

“I had a student share with me with tears falling how scared she was for Trump because her family is illegal,” Cook said. “I assured her not to worry. I truly believed people were better than to allow this to happen. I was crushed when it did.”

Co-worker and teacher Mirae Daly joined Cook because she is concerned about the effect she believes Trump’s presidency may have on young people.

“My biggest concern is for young people, who stand to have your lives affected more so than mine,” Daly said. “My hope is that future generations can live in a world that has clean air to breathe, appreciation of differences and equality under law.”

The march originally obtained a permit for 200,000 attendees, but the turnout in D.C. exceeded that, and there were rallies and marches in cities around the country as well. Minority groups, people of color, the LGBTQ community and men and women of every variety chanted and held signs denouncing what they believe to be lewd, sexist or offensive comments and beliefs of Trump.

Barbara Dollison is a substitute teacher in Northern Virginia, and her daughter worked for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Her daughter explained to Dollison that the march was both a way to stand up for women’s rights and a statement to the Trump presidency that attempts to undermine women’s rights will be opposed.

“We spend a lot of time teaching about respecting others. Then the children are exposed to an adult leader who models bad behavior such as bullying and extreme disrespect,” Dollison said. “That’s going to take a lot of explaining.”

Cook said the march renewed her faith in the ability of people to work together.

“I truly believe kindness matters. We will make a difference together,” Cook said. “And we have to keep all children safe. I really wanted to get as many people together – to make the difference together.”

Senate Panel Rejects Plastic Bag Tax

By Megan Schiffres, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The Senate Finance Committee has killed a bill to impose a 5-cent tax on disposable plastic bags that stores give their customers. But the proposal’s sponsor says he isn’t giving up.

The tax would have applied to grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which encompasses most of Virginia. As an incentive to collect the tax, the bill would have allowed retailers to keep 1 cent of the 5-cent levy.

Revenue from the plastic bag tax – estimated at as much as $18 million a year – would have been used to support the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan, which works to reduce pollution in the bay and the region’s streams, creeks and rivers.

The bill (SB 925) was introduced by Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, who says that despite its defeat, he will continue to fight for a tax on plastic bags.

“We need to limit the amount of trash that goes into the bay, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to tax goods like plastic bags which are frankly unnecessary and create an environmental hazard,” Petersen said.

The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is the largest estuary in the United States and contains more than 100,000 rivers and streams that filter in from six states.

In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment were impairing the bay’s water quality. The EPA told the states whose waters empty into the Chesapeake to limit the pollution entering the bay and associated waterways.

The greatest source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay is not plastic bags, but agricultural runoff, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. However, plastic bags are destructive to the bay and the environment overall because they kill wildlife, clog landfills and are not biodegradable. The Worldwatch Institute, a Washington-based environmental research group, says Americans throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags every year.

In Virginia, all land from the Washington suburbs to Virginia Beach drains unto the Chesapeake Bay. Only the southernmost localities and far Southwest Virginia aren’t part of the watershed.

“It’s our environmental legacy here in Virginia,” Petersen said. “The bay is what makes Virginia the unique place it is to live.”

Previous attempts to tax plastic bags in Virginia also have died in committee in the General Assembly.

Several other state and local governments have enacted laws dealing with the issue. For example, Hawaii and California have banned plastic bags, and the District of Columbia has imposed a 5-cent tax on each bag issued to store customers.

The plastic bag tax was opposed by the retail merchant lobby, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses, Petersen said.

Nile Abouzaki manages a family-owned business in Richmond called Shawarma Shack. He says a tax on plastic bags may be well intentioned but would be a burden on small businesses.

“We already have plenty of taxes in Richmond, especially the meals taxes that are somewhat overboard compared to other cities,” Abouzaki said.

Sara Vaughan, general manager of the Virginia Book Company and daughter of the owner, says businesses should decide for themselves whether to be environmentally conscious.

“I think it is up to businesses to be eco-friendly and not get taxed because we have a hard time as it is,” Vaughan said. “But I think we definitely need to be part of the solution as opposed to just sending a bunch of plastic bags out into the environment.”

The Senate Finance Committee considered Petersen’s bill on Wednesday. The panel voted 10-4 along party lines that SB 925 be “passed by indefinitely,” meaning it is dead for this legislative session. All of the Republicans on the committee supported the motion to kill the measure; all of the Democrats opposed it.

According to the Virginia Department of Taxation, the proposed tax on plastic bags would cost state government about $110,000 to implement and enforce the first year, but it could generate between $14 million and $18 million annually for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan.

The tax would not have applied to:

  • Durable plastic bags with handles that were designed to be reused
  • Plastic bags used to carry ice cream, meat, fish, poultry, leftover restaurant food, newspapers or dry cleaning
  • Bags used to carry alcoholic beverages or prescription drugs
  • Bags sold in packages for use as garbage, pet-waste and leaf-removal bags

Virginians Join Women’s March in D.C.

<Women's March on Washington

By Jessica Nolte, Capital News Service

WASHINGTON – People from across Virginia rallied in Washington on Saturday morning before joining women from around country in sending a message to President Donald Trump.

“The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” the march’s mission stated.

Protesters from Virginia started gathering at the Carousel in the National Mall around 7 a.m. Many donned purple #Virginia4ALL hats and carried protest signs. Stair Calhoun, the Northern Virginia coordinator for the march, said nearly 1,500 hats and 5,000 campaign buttons were distributed before the rally.

“Yesterday we had a little party here in D.C.,” U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., told the gathering.

Then he and the crowd booed.

“Today, we have a bigger party,” he said as the crowd whistled and cheered with approval.

Connolly said that while Trump may be president, he doesn’t speak for everyone. The day of the rally marked the beginning of what he called a “four-year fight.” Connolly said that he would do his part in Congress but that he expected members of the audience to do their part beyond marching.

“This is our America, too, and we’re going to stick up for it,” Connolly said.

State Del. Mark Levine, a Democrat from Alexandria, said that on Inauguration Day, he savored the last remaining hours of Barack Obama’s presidency. Levine said that when he stepped outside the Virginia General Assembly at noon, he heard the church bells ringing and noticed it was raining.

“My first thought was God is crying,” Levine said. “But I thought about it some more and realized the rain was a wake-up call.”

He said he had never imagined Trump would be president. He knew Hillary Clinton and had eagerly awaited her presidency.

“I said, ‘America is never going to elect this joker,’” Levine said. “And in a way, I was right because 3 million more Americans chose Hillary Clinton.”

U.S. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va. was greeted with loud cheers and calls of support from members of the audience when he addressed the crowd.

He quoted St. Augustine – that Hope has two daughters, and they are Anger and Courage.

“Today we are angry,” Beyer said. “We’ve just inaugurated a man who shows profound disrespect for women.”

Beyer said that while the crowd was angry, they also had courage because of their decision to join the march. He said they would continue to fight and never surrender.

“How do we show courage? By doing all the little things well,” Beyer said. “We take care of our families. We do our jobs well. We build our communities. We take care of the sick, the poor and those in trouble.”

He then told the crowd they should maintain their courage by getting involved with their local government and staying electorally engaged until they can vote Trump out of office in 2020.

Virginia rally organizers were expecting over 120 buses and over 7,500 people from Virginia, Calhoun said. She had three private buses of her own coming from Annandale, including a bus from her yoga studio.

Calhoun said she had 20 people staying at her home for the march and knew of another woman from Virginia who had 25 people from Vermont staying in her basement.

Eileen Denne of Alexandria attended the Virginia rally and Women’s March on Washington with two friends from Cleveland who were staying with her.

“We are all mothers of daughters,” Sheila Lodwick said of the trio. “It’s important for us to march for them and their futures.”

Emily Patton, Virginia’s outreach chair for the Women’s March, echoed that message in addressing the crowd: “Today is your day – one of activism. We will prevail.”

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