2020-6-17

Virginia Chamber Joins National Initiative to Address Inequality of Opportunity

RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce announced it is partnering with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on a national initiative to address inequality of opportunity.
 
The Virginia Chamber will join the U.S. Chamber’s national town hall event on June 25 where business and community leaders will discuss concrete actions that can be taken by the government and the private sector to address inequality through education, employment, entrepreneurship, and criminal justice reform. As a partner on this important initiative, the Virginia Chamber will host local and industry dialogues to further the discussion.
 
“The Virginia Chamber is committed to participating in the development of key actions that will foster inclusion, social justice, and support initiatives that will lead to greater equity of opportunity,” said Virginia Chamber President and CEO Barry DuVal. “I recognize the pain current and past tragedies have brought and am committed to engaging with policymakers, community leaders, and other voices to confront racism and support necessary criminal justice reform.
 
“Actions speak louder than words and the Virginia Chamber will join the U.S. Chamber in their initiative to address inequality of opportunity and looks forward to participating in the national town hall scheduled for later this month. Our Commonwealth’s well-being is dependent on the equity of opportunity in our educational system, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, homeownership, and a fair criminal justice system. Diversity and inclusion in our workplace and economy strengthens our state and nation.”
 
“The moral case for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is indisputable, and there’s overwhelming evidence that greater diversity benefits the American economy, businesses, communities, and employees,” said U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark. “We are proud to partner with the Virginia Chamber on this initiative and help develop a robust plan of action.” 
 
The work of this national initiative is complementary to key tenants of the Virginia Chamber’s foundational document, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which calls for vital improvements in workforce and education to advance positive change in these areas and further build a strong foundation for our citizens.

Congratulations to Bonnie Hawkins E.W. Wyatt Middle School's Teacher of the Year

  • Photo of Bonnie Hawkins

     Mrs. Bonnie Hawkins began her teaching career in 2001 in Buffalo, New York.  She has devoted her talents to Greensville County Public Schools since 2008.  In her 19 years of teaching, Mrs. Hawkins has taught both special education and mathematics, currently serving as a 6th-grade math teacher at E.W. Wyatt Middle School.  She currently serves at the Math Department Chair and is on both the School Improvement Team and the Leadership Team, along with serving in other capacities. 

    Mrs. Hawkins said of herself, “As a teacher, I facilitate and encourage student learning through exploration of information and empowering student discovery. I hold high expectations for all students and help them create their own success and do their personal best. By doing so, students gain self-worth in a supportive environment that is welcoming and safe.”  Mrs. Hawkins believes that students learn in many different ways, and therefore, she uses a variety of strategies to provide learning experiences in her classroom.

    Teacher of the year


     

“Time for Signs”

All newspapers list the candidates
And tv reports them as well
Yes even the radio mentions each
As far as I can tell.
 
Well now we have a question
I’m sure asked many times
Since the big three reaches everyone
Why do we need those stupid signs?
 
They just clutter up our City
Plus ruin the beautiful countryside
It’s an expensive way to litter
And some landmarks they do hide.
 
Now perhaps they could put a limit
On the amount placed on each street
Yes put one here and maybe one there
At least make it halfway neat.
 
If it’s these signs that convince the voters
Of the proper candidate
Then the road to recovery of our nation
Will a long time have to wait.
 
Yes put the signs in a recycling bin
And mix them together at will
Then dump them all in a special landfill
Which we can call Political Hill!
 
                         - Roy E. Schepp

Governor Northam to Make Juneteenth a State Holiday

Will give state workers this Friday off, propose legislation to make state holiday permanent

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that he intends to mark Juneteenth as a permanent paid state holiday, starting by giving state employees a day off this Friday, June 19. Virginia has long marked Juneteenth by issuing a proclamation, but the date has not previously been considered a state holiday.

Juneteenth is the oldest known commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. It marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, the last of the former Confederate states to abolish slavery, finally heard that the Civil War had ended, and learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had made them free nearly two years earlier.

“Since 1619, when representative democracy and enslaved African people arrived in Virginia within a month of each other, we have said one thing, but done another,” said Governor Northam. “It’s time we elevate Juneteenth not just as a celebration by and for some Virginians, but one acknowledged and commemorated by all of us. It mattered then because it marked the end of slavery in this country, and it matters now because it says to Black communities, this is not just your history—this is everyone’s shared history, and we will celebrate it together. This is a step toward the Commonwealth we want to be as we go forward.”

“This is a big display of progress and I am grateful for Virginia for leading the way,” said performing artist Pharrell Williams, a Virginia native, who participated in the announcement. “From this moment on, when you look at the vastness of the night sky, and you see those stars moving up there, know that those stars are our African ancestors dancing. They are dancing in celebration because their lives are acknowledged.”

This announcement comes days after Governor Northam announced the state will remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee located on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. Earlier this year, Governor Northam also successfully proposed ending a state holiday that celebrated Confederate generals and making Election Day a state holiday in its place.

“State holidays are a statement of dates we think are important to all people,” said Speaker of the House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn. “Making Juneteenth a state holiday raises its significance and will help educate Virginians on the meaning of Juneteenth in the history of our country and our Commonwealth.”

“Juneteenth is a time for reflection, conversation, and action,” said House Minority Leader Charniele Herring. “A Juneteenth state holiday is an important step toward affirmation of Black history in the Commonwealth.”

“As we work to make changes in our systems, symbols matter too,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw. “I support adding Juneteenth as a state holiday, to ensure that the ending of slavery is commemorated and celebrated.”

“After years of work by many people, there is momentum and will to truly change our systems to make them more equitable to African-American people,” said Senator Mamie Locke. “A state holiday commemorating the day Black people learned they were free helps ensure that all Virginians learn about, and value, how significant that event was in the history of this country.”

“There are many steps Virginia can take to advance justice and equity, and that includes adding a state holiday to mark an event that was critical in the lives of millions of Black people,” said Delegate Lamont Bagby, Chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.

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