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Georgia Green

Community Lenten Services

Luncheon will be served after each Wednesday Noon Service for a small donation.

March 27 - 12 Noon First Presbyterian Church Rev. Dr. Rick Hurst

April 3 12 - Noon Calvary Baptist Church Rev. Dr. Doretha Allen

April 10 - 12 Noon St. Richard’s Catholic Church Rev. Tom Durrance

April 18 - 7 pm Elnora Jarrell Worship Center Rev. Harry Zeiders

April 19 - 11 am Calvary Baptist Church (Radio Baptist) Various Pastors and Leaders Hour of Prayer

The offering: we have given two $500 scholarships to seniors in the past. We will contact these two students and if they are still at their schools with passing grades, we will give them another $500 each and any money above $1000.00 we be given to Thomas Family Boots On the Ground Outreach.

Northam Denies Racist Photo And Says He Won’t Resign

By Georgia Geen, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Resisting pressure to resign, Gov. Ralph Northam said Saturday that he is not one of the individuals in a racist photo found on his medical school yearbook page, but he revealed he once “darkened” his skin as part of a Michael Jackson costume in a dance contest the same year.

At an afternoon press conference, Northam said the costume was not blackface — which is when a non-black person uses makeup or another substance to appear black. At the San Antonio event, which occurred in 1984, the same year the yearbook photo was taken, a 25-year-old Northam put shoe polish on his cheeks. He said he used a small amount because the substance is “hard to get off.”

“I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that,” Northam said.

Blackface in the U.S. originated with 19th-century theatrical performances and was used to perpetuate racist stereotypes.

Northam’s defense centers around the San Antonio event. On Saturday, he said that he had no recollection of attending the party where the racist photo was taken but that he remembers “darkening” his skin to look like Jackson. To Northam, his clear recollection of one event and not the other is the sign he wasn’t “the person in that uniform and I am not the person to the right.”

After conversations with family, friends and former classmates, Northam said he came to the conclusion that he was not in the photo. He said he previously identified himself as being in the image because of all of the “hurt” it was causing.

Northam did not have a specific explanation for how the photo appeared on his yearbook page. He said he submitted three other photos but did not recognize the image in question. It’s possible, he said, that the photo belonged to a classmate and was incorrectly placed on his page.

Eastern Virginia Medical School, Northam’s alma mater that produced the yearbook, issued a statement by its president saying the institution shares the “outrage, alarm and sadness voiced by our alumni, the press and many on social media” over the yearbook image.

In Northam’s Virginia Military Institute yearbook, one of his nicknames was listed as “coonman” — “coon” is a racial slur referring to black people. He said two older classmates referred to him as such, but he said that he did not know their motives or intent and that he regrets the fact that the nickname was used in the yearbook.

Since the photo surfaced Friday, Northam has maintained that he will not resign.

“As long as I feel I can lead, I will continue to do that,” Northam said. “If I reach a point where I am not comfortable with that, obviously I will sit back and have that discussion.”

Scores of groups and individuals have called for Northam to step down as governor in response, including Susan Swecker, chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the NAACP and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. The calls for his resignation still sounded after his denial of the photo.

“It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down,” said Attorney General Mark Herring in a statement released more than 24 hours after the photo first surfaced.

Many Virginians aren’t receptive to Northam’s remorse. Saturday morning, a group of about 25 protesters urged Northam to resign. Next to the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, David Williams stood with a sign that read, “Step down and do VA a favor.” He attended the march with his two young-adult daughters.

“I’m out here, really, to show my kids that you must protest when anything comes up that’s wrong,” Williams said. “The pictures that we saw was very disturbing and very hurtful, especially to African Americans.”

Francesca Leigh Davis, who attended the protest, said she was “appalled” at Northam’s reaction to the backlash.

“You put black people through this shame, the people who voted for you to stand in this office. I’m insulted that black people are used like pawns in this particular party,” Davis said. “Think of each and every black vote that was cast for you. We trusted you.”

Advocates Seek Funding to Help Virginians with Disabilities

By Georgia Geen, Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Dozens of disability-rights activists urged members of the Virginia General Assembly Thursday to approve funding to reduce the nearly 13,000-strong waitlist for developmental disability waivers.

Developmental disability waivers, which are granted by Medicaid, include support services for mental and behavioral health, learning and employment.

According to speakers from The Arc of Virginia — which advocates for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities — about 3,000 of those on the waitlist are classified as “priority one,” meaning they will need waiver services within a year. However, The Arc members recalled experiencing years-long waits to receive resources such as one-on-one job coaching, monitoring of self-administered medications and in-home care tailored to the patient’s needs and independence level.

Cheryl Emory said she had to leave her job years ago to care for her now-young-adult daughter, Virginia, who has a disability.

“At this rate, I’ll be 70 or 80 or have died when Virginia gets a waiver,” Emory told a legislative panel at a hearing on proposed amendments to the state’s 2018-2020 budget. “Today, we’re asking you to fund all of the priority one waiting list.”

The Arc’s executive director, Tonya Milling, said the organization wants the General Assembly to completely fund waivers for those in the “priority one” category, finishing an effort that began last year when waivers were funded for 1,695 of the 3,000 on the waitlist. She estimates $38 million would be necessary to fully fund the remainder of the list.

“You don’t want to waste that big investment, because it’s the biggest one that they’ve made. We don’t want to lose that momentum that they made,” Milling said. “This is the time, this is the opportunity to bring balance to the system before people are in crisis.”

“In-crisis” patients are those with a higher need for services offered by the developmental disability waiver. Many have aging parents with their own health concerns serving as caregivers, putting them at a higher risk of institutionalization, Milling said.

Low pay for at-home health care workers also impacts care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, many speakers said. The shortage of care providers means even those who qualify cannot always get sufficient at-home nursing.

Joyce Barnes is an at-home care worker in Henrico County, and said she has to work 12-15 hours per day. She asked General Assembly members to consider increasing wages for at-home care providers, in addition to a 40-hour work week cap that would allow them to receive overtime pay. Barnes also suggested an additional orientation program for at-home health care workers.

Constance Wilson, an at-home care provider, said she helps her clients with bathing, eating and other day-to-day tasks — but also serves as a companion by spending time with them.

“We save the state money to keep people out of the emergency room and out of nursing rooms,” Wilson said.

According to a report by The Commonwealth Fund — a health policy organization — at-home care reduces health care costs by 30 percent and can be more effective than hospital care.

Members of RISE for Youth, an advocacy group addressing youth incarceration, spoke in favor of Gov. Ralph Northam’s budget amendment to fund additional school counselors throughout Virginia. Over two years, Northam’s proposed $36 million for additional school counselors would bring Virginia’s caseload-to-counselor ratio from 425-to-1 to 250-to-1, the nationally recommended level.

Rebecca Keel, a member of RISE for Youth, said some students come to school in “flight-or-fight mode.”

“Their behaviors are criminalized instead of recognized as a cry for help,” Keel said. “Please keep investing in support staff rather than law enforcement.”

The public hearing at the Science Museum of Virginia was one of four held across Virginia on Thursday. The other hearings were in Fairfax, Roanoke and Newport News.

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