The Defenders are asking supporters of Richmond's African Burial Ground to send the following e-mail to Dr. Michael Rao, President of Virginia Commonwealth University, with copies to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones, Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and the Defenders.
If you are sending the e-mail on behalf of an organization, please include your position in the group.
The Defenders will forward copies of all e-mails to Gov. McDonnell, whose Web site does not provide an e-mail address. Or you may e-mail him directly by filling out a form on his Web site at: www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm)
Ana Edwards - Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project
Phil Wilayto - Editor, The Virginia Defender
Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell
Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
I urge you to immediately close the VCU-owned parking lot that covers Richmond's African Burial Ground, the city's oldest municipal cemetery for Black people.
It is now universally accepted that all or part of this historic site lies under the parking lot located at 15th and East Broad streets. It is unacceptable that Virginia Commonwealth University, a publicly funded state institution, continues to encourage commuters to park their cars on this sacred ground.
As Virginia prepares to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War and the beginning of the end of slavery, I urge you to do the right thing and remove this continuing stain on the reputation of all Virginians.