Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Newsletter - August 20, 2019

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Or by mail and phone:

Richmond Office:
Pocahontas Building
900 East Main Street, Suite E208
Richmond, VA 23219
804.698.1045

Alexandria Office:
301 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
571.234.8481

First, I want to let you know that my Monthly Meetup will be
this Sunday, August 25, at Los Tios in Del Ray, from 2-4 pm. 

Feel free to drop by. Come late or leave early, at your convenience. This is not a fundraiser. It's just my chance to speak in a small group with you about whatever's on your mind. And that's why I do it every month.

Now, on to the main content of the newsletter.


400 Years Ago Today:
The First Africans Arrived
in Virginia and British North America

Today is the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans to Virginia's shores, an event that marks the beginning of almost 250 years of race-based slavery in North America, another century of Jim Crow Laws, and another half-century of uneven progress.

All these years later, we continue to fight to rid our institutions and society of the vestiges of this barbaric, peculiar system. We must always remember America’s Original Sin, so that we may wisely confront the continuing impacts of institutional racism today: in our criminal justice system, in our economy, and in our society.

As we study what happened 400 years ago in Virginia, think how the history of our country — and the history of our world — would have been different if only the Africans forcibly brought to our shores four centuries ago had been treated identically to the Europeans who came here only a dozen years earlier.

Imagine if the English — and later, the USA — had treated African-Americans, women and men, with the same promises of equality and liberty boldly proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence self-evidently endowed by their Creator.

Now imagine if we only did so today...

_____

We all must commit ourselves to remembering the past and building a better future. That is why, since I last wrote you, I have participated in numerous events aimed at doing just that.

I joined Governor Ralph Northam, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, and other elected officials for a tour of Alexandria's Freedom House Museum (the former office of Isaac Franklin and John Armfield, who at one time led the brutal American domestic slave trade and commenced the Slavery Trail of Tears in Alexandria). We visited the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial and learned about the creation of the cemetery from the wonderful historians from Historic Alexandria. 


 

Soon after that powerful tour, I spoke at a Heather Heyer Remembrance organized by constituents Paul Friedman and Boyd Walker to commemorate her murder by a white supremacist in Charlottesville two years ago. The event, importantly, drew the connection between white supremacy and gun violence.


Speaking at the Heather Heyer Remembrance organized by Paul Friedman and Boyd Walker.

Most recently, I was honored to join the Pilgrimage for Racial Justice organized by the Virginia Theological Seminary. A great crowd turned out to remember those lost to racism and to commit to fighting injustice today. We started at the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial in Alexandria and, after a powerful lineup of speakers and wonderful singers, we marched silently to the Franklin and Armfield office, in honor of the 2,000 black Alexandrians laid to rest at the Cemetery Memorial. You can watch my speech at the event by clicking the image below. 


Remembering slavery in Alexandria at the Pilgrimage for Racial Justice. Click picture to watch.


The Virginia State Crime Commission's
Session on Gun Legislation Has Begun

As I mentioned in my newsletter summarizing the July 9th Special Session on Gun Violence that Republicans adjourned after only 90 minutes, all gun violence prevention legislation was sent to the Virginia State Crime Commission (SCC) for review. Later today, the bill patrons will be presenting their cases for their bills to the SCC. I will be presenting my bill to ban assault weapons even though I know that the Republicans on the SCC are not there to have a good faith debate about the merits of gun violence prevention legislation. If a single elected Republican in Virginia supported taking any action to prevent gun violence, we would have done so by now.

The SCC is taking public comment on gun violence prevention legislation at its meeting today. If you intend to give public comment at the meeting today, please read this. In case you can't make it to Richmond, you can also  email your comments to comments@vscc.virginia.gov. The agenda for today's meeting is as follows:

  • 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm: Presentations by guests
  • 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm: Public Comment
  • 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Bill Presentations by Delegates and Senators

You can find the live stream of today's proceedings at the link here.


September 6:
State Water Control Board
to Decide on Permit for
Potomac Yard Metrorail Station

They will take public comment


Let's help make the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station a stop on this map. 

Many of my constituents have been eagerly awaiting the day they can take the train from the Potomac Yard train station into Washington.

While that day is still years away, an important step in that process is getting all the permits required to begin construction. I recently wrote the State Water Control Board to encourage them to approve the City of Alexandria's application for a Water Protection Permit for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. Read my letter here.

The State Water Control Board will make a decision regarding this permit at its next meeting:

Date: Friday, September 6th, 2019
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: The DoubleTree by Hilton Richmond Airport, 445 International Center Drive, Sandston, Virginia 23150

The agenda and additional information for this meeting are available here. Procedures for public comments during Board meetings may be viewed here.

In the Community


Fun celebrating the 225th birthday of the Alexandria Library 
with "Frederick Douglass" (Nathan Richardson, above)
and Alexandria's newly named Poet Laureate, KaNikki Jakarta (below).


At the National Conference of State Legislators annual policy conference in Nashville, I stood with fellow Virginian legislators committed to fighting gun violence. Those pictured with me are: Delegate Ibraheem Samirah, Del. Ken Plum, Senator Lionell Spruill, Sen. Jennifer Boysko, Sen. Barbara Favola, Sen. Adam Ebbin, Del. Sam Rasoul, and Del. Mark Keam. 


In Del Ray, supporting the re-election of the wonderful Delegate I mentor: Danica Roem


Supporting Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler's reelection with Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol and fellow Delegates Alfonso Lopez, David Reid, and Mark Sickles. 


Upcoming Events

Please Join Me!
 
TODAY
Tuesday, August 20
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Virginia State Crime Commission

Bill Patron Presentations
House Committee Room - Pocahontas Building
900 E Main Street, Richmond
 
Saturday, August 24
9:30 am - 11:30 am
First African Landing

Commemorative Weekend
Fort Monroe, Hampton
 
Sunday, August 25
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Mark's Monthly Meetup
Los Tios in Del Ray
2615 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Alexandria
 
Monday, August 26
6:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Women's Equality Day: Screening of "On the Basis of Sex"

with Panel Discussion
Cinema Arts Theatre
9650 Main Street, Fairfax

 

 

It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.

Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District