30 May 2011

Statement by the Four African Burial Ground Advocates

"Wednesday, May 25, 2011, was a day of victory for us and the community. We wish to thank whatever higher power we believe in, our lawyer, Steve Benjamin, and the community for showing up at the Manchester Courthouse to support us. The courtroom was filled to capacity with supporters. It was awesome to see the room empty out when we left. We also thank those who were not able to come but were there in spirit.

To Virginia Commonwealth University, we say that “actions speak louder than words.” A true good-faith gesture would be to donate $123,000 to be used for the development of the African Burial Ground. This is the amount VCU is saving because of the generosity of several companies that are donating their time, energy and equipment to remove the asphalt from the African Burial Ground at no cost. In addition, VCU should donate all the parking fees they collected over the past three years to the African Burial Ground. That money was to recover the cost of purchasing the land, but the cost has now been covered by the General Assembly.

To the Slave Trail Commission, we say the Richmond African Burial Ground Community Organizing Committee is ready and willing to interact with them in a positive manner. Our goals are to promote continued community input in regard to decisions affecting how the African Burial Ground is to be memorialized and to promote the principle that any related contracts and jobs should go first to the African-American community.

To the community, we say please continue to join us in deciding how the African Burial Ground should be memorialized. Your input is so important. Our meetings are held on the first Sunday of each month from 4-6 p.m. Do come out. To receive meeting notices, please send your name, phone number and/or email address to: Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor at , or call (804) 347-3598.

Again, thanks so much to everyone for supporting us. We really appreciate it.

Donnell C. Brantley
Rolandah “Cleopattrah” McMillan
Autumn Barret
Phil Wilayto

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