AP Exclusive: ‘Strike for Black Lives’ to highlight racism
NEW YORK (AP) — A national coalition of labor unions, along with racial and social justice organizations, will stage a mass walkout this month to protest against systemic racism. Dubbed the “Strike for Black Lives,” tens of thousands of workers will walk off their jobs on July 20, according to details shared exclusively with The Associated Press. Workers across the economy, including fast food, ride-share services, nursing homes and airports, in more than 25 cities will strike to demand action from corporations and the government to dismantle white supremacy and to ensure the health, safety, and economic well-being of every worker, organizers said.
RACIAL INJUSTICE-CONFEDERATE STATUES
Richmond removes Confederate Soldiers and Sailors statue
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Work crews have taken down the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors statue in Richmond. Virginia. Crews arrived Wednesday morning in the city’s Libby Hill neighborhood to remove the 100-foot-tall monument, which depicts a Confederate soldier atop a pillar. It was installed in 1894. A statue of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was taken down by crews on Tuesday. Four others came down last week. Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the removal of all city-owned Confederate statues amid the national protests against police brutality and symbols many see as racist icons. The biggest monument still standing in the capital of the Confederacy is a huge statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Virginia eliminates huge backlog of untested rape kits
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says the state has eliminated a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits. During a news conference Wednesday, Herring said the project to test rape kits that in some cases were decades old began in 2015. Since then, 2,665 rape kits have been tested, 851 new DNA profiles have been uploaded into a national DNA database and 354 “hits” have been sent to law enforcement agencies for further investigation. Rape kits are used to collect DNA and other physical evidence from rape victims. In November, Herring announced that a Spotsylvania man has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor after being identified through the initiative to test untested rape kits.
Police search for man after child found dead, woman injured
GLOUCESTER, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say that a woman is critically injured and her infant daughter is dead. A local sheriff’s office said it is now searching for the woman’s husband. WAVY-TV reports that the woman and her daughter were found Tuesday in Gloucester County. The Gloucester Sheriff’s Office said the cause of the girl’s death and the woman’s injuries are still under investigation. The sheriff’s office said it’s trying to find the woman’s husband, Dennis Chambers, who was last seen driving a Volkswagen Beetle.
BC-VA-RACIAL INJUSTICE-JMU BUILDINGS
JMU is renaming halls that bear names of Confederate leaders
HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s James Madison University is renaming three buildings that bear the names of Confederate leaders. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the university’s board of visitors voted to change the names of three halls following requests by students, alumni and campus organizations. The school in Harrisonburg has removed signs for the buildings on the quad and assigned temporary names. One of the buildings is named for Confederate Gen. Turner Ashby. Jackson Hall is named for Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson. And Maury Hall is named for Matthew Fontaine Maury, a scientist and Confederate naval officer. The school is not considering changing its name. James Madison was the slave-owning fourth U.S. president and chief architect of the U.S. Constitution.
Prosecutor: 14-year-old’s plea leads to trafficking arrests
FRAZER, Pa. (AP) — Prosecutors say a message from a 14-year-old girl on Facebook saying “I don’t want to be here anymore” helped secure her rescue and led to arrests in what authorities call a sex trafficking ring in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Chester County prosecutor’s office said Wednesday that the girl was rescued May 30 from a Malvern convenience store parking lot after being held for weeks. Prosecutors and East Whiteland Township police arrested three men on charges of running the alleged organization. District Attorney Deborah Ryan said authorities are trying to determine if there were other victims.
Opponents: Pipeline’s defeat ‘a testament to perseverance’
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The news that energy giants Duke Energy and Dominion Energy were pulling the plug on the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline delighted environmental advocates and other opponents of the project who had spent six years fighting what they considered an uphill battle. They say the decision to scrap the natural gas pipeline marks a turning point in the climate fight, illustrating the time has passed for energy companies to invest in massive fossil fuel infrastructure projects. The project’s supporters have said it shows the growing challenge of energy infrastructure permitting.
Board allows candidates extra time to get on ballot
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two prominent Republican congressional candidates were given a reprieve by the Virginia State Board of Elections for not filing candidate paperwork on time. The board voted 2 to 1 on Tuesday to extend a filing deadline for Republicans Bob Good and Nick Freitas, as well as handful of other candidates, to allow them to have their names on the ballot this fall. Good won a GOP convention last month against incumbent U.S. Rep. Denver Riggleman. Freitas is a state delegate who had to mount a pricey write-in campaign to keep his state House seat after failing to get his paperwork in on time.