Tag Archives: Virginia

Developers Found Graves in the Virginia Woods. Authorities Then Helped Erase the Historic Black Cemetery

The cemetery’s disappearance cleared the way for the expansion of a Microsoft data center, despite layers of federal and state regulations nominally intended to protect culturally significant sites.

by Seth Freed Wessler.  Published 12-16-2022 by ProPublica

Microsoft’s Boydton Data Center in Mecklenburg County. Photo: Data Center Knowledge

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Nobody working to bring a $346 million Microsoft project to rural Virginia expected to find graves in the woods. But in a cluster of yucca plants and cedar that needed to be cleared, surveyors happened upon a cemetery. The largest of the stones bore the name Stephen Moseley, “died December 3, 1930,” in a layer of cracking plaster. Another stone, in near perfect condition and engraved with a branch on the top, belonged to Stephen’s toddler son, Fred, who died in 1906.

“This is not as bad as it sounds,” an engineering consultant wrote in March 2014 to Microsoft and to an official in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, who was helping clear hurdles for the project — an expansion of a massive data center. “We should be able to relocate these graves.” Continue reading

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Walkouts Underway in Virginia Against Youngkin’s Attack on Trans Students

“It is shameful to pin your political hopes on your willingness to harm an already marginalized group of kids,” said one critic of the Republican governor’s plan to roll back transgender students’ rights.

By Brett Wilkins  Published 9-27-2022 by Common Dreams

Virginia students participate in a September 27, 2022 commonwealth-wide walkout in protest of a proposed rollback of transgender student rights by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. (Photo: Pride Liberation Project/Twitter)

Thousands of high school students walked out of classrooms across Virginia on Tuesday to protest a plan by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin that critics say aims to repress transgender youth amid growing nationwide GOP-led attacks on LGBTQ+ rights.

Chanting “trans rights are human rights,” “DOE, let us be,” and other slogans, students at scores of schools took part in demonstrations calling for the rejection of model Virginia Department of Education policies proposed earlier this month by Youngkin that, if approved, would force schools to categorize pupils according to scientifically dubious notions of “biological sex.” Continue reading

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Surveillance is pervasive: Yes, you are being watched, even if no one is looking for you

Video cameras on city streets are only the most visible way your movements can be tracked.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Peter Krapp, University of California, Irvine

The U.S. has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world. Cameras are omnipresent on city streets and in hotels, restaurants, malls and offices. They’re also used to screen passengers for the Transportation Security Administration. And then there are smart doorbells and other home security cameras.

Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together. Continue reading

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Legacy of Jim Crow still affects funding for public schools

School funding inequities persist along racial and economic lines.
David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Derek W. Black, University of South Carolina and Axton Crolley, University of South Carolina

Nearly 70 years ago – in its 1954 Brown v. Board decision – the Supreme Court framed racial segregation as the cause of educational inequality. It did not, however, challenge the lengths to which states went to ensure the unequal funding of Black schools.

Before Brown, Southern states were using segregation to signify and tangibly reinforce second-class citizenship for Black people in the United States. The court in Brown deemed that segregation was inherently unequal. Even if the schools were “equalized” on all “tangible factors,” segregation remained a problem and physical integration was the cure, the Court concluded. Continue reading

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13 Youth File ‘Vital’ Constitutional Climate Lawsuit Against Virginia

“We are tired of our fears being ignored, and the courts are a way to make sure our voices are heard by the government that represents us.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 2-9-2022 by Common Dreams

Chesterfield Power Station, a Dominion Resources’ coal fired power plant located in central Virginia. Photo: Edbrown05/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Virginia residents ages 10 to 19 filed a constitutional lawsuit against the commonwealth on Wednesday over the government’s fossil fuel policies that contribute to the climate emergency.

The 13 young plaintiffs, represented by Our Children’s Trust, are asking the court to declare that the state government’s historic and ongoing permitting of fossil fuel projects that pollute the planet violates their constitutional and public trust rights. Continue reading

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‘Alarming’: ALEC’s New Model Bill Would Penalize Banks for Divesting From Fossil Fuels

One critic called the proposal, which describes green investment policies as a form of “energy discrimination,” a “desperate attempt by fossil fuel companies and their lobbyists to maintain their profits.”

By Kenny Stancil. Published 12-8-2021 by Common Dreams

Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles Refinery in Carson, California, Photo: Marathon Petroleum

Progressives are sounding the alarm about a recently launched right-wing campaign that seeks to preempt green investment policies throughout the United States by portraying the financial sector’s potential turn toward clean energy as discriminatory—and introducing legislation that would punish banks and asset managers for divesting from fossil fuels.

The Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which consistently pumps out reactionary bills mostly for state-level Republicans, held its States and Nation Policy Summit last week in San Diego. Continue reading

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Nabisco Strike Ends After Union Members Approve New Contract

“Congratulations to these brave workers on their wins,” said one labor writer. “May their determination and grit be an inspiration for workers everywhere.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2021

Nabisco workers on strike (Photo: BCTGM/bctgm.org)

A strike that started last month in Portland, Oregon and spread to other Nabisco bakeries and distribution centers across the United States ended Saturday after unionized workers voted “overwhelmingly” in favor of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Though some Portland employees opposed ratifying the four-year contract, calling for better terms, it ultimately garnered the necessary support from workers there and at facilities in Aurora, Colorado; Richmond, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; and Norcross, Georgia. Continue reading

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‘Racist, Unconstitutional, and Anti-Democratic’: Florida Senate Passes GOP Anti-Protest Bill

“This bill is a disgrace to our state.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2021

George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia Commons/CC

After Florida’s Senate Republicans on Thursday passed an undemocratic anti-protest bill—expected to be signed into law by its chief proponent, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, as early as next week—the state’s ACLU chapter condemned GOP lawmakers for “aiming to shut down political speech they disagree with in a direct attack on the First Amendment and at the cost of Black and Brown people.”

House Bill 1 “is racist, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic, plain and simple,” Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement. Continue reading

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With Rent Freezes About to Expire, Mnuchin Lobbies for More Wall Street Bailouts

As millions of Americans stand on the brink of economic annihilation, the money keeps flowing to Wall Street thanks to carefully contrived mechanisms to maintain a dying financial system afloat.

By Raul Diego  Published 12-4-2020 by MintPress News

Steven Mnuchin. Photo: White House

Many prophetic scenes depicted in a series of Mayan codices written in the early days of the Spanish colony, and translated and compiled in El Libro de los Libros del Chilam Balam, describe a world foreign to its original authors. But, one which was barreling down on them and their civilization even as the Mayan high priests recorded their visions for each stop on their cyclical calendar system.

The metaphors they leaned on to describe these new Western values and systems were accurate, despite having nothing comparable in their own cosmology or parallels in their relationship with the earth. In one of the most striking prophecies, the interpreting shaman warns of the days of “the golden club,” subtly alluding to the new paradigm of wealth and commercial imperatives being imposed on their world. Continue reading

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‘Hunger Like They’ve Never Seen It Before’: US Food Banks Struggle as 1 in 6 Families With Children Don’t Have Enough to Eat

“We’re now seeing families who had an emergency fund but it’s gone and they’re at the end of their rope,” said one Texas food bank director.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27=2020

Lines for a food bank in Little Rock, Arkansas. Screenshot: CNN

One in six U.S. families with children don’t have enough to eat this holiday season, a national emergency exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and the unemployment crisis it has generated. Over the past several days, remarkable reporting in the Washington Post and National Geographic, among other outlets, has explored this alarming trend.

According to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief organization in the U.S., more than 50 million people will experience food insecurity by the end of the year. Among U.S. children, the figure rises to one in four. The group, which runs a network of some 200 food banks across the nation, says it distributed over half a billion meals last month alone, a 52% increase from an average pre-pandemic month. Continue reading

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