Trey Jackson 
Member since Feb 25, 2015


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Re: “Interview: Hannibal Buress Discusses His Next Movie and Takes on Confederate Statues

I can certainly understand and appreciate that Mr. Burress has an opinion about the statues and buildings that reflect the history and tragic period of time in Richmond and Virginia. As a non-resident and just a short term guest of the city, his views are certainly welcome. That's the freedom we have for living in the US. The monuments and statues along Monument Ave. and other locations in the city reflect the history and architecture of the neighborhoods where they are located as well as the individual for whom the statue is commemorating. But when one looks at art work or historical items, one has to also have an understanding of the artists or the history and background of the item. One as to look to the time and try to grasp that idea, then temper it and put it into context with their own background. That has to be done rationally and logically, albeit even tempered by their own experience and background.

There have been disagreements about the statues, even when they were planned and erected on those locations. Even the current statue of Maggie Walker is not without its controversy. There was a strong push to have the statue of Arthur Ashe placed in Byrd Park at the tennis courts where he was not allowed to play. In both cases, the wishes of individuals and groups that had/have the city fathers in their pockets over ruled the opposition of placement (not the reason to have one or even the fact that one needs to be erected) and those statues were placed or are being placed in their location.

The spending of money for removing and relocating those statues, in a city that is already strapped for cash to even run an effective school system is unfathomable. That money could be and should be spent on education and even the building and maintenance of markers and educational displays that tells the true story of the times and the individual's role in history. It's amazing how inexpensive and more effective education is than emotional decision making can be.

Yes, I understand that there is an emotional part that is hard to fathom for many who see monuments. I for one, think that the Arthur Ashe monument is needed, but the artistic rendering on that monument is hideous. That's an opinion based on my observation. Perhaps, with more education about the rendering, I might change my mind. And with the currents monuments out there, more appropriate educational displays and programs, done with logic and rational thought and designed to complete the story about that tragic time in U.S. history would be better for all and stop the divisiveness and animosity that exists and the city can move forward and continue to grow. A view to the future with an eye on the past is how things heal. Irrational and emotional reactions only creates strife and that bodes no one well.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Trey Jackson on 10/05/2016 at 11:57 AM

Re: “Opinion: Will 2016 Be the Turning Point for Richmond's Confederate Monuments?

As one person said, this is a "difficult" issue. Well, it's only difficult for those who make it difficult. Have we as a country become so sensitive and thin skinned that any and everything that can or could offend us be mandated to be removed? Are we as a nation, state, and a city willing to rewrite history because some one or some people are offended. Are we that naive to believe that rewriting history will be the "magic medicine" that cures what is wrong with our society.

No, I am not denying that the Civil War happened. Neither am I denying that what happened to a large segment of the population was wrong, morally and ethically, even if it was legal at that time. But should the sins of the fathers be placed upon the current great, great grandchildren? Should we wear rose colored glasses that show everything as being "politically correct", which can and does change frequently, according to the standard de jour?

For almost 100 years, those statues as well as others in and around the city have stood. The reasons for their placement there could be construed as being "wrong" when looking at them now, but when they were placed at their locations, the were determined to be "right and appropriate". We should not judge others for their decisions in the past. We don't know what was going through their minds and anything else would be pure speculation.

As for removing them from their current locations, I, and I'm sure, a lot of others from Richmond and other areas of the country would agree, is neither appropriate or prudent. With a city government that is corrupt and mismanaged as it is; with the public school system being financially gutted by the current city government at the expense of the youth and future of the city; with public parks, such as Monroe Park, being virtually given away to a private organization; with an infrastructure of streets, water and sewer systems, bridges, storm water systems, falling apart as this is written, in spite of the hard work by city workers to maintain them; and a host of other issues, it is neither the time nor the place for a city to decide whether to remove something.

Wouldn't a more appropriate solution to the issue be to educate people about not only the statues, but also the meaning of them, as well as the part of history that they do not share? Would not signage, markers, and information on city brochures, websites, at public libraries, and city hall make more sense to have to educate people about the history of the city and include the "good, the bad, and the ugly"? Wouldn't it be keeping with the artistic and historical significance of the avenue and the architecture that currently are found there? And would not additional monuments, as money and appropriate subject matters be found, be more appropriate to the name, "Monument Ave"?

11 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Trey Jackson on 03/17/2016 at 4:35 PM

Re: “Scapegoats

I too taught in a middle school with a week kneed administration who was more concerned with chasing test scores than running a school where kids were held accountable, where discipline was fair, just, and rapidly administered. I was assaulted by a 7th grade boy and then had my glasses knocked off of my head when hit in the back of the head by a thrown basketball. When I defended myself according to school policies and training, the student and his compatriots outright lied to the administration and said that I grabbed him and struck him first. I had been told to not send any students to the office nor was I even given a key to the locker room or the gym office. Students stole equipment and vandalized items when I was in the locker room supervising the students or when I was upstairs in the gym. I was told to "lock the offices/locker room" and also supervise my students. I was summarily fired for this reason.

Being that the state I'm in right now is an "at will" state, and the fact that I was considered a long term sub, I had no legal rights at all to defend myself. This is the sort of things that teachers face every day in too many schools and too many systems. It's not just a RPS problem, it's a societal problem. Until schools are allowed to use the tools to run the schools that had been used in the past, this sort of behavior will continue. Unless the schools stop teaching for the damned tests and start teaching the students the skills and applications they need for success in life, all we are doing is feeding the fire and not putting out the fire of failure in schools.

I had given my life, my money, my soul to teach and be the best damned teacher I could. My career and my income were tossed out of the door by a spineless and gutless administrator who was more worried about covering their backside than supporting the teachers. As a note, that principal and assistant superintendent were fired the very next fall for failure to be effective administrators. They went on to get cushy jobs else where in education. Me, on the other hand, had my career ruined.

Don't trash the writer of this article unless one has been in the schools and actually witnessed what's going on. Visit the schools and not the "Taj Majal" ones with the gifted and talented students grouped together. Go to the ones like this school and spend a week as a visitor just watching and taking notes. Watch the great teachers struggle each and every day and watch them get worn down daily. Listen to them talk about "moving to a beach and being a bum", not because they hate teaching, but because they hate being blamed for the things that are going on in schools. Yes, there are bad teachers, but those get weeded out much faster. You probably never saw "bad" teachers at MLK school, but dedicated teachers who are just plain tuckered out, mentally and physically.

54 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Trey Jackson on 02/25/2015 at 2:51 PM

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