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What's a nice gal like Roxane doing with Jim?; Children still exposed to violence; Empathetic politicians deserve support; Corporate powers want the poor out of Richmond 

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What's a nice gal like Roxane doing with Jim?
Wow, Roxane Gilmore seems like an inspiration Cover story, June 20. She is well-rounded and capable. Her ongoing teaching at Randolph-Macon demonstrates a solid commitment to intellectual pursuits. She's a great role model for Virginia's young women. Why then is her husband such a jerk? Virginia is second only to Texas in numbers of state-sponsored executions. Hugh Finn's family members deserved more respect than to be harassed in the hour of their most grave decision to respect his living will.

And now the governor supports the King William dam, which will destroy the Mattaponi Indian economy by eliminating migratory shad and killing off endangered plants. The dam also will flood a burial ground and bury a treaty that has been honored since 1638.

How can a woman with avid interest in Virginia's history allow such an appalling and egregious insult to go on? Roxane, rein in your man!

James L. Sparks Jr.



Children still exposed to violence
F. T. Rea's article "The Sound" Back Page, June 20 struck a chord with me because, unfortunately, the story he told from his campaign in 1984 could have happened last week. I was talking to children in Gilpin Court in May and heard hauntingly similar stories.

The Action Alliance for Virginia's Children and Youth and a group from the Leadership Metro Richmond Class of 2000 held the Metro Richmond Child Watch on Youth Violence on May 10, 2000. We hosted approximately 30 community leaders on a tour of sites in the greater Richmond area to learn how violence affects children and youth. One of the activities during the day was a forum with children and parents held at the Calhoun Center in Gilpin Court.

When asked whether they had ever witnessed a shooting, almost all hands went up. Young men and women bravely shared their stories with total strangers, in the hope that their voices could somehow be heard - that sharing their experiences could somehow make a difference.

The Action Alliance, a statewide child advocacy organization, is spearheading a violence prevention effort in the metro Richmond area so that these stories will not have been told in vain.

First, we are developing a local coalition so that organizations and individuals working on violence prevention initiatives can share information and work together. Many people are working very hard so that children in urban, as well as suburban, neighborhoods do not have to live with violence - and many of them are meeting with success.

Second, we are supporting a model program that addresses the psychological effects of violence on children. The Child Violence Intervention Project, developed by Dr. Margaret Dolan of the Medical College of Virginia and supported by a multi-agency steering committee, will provide emergency psychological services to children who have witnessed or experienced violence and trauma. This project will work with hospital personnel, police, emergency medical technicians, schools and community members to help children who are traumatized by violence. Together, we hope to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Thank you, Style, for bringing to our attention such an important story. For more information, please call (804) 649-0184 or e-mail margaret@vakids.org.

Margaret L. Nimmo
Senior Program and Policy Director
Action Alliance for Virginia's Children and Youth




Empathetic politicians deserve support
I'm hoping that F.T. Rea is unknown to me because he was not running in my district rather than his perception that almost no one knew he was running Back Page, June 20. I would have been thrilled to vote for him and even campaigned for him. Politicians who can feel the tragedy of inner-city violence are national treasures.

Try again, Mr. Rea, and feel free to give me a call to help out.

Mindy Loiselle



Corporate powers want the poor out of Richmond
I just finished reading the article on Jackson Ward, " Complex Vision" Metro, June 27. I found the analysis to be cursory at best. The article failed to mention Oregon Hill, another poor, historical neighborhood that also has been isolated and targeted by rich developers for its strategic location. Was a comparison not made because Oregon Hill is white and Jackson Ward is black? Also neglected is the push against The Daily Planet, where a lot of the poorer residents of Jackson Ward seek assistance.

The fact is that a citywide pattern emerges that includes everything from increased parking enforcement to obstacles to small businesses on Grace Street. All of this points to conservative corporate entities, operating both in and out of view, that are doing their best to force poor people out of Richmond at the same time they are promoting white elephants like The Canal Walk.

I am for renovation, but not at the undue expense of city residents. If the media in this city had any independent backbone they would do more to illuminate this immoral situation.

Scott Burger
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