When the Worlds Came to Richmond

October 1, 2015 by Erica Stewart

Last week, we took our #SaveShockoe message to the Worlds! The UCI Road World Championship bike races, that is. For just the second time in its history, cycling's pinnacle event was held in the US, and Richmond was chosen as host. We used the opportunity to join our partners in urging Mayor Jones to drop his plan for baseball in Shockoe Bottom and instead support the nine acre memorial park plan.

In a press statement, National Trust vice president of Public Affairs, Germonique Ulmer argued that: "There is renewed public debate across the country about how we understand and memorialize the painful legacy of slavery, and Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom lies in the crosshairs of this important conversation. As the international cycling world’s attention focuses on this historic southern city, its leaders should take a thoughtful look at this sacred site and plan for a future that respects its significance, not just to Richmond, but to the whole world."

Our support for the nine acre memorial park concept was also conveyed in a timely letter to the editor in the Washington Post by our president, Stephanie Meeks, which stated that "this park would provide much-needed space for learning, reflection and healing of slavery’s lasting scars and a powerful template for how we should address the complex and difficult history of the 'peculiar institution' nationwide. It would also be a testament to Mr. Jones’s forward-thinking leadership in Richmond, long after the bike races have run their course."

We brought this message to the crowd of international spectators during the men's and women's elite races, to a very warm reception. Join us in urging Mayor Jones to adopt the Sacred Ground Memorial Park plan!

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