The online/paper petitions to keep Monroe Park partially open during renovations have now reached more than 1,000 signatures! To celebrate, All the Saints Theater Company is throwing the campaign a party! No, make that a festival! Monroe Park, January 15th @ 12-4pm!
There will be tons of musical acts performing, including No BS! Brass Band, Dave Watkins, Pedals On Our Pirate Ships, Diamond Center, Gull, Julie Karr, Lobo Marino, Better Not Makeouts (All the Saints folks!), Alison Self, Cmilk and Reeverb Collective, Just Plain Sounds Hip Hop Collective and more! With the musicians playing simultaneously at three separate stages, you’re sure to hear something you like. Free refreshments (including warm drinks for the cold) are being donated by some of Richmond’s most awesome local establishments that support the campaign, including Lamplighter Coffee, Cafe Gutenberg, Crossroads and others. The Really Really Free Market will be there with free stuff. Giant puppets! Pickup truck troubadours! Audio and video documentation! This is going to be huge.
Backing up a bit…
The campaign to keep 25%-50% of Monroe Park open during renovations has garnered quite a bit of attention since its inception a couple of months ago! People from all over the city are making active efforts to show how valuable this public space is to Richmond. The press has taken note too, and we’ve seen editorials, articles, interviews and television coverage from The Richmond Times-Dispatch, to Style Weekly, to RichmondMagazine.com.
A number of student groups, churches and social justice groups have now pledged their support to keeping Monroe open and free.
Thanks to the VCU’s Bachelors of Social Work Student Association, who not only have signed on as a group, but are offering to host awareness-raising events at VCU!
Thanks to Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, who had this to say to their congregation:
- Many of you may be aware of the recent plans from Councilmen Charles Samuels to close Monroe Park for renovation in such a way as to destroy the central service of the park to our homeless brothers and sisters, as well as multiple faith based and secular groups, who feed and minister to the homeless population of the park. The Cathedral Community will be affected by this decision in multiple ways. Most sadly, the burden for our daily door ministry will increase, while the Sunday population that allows us to share our Christian love and calling will be scattered and harmed. Let us all be challenged to keep the indignity of homelessness before us so that we are continually called to act. We ask that you pray on this issue and act. Please support the petition to keep portions of Monroe Park open during renovation…
Speaking of Samuels, he hasn’t been doing so well. The noise ordinance he helped to craft – which prevented anyone from ever making a sound that can be heard 50 feet away, or by anyone other than themselves at night – has now been ruled unconstitutional in a Richmond court.
In addition, the open forum he hosted last month didn’t quite go as he’d planned. The 100 attendees were divided into tables, and even though it was specifically designed to exclude conversation about keeping portions of Monroe Park open during renovations, more than half of the tables asked that the park either close in sections (the primary demand of this campaign), or that it be more thoroughly explored as an option. Even members of the campaign were surprised by the overall support for keeping the park open! Check out the condensed version if you haven’t seen it:
We thank you for your continued support on such a pressing issue, and hope to see many of you at the park to celebrate our 1,000th signature on January 15th!