A Joint Statement on Racist Tagging at Richmond Area Black and Jewish Cemeteries
Four Richmond area cemeteries were recently the target of racist vandalism. Gravestones and entrances were spray-painted using the Neo-Nazi symbol 777 at Historic Evergreen and East End Cemeteries, where the gravesite of renowned trailblazer Maggie Walker was tagged, along with Barton Heights Cemeteries, and Sir Moses Montefiore Cemetery, an Orthodox Jewish Cemetery.
All four cemeteries tagged in this cowardly act of hate are sacred spaces for both the Black and Jewish communities. Whether the perpetrators are hardened supremacists or ignorant vandals, this desecration simply cannot be tolerated.
In the current climate, where racial and social justice are being discussed openly in our community, these acts are designed to stoke fear in the hearts of both Jewish and Black communities. We stand together today in proclaiming that we are not in any way deterred from speaking out.
Attacks such as these are meant to remind both communities of a past where we were not welcome as full participants in the greater society. Together, we say loudly and clearly that we reject that message.
In 2020, the arc of the moral universe is most definitely bending toward justice. Equal justice, fairness, and increased inclusion are Richmond’s future. Heinous acts like this belong in its past.
The volunteer and professional leadership of the Richmond Virginia Branch NAACP, Henrico County NAACP, the Baptist Ministers Conference of Richmond and Vicinity, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, and the Richmond Council of Congregational Rabbis, along with the trustees of the impacted cemeteries and the government officials from the districts where these cemeteries are located – along with many, many friends and allies - stand together in condemning all such acts of racism.
Hate does not discriminate, and bias and bigotry against both the Black and Jewish communities is a shared history. We are committed to a brighter future – a future that will only improve through government reforms, education, personal conviction, and action. With strong bridges between our two communities, we know we can create a safer and more just Greater Richmond.
Richmond Virginia Branch NAACP – James “JJ” Minor III, President
Henrico County NAACP – Rai Beasley, President
Baptist Ministers Conference of Richmond & Vicinity – Dr. Emanuel C. Harris, President
Jewish Community Federation of Richmond – Daniel Staffenberg, CEO; Ellen Renee Adams, President
Richmond Council of Congregational Rabbis – Rabbi Hal Schevitz, Chair
Enrichmond Foundation: Caretaker and Steward of Historic Evergreen and East End Cemeteries – John Sydnor, Executive Director
Keneseth Beth Israel and the Trustees of the Sir Moses Montefiore Cemetery
Congressman Donald McEachin – VA 4th Congressional District
Senator Jennifer McClellan – District 9
Senator Joseph Morrissey – District 16
Delegate Delores McQuinn – District 70
Delegate Jeff Bourne – District 71
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney
Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille – 7th Voter District (President)
Councilwoman Ellen Robertson – 6th Voter District
Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas
Supervisor Tyrone Nelson – Varina Magisterial District, Henrico County
Greater Richmond Area Supporting Legislators:
Senator Ghazala Hashmi – District 10
Delegate Lashrecse Aird – District 63
Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg – District 72
Delegate Betsy Carr – District 69
Delegate Rodney Willett – District 73
(List in Formation)