A Ring Around the Diamond


Opposed to Shockoe Stadium? Want to keep baseball on the Boulevard?

Let’s go to the Diamond on Sunday, July 27, at 2 p.m. and give folks in Richmond something new to talk about — the will of the people.

Update: The event has been rescheduled to Sunday, August 3, at 2 p.m.

Thinking about a stunt/demonstration to dramatize the opposition to building a Shockoe Bottom stadium a friend and I walked around the Diamond. Staying on public property, it took something a little less than 1,000 strides of about three feet each.

We guessed each step would represent one person. Thus, we determined it would take about 1,000 people to surround the Diamond, while standing/parading on public property. Voila! a ring around the Diamond.

If people just show up on Sunday afternoon — flash-mob-style — carrying signs, singing songs, chanting slogans, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, etc., I bet that lively scene will appeal to photographers, some of them with the working press. By the way, the Flying Squirrels will be playing out of town.

Once it gets underway, text messages and Facebook posts would be flying around town saying, “join us!” Let’s say the whole thing would take an hour, or so. Virtually no money would need be spent and hopefully no laws would be broken. If 2,000 people show up we could put two rings around the Diamond.

During 2014, in reacting to Mayor Dwight Jones’ so-called “revitalization” plan, some of Richmond’s most determined activists have been busy working against it. The baseball stadium aspect of the plan has drawn the most attention. Creative ways of expressing opposition and connecting with the like-minded have come from a number of citizens. They have included: Bridg Allen; Scott Burger; Ana Edwards; Lillie Estes; Farid Alan Schintzius; Spencer Turner; Phil Wilayto. They, and others, have used Facebook and other means of modern communication trying to galvanize the opposition, but there‘s been little cooperation.

So far, the prize-winner was a demonstration, on Apr. 28, by local high school students at City Hall. Naturally, when Mayor Jones met with the students he blew off their grievances about the city’s skewed spending priorities.

A month later a five-member-majority of City Council — Agelasto; Baliles; Hilbert; Samuels; Trammell — formed to oppose certain aspects of the mayor’s plan. Whether they will stay together remains to be seen.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have had a hand in starting an anti-Shockoe Stadium Facebook group: Referendum? Bring It On! And, I’ve participated as a member of the Citizens Referendum Group. One of the things that level of involvement has taught me is that if all of the opposition in Richmond had coalesced during the year, we would not still be talking about Shockoe Stadium.

That hasn’t happened because the opposition hasn’t been led by a well-funded, well-organized group. Nothing has happened that would allow/encourage all of those who oppose the Mayor Jones’ plans for the Boulevard and Shockoe Bottom to come together and demonstrate their solidarity.

On Sunday, July 27, at 2 p.m.

On Sunday, August 3, at 2 p.m. that could change. Help us put a ring around the Diamond and create a scene that we‘ll always remember with a smile.

To visit the Facebook event page for this happening click here.

Update (July 25): STYLE Weekly: “A Diamond Ring”


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