This week, I will share information about my upcoming Pride Month Town Hall, reflect on the States Lay the Foundation panel discussion I participated in last week, provide a summer toolkit of information ranging from free activities to how to keep cool on hot days, talk about community events from around the district, and commemorate Juneteenth and Father’s Day. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and for staying informed.
Last Friday, I joined the International Rescue Committee and the Refugee Advocacy Lab on a panel discussion focused on education outcomes for refugee and immigrant children. Representative Dan Johnson of Utah joined me in this conversation; our moderator was Darlene Lynch from The Center for Victims of Torture. We discussed the unique concerns facing children and families of refugee and immigrant communities within our respective states and the policy efforts that we are making to improve education opportunities and outcomes for these students, both in K-12 as well as in higher education. I shared our efforts during this past session, including SB156, legislation that would have increased the number of English language instructors within our public schools. I look forward to continuing the conversation with Representative Johnson as we examine the work in other states to support our refugee and other immigrant communities.
Summer Toolkit: Free Activities
As schools complete this academic year, we know that the official start of summer is less than a week away. Many free activities are available in and around Central Virginia. Here are some highlights:
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has free admission 365 days a year. The Museum also offers special events and exhibitions including art classes and live music. The VMFA events calendar is available here.
The grounds and gardens at Maymont are open daily at no cost. Visitors can stroll through the Japanese and Italian Gardens or visit with animals at the barn and wildlife habitats.
Through a partnership with the Virginia State Parks and the Library of Virginia, families can check out a nature backpack and receive free entry to a Virginia State Park. Available here are a map of participating libraries and additional details about the program.
The James River Park system attracts nearly 2 million visitors every year. Details about trails, bike paths, historical landmarks, and more are available here.
Summer Toolkit: Preparing for Summer Storms & Hurricanes
June 1 marks the start of hurricane season, and it’s important to be prepared for summer storms and weather emergencies in Virginia. Useful information on preparing for hurricanes and floods can be found on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) website. To stay safe, experts recommend the following:
Charge all phone and electronic devices ahead of the severe weather in case the power goes out and there is an emergency
Prepare a supply of basic needs such as food, water, and any medications, which should be enough to last at least 72 hours
It is easy to check and report power outages through Dominion Energy’s website or by calling the outage number at 866-366-4357. Individuals can also register for email or text alerts on storm safety tips and notifications. More information on how to prepare for severe weather can be found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Heat exhaustion occurs when the body has been exposed to extreme heat over a long period of time. Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, or vomiting. Appropriate responses to heat exhaustion are to move to a cool location and lie down, removal of excess clothing, and sipping on water or a sports drink. Individuals whose symptoms last more than an hour should seek medical attention.
Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency, when the body has a temperature of over 103 degrees, red and hot skin, dizziness, confusion, or unconsciousness. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should receive medical attention immediately by calling 911, and efforts should be taken to cool down the body temperature while waiting for help.
Commemorating Juneteenth: Sunday, June 19
Because Juneteenth falls on a Sunday this year, the state and federal holidays will be observed on Monday, June 20. Juneteenth became a state holiday in the Commonwealth in October 2020, after the General Assembly unanimously approved legislation during that year’s Special Session. President Biden officially recognized Juneteenth as a federal holiday in June 2021. Juneteenth marks the day that the news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Galveston, Texas, which was the last state to abolish slavery.
Events will be held across Central Virginia commemorating Juneteenth:
Chesterfield County will be hosting Juneteenth in the Park in partnership with the Virginia State Parks System on Sunday, June 19, from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm at Pocahontas State Park (10301 State Park Road, Chesterfield, VA 23832).
Powhatan Habitat for Humanity will be hosting its second annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18, from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm at 1922 Urbine Road.
The Elegba Folklore Society will be commemorating the 26th anniversary of their event Junteenth, A Freedom Celebration on Sunday, June 26, at the African Burial Ground (1540 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219) from 4:45 pm until 9:00 pm. More information about the event and the history of Juneteenth is available here.
Celebrating Father’s Day
This Sunday commemorates Father’s Day. I wish all fathers and father figures a very pleasant celebration.
Community Events This Week
On Tuesday, my Legislative Assistant, Charles Turner, joined constituents and other elected officials at the Rosedale Civic Association meeting. Charles discussed the state budget, particularly as it relates to education, healthcare, transportation, and taxes. Residents of the Rosedale neighborhood celebrated the news of 5% raises for our public education teachers and staff and increased funding for mental health resources.
Connecting With My Office
My staff continue to hold meetings with constituents via Zoom or by phone. You can sign up for a meeting with either of my staff members with our easy scheduling app: