Dogwood Download: Things You Should Know For Friday, April 2

By Megan Schiffres

April 2, 2021

Virginia’s governor creates a grant program for descendants of enslaved people, a deer wins a fight with a bus, and a judge rules Virginia Beach’s voting system is illegal.

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Daily Number

5,437,988 – Happy World Autism Awareness Day! Our daily number, 5,437,988, is the number of adults that the CDC estimates are living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the US. People with ASD make up 2.2% of the population, according to the CDC.

Oh Deer! Animal’s Morning Jog Rudely Interrupted by Powhatan School Bus

A Powhatan County school bus struck a deer yesterday morning on the way to school. Somehow, the deer walked away in better shape than the bus!

No one sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident that the video below depicts.

According to Powhatan Today Newspaper, it was around 6 a.m. and the bus was traveling on Old Buckingham Road when the deer came flying through the windshield of the bus.

The deer landed on a student in the front right seat. That student said later in the video that he was sleeping. The deer then scrambles around the front of the bus.

It takes the driver about ten seconds to stop the bus and open the doors so the deer can escape. During that time, the deer moves around frantically. But when the doors open, it gets up and runs away.

Here’s the kicker.

About a minute later, a man walks to the open bus doors to tell the driver that the deer is not hurt.

“He’s still running across the field back there,” the man says.

No Ruling Yet In Amanda Chase Lawsuit Against Senate of Virginia

Following hours of arguments Thursday, a federal judge did not take immediate action in the case of Amanda Chase’s lawsuit against the Senate of Virginia.

Chase filed the suit in February, days after the Senate voted to censure her for a “pattern of unacceptable conduct”.

RELATED: Chase Sues Virginia Senate, Claiming Censure Vote Violated Her Rights

The conduct Chase was censured for includes her voiced support of the white supremacist domestic terrorists who attacked the Capitol in January, her history of racist remarks and actions, and her spreading of misinformation about the results of the 2020 election.

In court documents filed in February, Chase claims the Senate violated her constitutional rights when they failed to follow their own procedures, and when they censured her for exercising her First Amendment rights to free speech and political expression.

According to reporting by The Associated Press, US District Judge Robert E. Payne had questions for both attorneys in the case Thursday, but indicated he would issue a ruling later.

Northam Signs Bill Creating Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship and Memorial Program

This week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation to create the Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship and Memorial Program.

This program, according to the bill, is “established for the purpose of reckoning with the history of the Commonwealth, addressing the long legacy of slavery in the Commonwealth, and acknowledging that the foundational success of several public institutions of higher education was based on the labor of enslaved individuals.”

The program will do this by requiring the universities participating in it to identify and memorialize, to the extent possible, all enslaved individuals who labored on former and current institutionally controlled grounds and property.

The bill will also force universities to address the lingering harms of enslavement today.

Under the program, universities must begin providing a tangible benefit, such as a college scholarship or community-based economic development program, for individuals or specific communities with a demonstrated historic connection to slavery. These benefits must also empower families to disengage from the cycle of poverty. Funding to provide these benefits can not come from the state. Universities also can not raise tuition to pay for this program.

Five public colleges and universities will execute the program. They include Longwood University, the University of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Military Institute, and The College of William and Mary.

These colleges were chosen because they were established before the Civil War ended. And, because they all used the labor of enslaved people to build their institutions, according to reporting by WUSA9.

Question of the Day: What Do You Hope Charlottesville Replaces Its Confederate Statues With?

Judge Rules Virginia Beach Voting System Illegal

A judge ruled Virginia Beach’s at-large system of conducting local elections illegal on Wednesday.

This system allowed voters across the city to cast ballots for candidates in any City Council or school board race, regardless of where those voters actually live.

According to the memorandum issued by US District Judge Raymond Jackson, this system “denies Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians equal access to the electoral and political process, in contravention of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

The Voting Rights Act states that “All citizens of the United States who are otherwise qualified by law to vote… shall be entitled and allowed to vote at all such elections, without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The memorandum instructs the city to stop using the existing at-large voting system at once.

Jackson’s ruling comes weeks after Governor Northam signed legislation that would have also revised the election process in Virginia Beach. This legislation required candidates elected to local governing bodies and school boards to be “elected by the qualified voters of that district or ward and not by the locality at large.”

However, this legislation would not have taken effect until January 1, 2022.

Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: Alan L. Hart

Alan L. Hart was one of the first trans men to undergo a hysterectomy in the US in 1917-18. He pioneered the use of x-ray photography in detecting tuberculosis. This helped implement TB screening programs that saved thousands of lives.

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