Recent Free Press article ‘was not a forum for litigation or absolution’
2/16/2023, 6 p.m.
In my conversations with Mr. Jeremy Lazarus that resulted in the Jan. 26-28 edition of the Richmond Free Press article, “It’s Complicated,” I believe that I was clear in stating that I became an Enrichmond board member in October of 2017.
Once I accepted a position as an employee, I was no longer a board member. My position as community ambassador began May 2021. The purpose of the Free Press article was to inform the public that the city is moving in good faith regarding Enrichmond’s partner renumeration. The article, in my opinion, was not a forum for litigation or absolution.
Yet, the response in a Free Press Feb. 2-4 Letter to the Editor stating the article is “inaccurate and misleading” comes off as an attempt to throw shade at me and my family’s work. You found documents pertaining to my board membership. However, someone neglected to “discover” documents that show when I became a salaried employee. Most people know you cannot be an employee and a board member at the same time.
After working as an electrician’s apprentice during COVID-19 shutdowns, it was a joy to work beside other Richmonders on the cemetery grounds by hosting volunteer groups and working with descendants daily. Our goal was to maintain the work of volunteers. Despite selective photo images and secondhand accounts to the contrary, I believe that we were effective.
Regarding the critique of “securing an agreement with VOF (Virginia Outdoors Foundation).” Tell me where in Mr. Lazarus’ article is the implication that I was compensated in any form? Additionally, our family foundation’s ongoing transition doesn’t involve “cemetery maintenance.”
My personal work has been that of a volunteer since July of 2022. The contractor used came directly by recommendations from people at Woodland Cemetery. I worked hard to find several options in order to maintain the upper section of Evergreen during the growing season.
I’m proud that an excellent licensed Black contractor with experience was found to mow and maintain grounds throughout the city. So was permission needed from the Descendants Council to cut the grass?
Safe and clean access was being maintained with the help of the men of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Daniel #7 Masonic Lodge, MilitaryVets from The Mission Continues, and descendants that called me every week. I was not compensated for my time. Nor did I ask to be.
As Enrichmond staff were dismissed, I personally reached out to have discussions with both The Friends of East End and my friends on the Descendants Council. Through honest conversations, many have been hopeful that all of us can return to the real business at hand. Meanwhile, others recently ignored my online communication and also informed me by text that “... to talk to you again, it will be in a public forum.” Which, I am to assume, refers to my dealings with Enrichmond.
Yet, I remain here to offer help regarding the cemeteries.
The Richmond Planet Foundation