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Hampton Roads Community News

Community Happenings: Vol. 122, No. 50, Dec 22 – Dec 28, 2022

Urban League To Host 39th MLK Event on January 16

The Urban League of Hampton Roads will host the 39th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Awards on Monday, January 16, 2023, at 8 a.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. The annual event honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognizes community leaders whose contributions exemplify service, and demonstrate the values modeled by Dr. King,

  “We are excited to once again gather together in person to celebrate this important tradition in Hampton Roads. It is incredibly important that we continue to recognize and celebrate those leaders who are relentless in their efforts to contribute to the betterment of our community,” said Gilbert Bland, President and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads.

  The MLK 2023 Award Recipients are Congressman Robert Scott; Shawn Avery; State Sen. Louise Lucas; William Downey;  Steve Lawson,; Rev. Joseph Green, Jr., and George Birdsong.

  Tickets are available online at https://ulhr.org/


Newport News’ Mayor-Elect Among 13 New Mayors Invited To White House

Mayor-elect Phillip D. Jones was in Washington, D.C. recently at the White House attending meetings with senior leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration. The purpose of the visit was to discuss working with the White House on key issues such

as the American Rescue Plan, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other domestic priorities such as public safety and affordable housing for cities such as Newport News. Mayor-elect Jones was one of only 13 newly-elected mayors from across the country selected to attend.

  “I was honored and humbled to have received this invitation,” said Mayor-elect Jones on learning of his selection. “I am looking forward to meeting with White House senior leadership and learning how the Biden-Harris Administration can help support the work that is being done and needs to be done here in Newport News to improve the lives of our citizens.”

Mayor-elect Jones, who will replace outgoing Mayor McKinley Price who served for 12 years, will be sworn in on Jan. 1, 2023.



VAACC Funds Podcast To Highlight Stories Of Black Neighborhoods

The Virginia African American Cultural Center (VAACC) has recently given a subgrant of over $150k  to local audio artists  to highlight African American stories in Virginian Neighborhoods.

VAACC approved the subgrant of  $152,000 from its larger $1 million grant received from the Virginia Tourism Corporation. The subgrant partners Hannah Sobol and Virginia State Delegate Jackie Glass, the creators of the  local audio podcasts “Heard Productions” and “Your Neighbor’s Hood”. Together they will  create a series called, “Truth Be Told.”, an audio podcast series with the purpose of exploring the untold history of Black neighborhoods in the Commonwealth area. Over the next two years, their project will partner with historians to tell stories about the Commonwealth of Virginia, starting in Virginia Beach, and it will expand from there.

When asked about the goals put in place for the new audio series, Glass says, “I am hoping that the unmarked places become marked.” With the current climate in the country being  a bit polarizing around history, she “hopes that it gives people insight as to why the current things that we are doing are the way that they are and how a lot of this history that we have of Black neighborhoods  and Black spaces and Black existences have been both purposely and accidentally ignored or not acknowledged or not celebrated.”


Donovon Lynch Family Settles In Suit Filed After His 2021 Death

Twenty months after Donovon Lynch was shot to death by a Virginia Beach Policeman, his family and the city reached a $3 million settlement on December 14.

Wayne Lynch, the father of the 25-year-old man, said that his son had been “vindicated” after the announcement of the settlement.

Donavan Lynch died after he was shot in the torso and thigh by a Virginia Beach police officer near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in March 2021. The fatality happened as police officers were responding to a series of civilian shootings near the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Virginia Beach police said both the officer who shot Lynch and another officer told homicide detectives at the time that Lynch – who was a cousin of singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams – had a handgun when he was shot.

Wayne Lynch, the father of Donovon, filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Virginia Beach and one of its police officers in the summer of 2021, just months after the deadly encounter.


        Initially, Lynch’s family filed a $50 million dollar suit.

During a press conference on Dec. 14, The Lynch’s attorney, Justin Fairfax, spoke with reporters: “We knew the truth from day one. We knew that Donovon Lynch had nothing to do with the events of that night and nothing to do with his own death.”

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