Conscious, Conscience, and Community: Alexandria’s Continuing Journey in Pursuit of African American Historical Justice
When Pamela Cressey was appointed as City Archeologist for Alexandria, Virginia, in 1977, she found the city that called itself “America’s most historic city” primarily focused on historic sites related to George Washington and Robert E. Lee, both of whom played important parts in the city’s history. The city was proud of its past, but what was missing in a city with a 30% African American population was information about its African American history.
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach, one of Virginia’s many treasures, was featured on June 16, 2021, on AARP’s Virginia Treasures series. Educator Rachel Clark introduced attendees to the denizens of two of the Center’s aquariums, both of which are reproductions of actual marine habitats in the waters off Virginia’s coast.
One of Virginia’s many treasures is the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. On July 14, 2021, Dr. Kelly Herbst, Astronomy Curator for the Museum, took attendees on a trip through our solar system in a presentation of AARP’s Virginia Treasures series.
In his book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home, University of Maryland historian Dr. Richard Bell recounts the harrowing tale of these boys, including their escape to freedom. On April 28, 2021, during an Osher Lifetime Learning Institute (OLLI) virtual lecture, Bell used the saga of the boys as an example to educate listeners about the Reverse Underground Railroad. This OLLI lecture was one of a series of free events presented in collaboration with AARP Virginia and George Mason University.
Rounding out November as Caregivers’ Month, AARP Virginia’s Lily Liu hosted Melissa Andrews of LeadingAge Virginia on November 20, 2020, in a Caring Conversations discussion on Dementia Friendly Communities.
2020 is only half over, but so far it has been a year of many unexpected hardships, changes, and adjustments to our normal way of life. Resilience is the capacity to overcome difficulties, and in a timely webinar on June 24, Dr. Madelyn Blair shared insights with about 30 participants on how to achieve personal resilience.
“Should I stay or should I go?” When The Clash sang those words back in the 1980s, they likely didn’t realize how relevant they would be to the attendees of the Housing Options and Home Improvement program presented at Beatley Library in Alexandria on February 20, 2020. The program was offered as part of the Senior Services of Alexandria’s Speaker Series.
If Dr. Robert Lindsay has his way, Virginia’s “Welcome” signs would all read “Virginia is for Caregivers” instead of the famous “Virginia is for Lovers.” According to a 2015 survey, one in five Virginians serves as a caregiver in some capacity, and these numbers are likely to increase as the Baby Boomer population ages. And Dr. Lindsay, founder of the Lindsay Institute for Innovations in Caregiving, believes Virginia communities should do more to support those in caregiving roles.
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