I got some news recently that I am passing along.
The attempt by the Enrichmond Foundation to acquire Richmond’s East End Cemetery has moved along significantly. In legal terms, this notable African American cemetery is abandoned property, as its trustees have all died or disappeared. A legal advertisement of the court proceedings to transfer the property to “Parity LLC,” an Enrichmond entity, has been published – “This notice is being given prior to any hearing or trial in the pending case for the purpose of making the public aware of the nature of the proceeding, the remedies being sought and the opportunity to share their views with the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Several things are unsettling about this news. First, Enrichmond chose to place its required advertisement of the proceedings in Style Weekly, Richmond’s alternative newsweekly. Though widely circulated, the newsweekly is not known for its African American readership. Why didn’t Enrichmond place the legal ad in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, or the Richmond Free Press, each of which has a much broader African American readership locally?
Second, why didn’t Enrichmond tell the current Friends of East End Cemetery that the proceedings had reached this stage? The Friends, who have been coordinating volunteers and resources at the site daily for the past five years, didn’t get wind of the legal ad until they saw it themselves in the newsweekly, according to those with whom I spoke. This could not have been an oversight on Enrichmond’s part.
Third, how will the courts or Enrichmond handle the fact that a good deal of this property is located in Henrico County, which is beyond the purview of the city’s Enrichmond Foundation?
All of this continues the maddening pattern of Enrichmond’s actions as being closed in its proceedings, despite being a public entity, and as undermining the trust and cooperation of its biggest stakeholders, including descendant families.
I am tired of witnessing things like this from an organization that we should be wanting to see succeed. For those of you with an opinion on these proceedings, I encourage you to contact
Heather Hays Lockerman, Esq.
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219