On Thursday, September 2nd, 2021, the State Supreme Court of Virginia issued a unanimous ruling allowing the state to remove an iconic and controversial statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from its prominent Richmond location. On Wednesday, September 8th at approximately 8:54 am the statue was removed from its pedestal and dismembered.

Citing testimony from state historians, the court noted that the sizeable statue was erected in 1890 with the purpose of honoring a pre-Civil War existence that promoted the oppression of Black people. The justices went on to state that its continuous display “communicates principles that many believe to be inconsistent with the values the Commonwealth currently wishes to express.”

The decision resulted from two lawsuits filed by Virginia residents seeking to block Governor Ralph Northam’s order to remove the sculpture. The petitioners relied on a promise that state leaders made under the 1887 and 1890 ownership deeds to maintain the statue indefinitely. Holding that the obligation no longer exists, the justices wrote, “Those restrictive covenants are unenforceable as contrary to public policy and for being unreasonable because their effect is to compel … the Commonwealth to express, in perpetuity, a message with which it now disagrees.”

The decision to remove the statue was made shortly after George Floyd’s murder in the midst of widespread protests. The 21-foot monument became an emblem of the movement within the state of Virginia as protestors gathered there on a daily basis and covered it in symbolic graffiti. Northam reportedly called the Supreme Court ruling “a tremendous win for the people of Virginia.”

State Senator Louise Lucas, tweeted, “For far too long, the Lee statue stood tall in our capital and represented nothing but division and white supremacy — but it is finally coming down.” The Lee statue was the first of five Confederate monuments erected on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. While many residents celebrated the statue of the native Virginian, Black residents have long viewed the monuments as glorifying slavery. The city of Richmond has removed more than a dozen other pieces of Confederate statuary on city land since Floyd’s death, which prompted the removal of Confederate monuments in cities across the country.

Let us know your thoughts on this historic court ruling, and the statue’s subsequent removal, in the comments below.

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Category: SOCIAL JUSTICE

Experts often compare microaggressions to death by a thousand little cuts. Whether you’ve been on the receiving end of a microaggression or the victim of an annoying papercut, you understand the level of pain referenced by this vivid comparison. Many Black women experience microaggressions so often that coping with them seems like an impossible task. However, though ignoring them may seem tempting, the toll that these comments, insults and slights can take on your mental and physical health should not be taken lightly.

How many times have you asked yourself any of the following questions: Was that really a microaggression? Should I say something? What should I say? You may even be so used to these violations that you ignore them and never ask yourself any of these questions.

Here are some tips that experts offer for dealing with the stress of microaggressions:

First, remain calm and take a deep breath. Your anger is understandable but responding from that anger may end up hurting you more than the offender. Honor your feelings but take a pause and try not to react right away.

Kevin Nadal, a professor of psychology at John Jay College, developed a toolkit called the Guide to Responding to Microaggressions. In it, he suggests asking yourself the following questions:

  • If I respond, could my physical safety be in danger?
  • If I respond, will the person become defensive and will this lead to an argument?
  • If I respond, how will this affect my relationship with this person (co-worker, acquaintance, family member)
  • If I don’t respond, will I regret not saying something?
  • If I don’t respond, does that convey that I accept their behavior?

It can be emotionally draining to bear the burden of thinking through your response to microaggression, but it is ultimately for your own good and not for the benefit of the aggressor. Think about what you want to accomplish with your response. Are you looking for a particular solution or do you just want to feel heard? Maybe your interest lies in educating the other person so they know that what they did was wrong. Having an end goal in mind can help you shape the most appropriate response.

Most importantly, practice self-care. When you experience microaggressions, a safe place to discuss your thoughts is extremely valuable. Whether with likeminded co-workers, family members or Sorors, expressing your feelings needs to be a part of your coping process.

Do you regularly deal with microaggressions? Let us know in the comments.

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Category: SOCIAL JUSTICE

On January 18th, 2021, just three days before the inauguration, the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. , and members of the Ivy Navy, were featured on the CBS news article entitled, “Meet Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ “secret weapon”: Her sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha.” Esteemed news anchor, Pretty Girl, and Howard University alumnae,

Michelle Miller, traveled back to the Mecca to meet Vice President Kamala Harris’s line sisters who spoke on how both Alpha Kappa Alpha and Howard University prepared her path to the Vice Presidency. Monique Poydras, Dr. Elaine Witter, and Carla Mannings were initiated with Vice President Kamala Harris in 1986 in the Alpha Chapter at Howard University, the birthplace of this illustrious sisterhood. While the world was suddenly becoming more acquainted with salmon pink and apple green, Kamala Harris’s vice-presidential bid came as no surprise to her line sisters as they recalled how she was a natural born leader, always lending a hand to her Sorors, and performing at optimal levels as a student at Howard University.

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Additionally, they spoke on how Alpha Kappa Alpha was at the helm of the election cycle, its long-standing history of civic engagement, and the collective power of its nearly 300,000 members. It is no secret that it was the Black women in major metropolises who despite extremely long voting lines, shortages of ballots, and technical issues with machines strolled to the polls in numbers and made way for Kamala Harris to become the first woman, the first African American, the first South Asian American, and the first Historically Black College and University (HBCU) graduate to be elected as Vice President of the United States.

The women of Alpha Kappa Alpha were especially visible this election cycle and sported their Ivy Box Stroll to the Polls t-shirts and Vote 2020 crewneck sweaters at voting booths across the nation. To capture and commemorate the moment, we launched our Voting While Gorgeous Virtual Photo Booth where thousands of Pretty Girls documented their civic activism. We then transformed the photos into a White House mosaic that was included in January’s Ivy Box!

The Ivy Times is very honored to have been a part of this historic moment in history, honored to call the women of Alpha Kappa Alpha our family, and honored to create fashions that you wear in your most important moments!

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