The Democratic Convention won plaudits for its creative all-virtual roll call vote last week, as viewers were taken on a hokey, state-by-state tour of the country. Charlottesville local and Gold Star father Khizr Khan, who made a name for himself by delivering an impassioned speech at the 2016 convention, represented Virginia in the roll call.
Khan delivered his brief remarks in front of the free speech wall downtown. But sharp-eyed Twitter user @fern_cliff noticed that the colorful “Joe Biden” and “Vote 2020” written on the wall behind Khan had been chalked on top of preexisting Black Lives Matter protest art.
In one corner of the wall, the words “systemic racism” poke out from between the “Joe” and the “Biden.”
On the campaign trail, Biden has repeatedly mentioned that the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville—and Donald Trump’s ensuing “very fine people on both sides” comments—inspired his presidential run. The first words of Biden’s official campaign announcement in April 2019 were “Charlottesville, Virginia.” The former veep has not visited Charlottesville, however, even before travel was restricted by coronavirus. This latest chalk-job can’t help Biden’s standing among local activists who already feel as though they’ve been used as a campaign prop.
Quote of the week
“The board put me on leave, took away my duties as prez, and that’s not permitted by my contract. And they put me on leave because of pressure from self-righteous people.”
—Jerry Falwell Jr. on his resignation from Liberty University, shortly after reports emerged that he and his wife had a yearslong sexual relationship with a former pool attendant
Passing the test
Students returning to UVA for the fall semester were required to submit a COVID test before arriving in Charlottesville. The school has now received 13,000 tests—three-quarters of the kits they sent out—and just 36 students, or .3 percent of those tested, have come back positive, reports NBC29. In-person classes begin September 8.
Shut it down
A group of UVA employees have formed a union—United Campus Workers of Virginia—demanding that the university move fall classes entirely online, cancel move-in for most undergrads, and provide hazard pay for employees during the pandemic. A press release from the union says the group formed as “a direct result of growing dissatisfaction” with the school’s disregard for student and employee input in pandemic response planning.
Not long after being splattered with an arc of red paint, UVA’s George Rogers Clark monument was once again recontextualized last week, as a nighttime visitor attempted to remove the general’s head with a saw, per photos shared by Twitter user @tormaid. The visitor left a good gash in the general’s neck, but wasn’t quite able to finish the job. Maintenance crews have been spotted trying to repair the damage, but the university has not released a statement.
Terry McAuliffe’s long, coy flirtation with a governor’s run got a little more serious last week. After raising money through his old PAC for months, the former governor filed official paperwork to run as a Democratic candidate. He still claims he will not make an official decision until after the presidential election.