Select Your Words

We use words for the telling of stories
Or for an opinion to present
Yet these words can’t be retracted
Once a message they have sent.
Now words that one uses carelessly
Can distance you from friends
Yes once their words are spoken
It’ll take time to make amends.
Many words can be quite powerful
So be careful how you choose
It’s quite alright to make a point
But be sure to not abuse.
Some words have a double meaning
So review before you say
You might have intended a compliment
But some could take it a different way.
Words can cut just like a knife
And the pain can go quite deep
Sometimes it is better to ignore
So your special friends you’ll keep.
Now one can use a dictionary
For in there most you’ll find
Perhaps some may not relate your true feeling
But to all you will sound kind.
                                          - Roy E. Schepp

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, and Representative Bobby Scott applauded unanimous House passage of a bipartisan bill that would recognize the resilience and contributions of African Americans to the United States since 1619. Kaine and Warner introduced the Senate version and Scott the House version of the 400 Years of African American History Commission Act in February. The bill would establish a commission to plan programs and activities across the country in 2019 to highlight the arrival and influence of Africans in America.  

Today’s House-passed bill was introduced by Virginia Representative Bobby Scott, and cosponsored by Representatives Scott Rigell, Don Beyer, Gerry Connolly, Barbara Comstock, Rob Wittman, and Randy Forbes, as well as members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Chairman G.K Butterfield and Congressman John Lewis.

The commission  would be charged with recognizing and the resilience and contribution of African Americans since 1619, as well as acknowledging the painful impact that slavery and laws that enforced racial discrimination have had on our nation’s history. Similar commissions have been established to recognize English & Hispanic heritage, including the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia and the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida. Kaine testified in support of this bill in front of the a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee this month.

“This bill is so connected to our country’s history and heritage, and we are excited that it is one step closer to final passage,” Sen. Kaine said. “Every dimension of American life, across generations, has been influenced by African Americans. We need to tell that story – in its tragedy and triumph- as we approach the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans at Point Comfort, Virginia. We will continue to work to advance this bill in the Senate in the coming months.”

“I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing this bill,” said Rep. Scott.  “The history of Virginia and our nation cannot be fully understood or appreciated without knowing about the first Africans who arrived at Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619.  The commission established by this bill will be charged with the important task of planning, developing and implementing a series of programs and activities throughout 2019 that fully tells the story of African Americans, their contributions to the fabric of our nation, and their resilience over the last 400 years.”

“We cannot move forward as a country unless we recognize the injustices that occurred in our past,” said Sen. Warner. “The creation of this commission is an opportunity to institutionalize the contributions made by African Americans in our country, and a monument to their resilience in the face of adversity. It is my hope that this legislation paves the way for future efforts to honor the important role African Americans have played in our history, and highlight ways we can work together to forge a path towards a better future.”

“Understanding our 400 years of African-American history is crucial to understanding our national story: what we got right, what we got horribly wrong, and what we still have to accomplish,” said Rep. Beyer. “This bill will help us grapple with that history, and I thank my friends Bobby Scott and Tim Kaine and my other Virginia colleagues for putting it forward.”

“As a student of history, I can’t help but look to the lessons of the past when contemplating the future. In addition to being reminded of the ramifications of slavery in our nation, I can recall state constitutional provisions that led to segregation policies which extended into my childhood, when I attended segregated schools in the first and second grades. Additionally, one of my favorite teachers, my sixth grade teacher Mrs. Spurlock, had previously taught in the segregated system. I appreciate this bill’s efforts to highlight the immeasurable influence of African Americans such as Mrs. Spurlock, and am honored to support the legislation,” said Rep. Griffith.

“I am pleased the House passed this bipartisan, bicameral bill,” said Rep. Rigell. “The ‘400 Years of African-American History Commission’ will help our nation to properly reflect upon the significant contributions African-Americans have made to our country, and the struggles they have endured during our history. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important bill and send it to the President’s desk for signature immediately.”

“I am pleased the House passed this legislation to create a commission that will tell the important story of the significant contributions made by African-Americans to our Commonwealth and the country.  We cannot tell the whole story of America without including the first African-Americans who arrived to the shores of Virginia in 1619 to Point Comfort.  I look forward to the work this commission will do in educating our entire community and hope the U.S. Senate will pass this quickly,” said Rep. Comstock.

"This bipartisan legislation honors 400 years of African American contributions here in the U.S.,” said Rep. Wittman. “The men and women who first arrived in Point Comfort, Virginia in 1619 faced adversity of every kind and at every turn, and their perseverance carried them as they shaped our national heritage. Theirs are stories that deserve to be told, and the commission that this legislation will create provides necessary tools to make sure that future generations can benefit from learning about their vigilance. I want to thank my Virginia colleagues in both the House and Senate for their hard work on this bill, and I look forward to their continued support."

“2019 will mark 400 years since the first documented arrival of Africans by way of Point Comfort, Virginia. It’s time for our nation to commemorate the contributions and resilience African Americans have made throughout history. I am pleased to have been a part of the introduction of H.R. 4539, which, when passed, will establish a commission to highlight the influence and contributions African Americans have made in our country since 1619. It will also recognize the painful impact of slavery 400 years ago, as well as the racial discrimination and oppression that continues today. I congratulate Congressmen Bobby Scott and Don Beyer on House passage of H.R. 4539. I also thank U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner for sponsoring the Senate companion, and Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP Washington Bureau, for supporting this Act,” said Rep. Butterfield.

The bill is supported by the National NAACP, National Urban League and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The full text of the Senate legislation can be found here.

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RICHMOND – Five drivers, a motorcyclist, a teenage passenger and a pedestrian died in seven traffic crashes across Virginia over the Fourth of July weekend, according to preliminary reports. The 2016 July Fourth statistical counting period began at 12:01 a.m., Friday, July 1, 2016, and concluded midnight Monday, July 4, 2016. The fatal crashes occurred in the cities of Chesapeake and Roanoke, and the counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, Chesterfield, Lunenburg and Sussex. The double fatality occurred in the City of Chesapeake.

During the Fourth of July holiday, Virginia State Police increased patrols as part of Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt. From July 1st through July 4th, Virginia troopers arrested 106 drunk drivers, and cited 9,469 speeders and 2,590 reckless drivers. Troopers also cited 821 individuals for failing to wear a seat belt and 360 motorists for child safety seat violations during the four-day statistical counting period.

State police assisted 3,285 motorists and investigated 947 traffic crashes statewide.

Funds generated from summonses issued by Virginia State Police go directly to court fees and the state’s Literary Fund, which benefits public school construction, technology funding and teacher retirement.

“State police will continue its concerted efforts during the summer months to reinforce the need for all motorists to drive to save lives on Virginia’s highways,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “To date, 345 lives have been lost to traffic crashes statewide. Let’s turn that devastating statistic around and work together through compliance, education and enforcement to save that many lives in the coming weeks.”

All drivers are encouraged to comply with posted speed limits, buckle up, avoid distractions while driving and to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. #DrivetoSaveLives

Previous July 4th Fatality Statistics*:



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   *Traffic Crash Facts, VA Highway Safety Office, DMV              

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