Our hearts break for the victims and families of the senseless slayings of eight people in the Atlanta area this week — six of them Asian American women. The attack was the deadliest in the U.S. since the August 2019 shooting in Dayton, Ohio, which left nine people dead, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. Asian Americans increasingly have been targeted by violence during the pandemic. More than 3,700 anti-Asian attacks, ranging from physical attacks to verbal and online bullying, have been recorded in the past year by the group Stop AAPI Hate, which tracks discrimination, harassment and violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, per the RTD. Women reported more than twice as many hate incidents as men, reflecting both sexist and racist comments — and sadly, many incidents are not reported, researchers pointed out. “As a former Georgian & resident of Atlanta, and as an Asian American, I grieve with families who lost loved ones in this brutal attack,” state Sen. Ghazala Hashmi, D-Chesterfield, an emigrant from India and the first Muslim to serve in the Virginia Senate, posted on Twitter. “Acts of terrorism seek to strike fear in targeted communities; increasing hate crimes against AAPI concern us all.” This violence is unacceptable. Promote tolerance; stop the hate.
The William H. Goodwin family has set a new bar for philanthropy. The family has pledged $250 million toward the creation of a cancer foundation — one of the largest gifts ever in cancer research. The foundation, Break Through Cancer, will bring together researchers from five cancer centers across the United States to focus on four of the most challenging types of this horrible disease: pancreatic, ovarian, glioblastoma and acute myelogenous leukemia, according to the RTD. Half the money will come from Goodwin, the former chairman and president of Riverstone Group LLC, whose holdings include The Jefferson Hotel, and his wife, Alice. The other half will come from the estate of their late son, Hunter, who died of cancer at age 51 in January 2020. The five centers involved are Harvard University’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University; the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center; Cornell University’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. By publicly announcing their gift, Goodwin hopes to inspire others to give to the endeavor. “We realize there are no guarantees, yet we believe this effort to fight cancer, particularly with collaborative research, has a realistic probability of success,” Goodwin said. We certainly hope so.
Celebrate Women’s History Month by hearing nine remarkable voices this Thursday. The Times-Dispatch program “Strong Voices: Celebrating the Power and Stories of Richmond Women” will spotlight some extraordinary citizens and their efforts to improve our community. The virtual event is free and will take place March 25 from 11 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.. Speaking will be Melissa Chase, radio personality and program director, SummitMedia; Faith Flippo, Richmond police captain; Adele Johnson, executive director of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia; Anne Lyman Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International; Anne Holton, education leader and former first lady of Virginia; Enjoli Moon, founder of the Afrikana Independent Film Festival and a curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art; Sister Vicky Segura, Bon Secours nun and a pioneer in local hospice medicine; Vilma Seymour, director for women of the Virginia League of United Latin American Citizens; and Lynn White, senior vice president at Genworth. The presenting sponsor of Strong Voices is Sonabank. To register, go to: Go.Richmond.com/Voices
“The president of Virginia State is breaking ankles.” That’s how ESPN’s “SportsCenter” introduced a 53-second video that’s gone viral of Virginia State University (VSU) President Makola Abdullah showing off his basketball moves. As Eric Kolenich of the RTD described it, “Abdullah looks like a Globetrotter. Standing outside the school’s student union, Abdullah removes his suit jacket, bounces a basketball off a student’s forehead, through the student’s legs and elusively across his body. He leaves the crowd of onlookers astonished,” as the president calmly puts on his suit jacket and walks off. And in this time of COVID-19, everyone in the video is wearing a face mask. Abdullah’s opponent, VSU graduate student Afolabi Oyeneyin, posted the clip to Twitter on Wednesday — which soon was watched at least 4 million times, including by ESPN. Truth be told, the video wasn’t as spontaneous as it looks. Oyeneyin, an amateur filmmaker, scripted it. And Abdullah has played intramural basketball for years and is on the faculty and staff team at VSU that plays against students. But still, what a way to showcase community.