Anti Gun Violence Billboard in Lynchburg, VA

My ageing eyes focus on the traffic ahead of me, and I rarely notice billboards or anything else on the periphery of my vision. But the other day while I was driving down Fort Avenue in Lynchburg, I noticed a billboard in bold lettering:

“Know something about a shooting? Your turn. Gun violence is not a game.”

This billboard with the vaguely menacing message and no accompanying image left an indelible impression on my mind. One cynical interpretation of this stark message is that violence can strike anyone, and it might be our turn next. It can also mean that if we have any information about any violent crime, it’s incumbent upon to “if we see something say something.” In other words, it’s our turn to do something.

When I got home, I did some research and I learned that the billboard was financed by Ceasefire Virginia, an organization seeking to cut down crime in Virginia’s highest-crime cities, which includes Lynchburg.

The fact that Lynchburg has a problem with gun violence comes as no surprise to me, the other day there was a shooting in the Waffle House on Wards Road that I frequently patronize.

Even people who live is small quaint towns like Bedford travel to Lynchburg for employment, recreation, dining or shopping, therefore it’s in the best interests of all us in Central Virginia to lobby our lawmakers to address the issue of gun violence.

Racist Flyers Left on Porches in Lynchburg, VA

When there’s an infestation in your home of cockroaches or any other vermin you don’t ignore the problem and hope and pray it will go away of its own accord. If you see one cockroach scurrying on your kitchen floor that means that there are many more you don’t see, hiding in cracks and crevices under sinks and behind refrigerators.

If you don’t deal with an infestation immediately and decisively the problem will only get worse. At the first sight of a cockroach or a termite I spray them with pesticides and if that doesn’t work, I call a pest control company.

According to the Lynchburg Police Department, last year on Christmas Eve some cretin left racist flyers in neighborhoods on Cabell Street and Peakland Place. The only trespasser we expect to see on Christmas is Santa Claus; it must have been especially disturbing to discover that someone did such a dastardly deed on Christmas, of all days.

The citizens of Lynchburg, especially the residents in the low-income neighborhood that was targeted, are upset over this overtly racist attack. During Tuesday night’s Lynchburg City Council meeting alarmed residents addressed the board about the problem and called upon the city to acknowledge and fix the problem.

I am proud of my fellow residents of Lynchburg for dealing with this racist infestation immediately and for calling upon city leaders to make their neighborhoods safe from racists.

The person(s) who distributed the flyers were bold and brazen, they walked right up to the houses and left the racist flyers on porches.

If you see something, say something. If you see a stranger lurking in your neighborhood, step out on your porch and make sure they see you. Lynchburg is a friendly and welcoming city, we can’t afford to tolerate any expression of racism.

I Love the Lynchburg VA Christmas Bus

I’ve lived in Lynchburg for 23 years and I’ve never stepped inside a Greater Lynchburg Transit Company (GLT) bus, for me it would be akin to entering a soup kitchen. My mindset is that riding the bus is for the poor or those who can’t drive for whatever reason.

I’ve always owned a car, sometimes two at the same time, and if my auto is in the shop, I would call a cab or an Uber.

I don’t pay any attention when I’m on the road and I pass a GLT bus, it just blends into the background.

But the other day I saw a bus decked out in Christmas lights, and I was taken aback, that’s an incongruous as garbage truck festooned with Christmas decorations.

During the holiday season I feel like a Scrooge or a Grinch but the sight of the bus decorated with Christmas lights instantly lifted my holiday spirit, and I even started humming a Christmas carol.

What a wonderful idea I mused to myself; during this time of the year people who rely on the bus for transportation often have to wait in the rain or snow at the bus stop. I’m sure it lifts their spirits as well when a Christmas bus pulls up to their stop.

I discovered that GLT decorates a bus for the Lynchburg Christmas parade every year, but this year they decided to keep in going even after the parade.

Outrage: Lynchburg VA School Board Rejects Grant from Pro LGBT Organization

The “It Gets Better Project” was founded in 2021 by gay activist Dan Savage and his husband, in response to the suicides of teenagers bullied because they were gay or suspected of being gay by their classmates. This project does the work of God by instilling in LGBTQ children the good news that they are also children of God, and that things will get better.

The foundation awarded a $10,00 grant for students at a Lynchburg, Va high school’s Gender and Sexuality club to create a “quiet room” for students with sensory sensitivities.  All students struggling with mental health, not just gays and lesbians, would have access to the room that is a peaceful oasis in the cacophony of a high school.

If you’re not familiar with Lynchburg, you might think that the School Board would accept with gratitude this gift, calculated to benefit the mental health of schoolchildren.

But Lynchburg City Schools voted 7-2 in favor of not accepting the grant, because the Hill City is an evangelical wasteland where the evangelical Liberty University wields an undue influence.

I urge my fellow residents of Lynchburg to join my holy crusade to reverse the decision of the school board. Write a letter to the editor, attend a Lynchburg council city meeting or a school board meeting, do everything in your power to prove that things can get better, even in Lynchburg.

It’s Time to Change the Name of Lynchburg, VA

I was born in San Francisco, CA, perhaps the most diverse city in America; the City by the Bay welcomes people of all ethnicities, sexual orientations and religious backgrounds. I am proud to proclaim that I was born and raised in San Francisco.

Twenty years ago, for personal and financial reasons I moved to Lynchburg, Va. I was embarrassed when I informed my colleagues and friends that I was moving to a small city in Virginia called Lynchburg. That name has such violent, racist, and horrifying connotations.

The city was named after the city’s founder, John Lynch and was not derived from the crime of lynching. Heaven knows how many lynchings have taken place in the 234 history of Lynchburg, but it’s only in the aftermath of the modern-day lynching of George Floyd that some residents of Lynchburg have considered changing the name of their quaint little town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  

I’m a progressive who was born in the city evangelicals love to call Sodom, and naturally I almost never agree with Trump supporter Jerry Falwell, Jr, the president of the evangelical mecca, Liberty University. But I say “Amen” to this press release from Falwell:

“I personally support changing the name of the city of Lynchburg. It’s been an embarrassment to Liberty University ever since we started. That was one of the reasons Liberty’s original name was changed from Lynchburg Baptist College to Liberty Baptist College in 1976.”

When even Jerry Falwell, Jr. calls for the renaming of Lynchburg, it’s time to change the name of Lynchburg to a name that doesn’t embarrass and shame its residents.

San Francisco is the most beautiful city in the world, but Lynchburg is also blessed with natural beauty and friendly residents. I’m proud to say that I’m from San Francisco and if Lynchburg changes its name, I will also be proud to say that I love in this charming city.

Link to petition to change the name of Lynchburg: