January 22, 2020
The view from my office while the gun rally was getting started.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Siege of the Capital
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar 

Siege of the Capital
This column is being written as news stories continue to increase that thousands of persons opposed to gun legislation will be coming to the Capitol grounds to protest. Increased citizen participation is usually a good thing, but in this case it is seeming more like a siege than a peaceful protest. Already the FBI has arrested three individuals in right-wing hate groups who apparently were planning to come with guns that would be fired from various locations to start a race riot. Three other persons were arrested from the same hate group but whose plans for the day were less specific. Law enforcement authorities had gathered enough credible evidence of a threat that the Governor barred any guns on Capitol grounds on Monday except for the police. Security fencing was installed on the grounds. Streets were closed.

The General Assembly had made plans to conduct business as usual as much as that is possible. I am hopeful that the news you have been reading is that the day passed without serious incident. I can assure you that I will be going forward with my bill to close the many loopholes in the current background checks system to ensure that people who have shown themselves to be a threat to themselves or others will not be able to purchase firearms. Recent polls indicate that about 80 percent of people support the bill as a good public safety measure.

Only twice before am I aware that the capital experienced a serious physical siege. The first occurred in 1676-1677 while Virginia was still a royal colony with its capital in Jamestown. Nathaniel Bacon led an armed rebellion against royal Governor William Berkeley who he contended did not provide adequate protection against Indian attacks for settlers on the western frontier. The story gets more complicated as there was a desire by the settlers to seize more land from the Indians and for Bacon to gain more power in the governance of the colony. His attack led to the capital being burned. You can still view the foundation of the capital if you visit Jamestown Island today.

The second siege of the capital came near the end of the Civil War after Virginia had been out of the Union for four years. Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States, and many skirmishes and battles occurred around it during the war. The city was key to mobilizing, outfitting and feeding the Confederate army but did not fall to Union forces until April 1865. Confederate forces burned the city as they departed. Fortunately, the Capitol building was saved from the fire that otherwise destroyed the city. A week later the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox west of the city. The war was ended even though there are many who continue to debate who was to blame for the war and who won.

A well-regulated militia made up of state and local police will protect the Capitol building and its occupant legislators from those who would deny freedom to others through their misuse of firearms. We will not be bullied regardless of their siege.
Delegate Plum Seeks Your Input into Priorities for the
2020 General Assembly Session
The Sorensen Institute's Candidate Training Program
The Sorensen Institute's Candidate Training Program (CTP) is an intensive, four-day program focused on the fundamentals of a winning campaign for office. Participants explore the nuts and bolts of building a strong campaign from the ground up—all within the context of ethics and principled public service. Applications for the 2020 program can be found on our  Candidate Training Program Applications  page. Applications are due by midnight on Friday, February 14th, 2020. Learn more at Sorenson Candidate Training.
Learn more at Winter Shelter Lis t.
Reston's 7th Annual Camp Expo
Details are at Summer Camp Expo.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
See how you can participate at Legislative Advocacy Day.
Calendar of Events
Thursday, January 23, 10:00 a.m. to noon, Adventures In Learning Open House/Registration Day, at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, Program Building, 2709 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton. Learn about the Shepherd's Center and our classes. If you are unable to attend the open house, you may print the registration form and mail it to us at any time during the term. More information is at www.scov.org/ail.

Friday, January 24, 7:00 p.m., Showing of the film 13th, at United Christian Parish, 11508 North Shore Drive, Reston. The documentary is an in-depth look at the U.S. prison system and how it reveals the nation's history of inequality. Read more here.

February 1 to 29, Diva Central Dress Drive, at Reston Community Center--Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston.We need the following for Diva Central, RCC’s annual prom and middle school formal dress giveaway: 
formal dresses, shoes, jewelry, handbags, scarves, shawls, and accessories. More information is at Diva Central.

Wednesday, February 5, 7:30 p.m., CenterStage Cinema: Ethnic Notions (18 years and older), at the CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods, 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston. Free. Ethnic Notions is Marlon Riggs' Emmy-winning documentary that takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing for the first time the deep-rooted stereotypes that have fueled prejudice against black people. Stay afterward for a lively conversation with Theater Alliance Artistic Director Raymond Caldwell. For more information, contact Paul Douglas Michnewicz, RCC Arts and Events Director, at 703-390-6167 or visit E thnic Notions.

Friday, February 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided.

Monday, February 17, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Free Admission to Mount Vernon on President’s Day. George Washington's Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway. Details are at Mount Vernon.

Tuesday, March 3, 8:00 p.m., Professional Touring Artist Series:  Boys Don't Cry, at the CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods – 2310 Colts Neck Road, Reston. Cost: $15 Reston/$20 Non-Reston. In partnership with Dance Place. Boys Don’t Cry is inspired by text from Chantal Thomas and is a funny and tender reflection on what it means to dance when you are a boy from North Africa and the Arab world. For more information, contact Paul Douglas Michnewicz, RCC Arts and Events Director, at 703-390-6167. Ticket link