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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, image via Jennifer Watkins/Alexandria Library

The Duncan Library in Del Ray is planning to host a conversation next week with a former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine about her experience in the country and the current crisis.

The event with Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled for Monday (May 9) at 7 p.m. in the Pat Miller Neighborhood Square (2311 Mount Vernon Avenue). The discussion will also be live-streamed online.

“Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch discusses her memoir, Lessons from the Edge,” the library said on its website, “the importance of public service, and her efforts to assist Ukraine empower its civil society sector, strengthen its democratic institutions, and fight corruption — key U.S. goals.”

Yovanovitch is also scheduled to do a signing of her book at Hooray for Books (1555 King Street) earlier that day.

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Memorial post for victims of Alexandria lynchings (photo via City of Alexandria)

Alexandria is holding a community reflection meeting on Saturday (April 23) in remembrance of the 125th anniversary of Joseph McCoy’s lynching.

McCoy, a Black resident of Alexandria, was killed by a lynch mob at the corner of Lee and Cameron streets in 1897. The remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. in Market Square (301 King Street).

“At the remembrance event, community members will recognize the 1897 lynching of Joseph McCoy and the terror it spread throughout the African American community,” a city release noted. “The ceremony will remember McCoy, affirm responsibility for these acts of racial terror, and continue our work to reconcile our past with our present… A procession from Market Square to the corner of Cameron and Lee will conclude the service.”

The annual remembrance ceremony is part of an ongoing effort by the City of Alexandria to reckon with the history of racial violence in Alexandria.

“McCoy’s death was one of two documented lynchings in Alexandria, out of 11 that occurred in Northern Virginia, and among the 100 documented lynchings that occurred in the Commonwealth between 1882 and 1968,” the release said.

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The Chamber ALX wants to turn things up a notch and increase their influence in Alexandria. That’s according to new Chamber Board Chair Angela Hartley, who thanked members for their support at the annual Chair’s Gala on Tuesday night (April 19).

“We want to make sure that the Chamber really is representing all parts of this city, all types of businesses,” Hartley said. “And by the way, nonprofits are businesses, too. Then we represent all of the people that live in the city, all of the age groups, all the diversity that we have here.”

The event was held at The National Industries For The Blind (3000 Potomac Avenue), where Hartley is the executive vice president and chief program officer. The Chamber also conducts a number of events throughout the year, including the 40 Under 40, the Valor Awards for first responders, and networking mixers.

Hartley was named chair in January, has been on the Chamber board for six years, and her term as chair expires at the end of the year.

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Spring gets into full swing in Alexandria this month, and there are dozens of events around the city to get you out of the house.

Visit Alexandria has compiled a list of events this month around town, including Easter egg hunts, book signings, a film screening and musical performances.

April events in Alexandria:

  • Outdoor cello concert: Listen to cellist Amit Peled at The Rectory in Old Town on April 7 (Thursday), from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Book signing at Alexandria Visitor Center: Meet John Adam Wasowicz, the Author of the Old Town Mysteries, Daingerfield Island, Jones Point, Slaters Land and Roaches Run. Two book signings will be held on April9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Easter Egg Hunt with the Old Town Business Association: On April 9 (Saturday) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Historic event at Carlyle House: On April 9 (Saturday), learn from costumed interpreters about how Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, landed in Alexandria in 1775. Tickets are free, and the event is from 12 to 4 p.m.
  • Cherry Blossom Jubilee: On Sunday (April 10), enjoy live performance by taiko drum group Nen Daiko on the waterfront side of the Art Center, followed by an Art Center-wide exhibition of cherry blossom-inspired works by resident artists and galleries
  • Outdoor vocal recital: On Thursday (April 14), Mexican soprano Judy Yannini makes her Secret Garden debut in a program of selections from vibrant zarzuelas to beloved operas, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Easter Egg Hunt at Lee-Fendall House: On April 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday), there will be Easter egg hunts at the historic property, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for children ages 2 to 12, $5 for accompanying adults
  • Outdoor bluegrass concert: On April 21 (Thursday), listen to father-son team Ken & Brad Kolodner, from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets cost $45 apiece for adults and $25 for children
  • Advance screening of ‘TRASHY: a zero waste film’: The feature documentary follows its director as she tries not to throw anything away over the course of a year. The free screening at the Torpedo Factory Art Center starts at 6 p.m.
  • 89th Annual Old Town Alexandria Homes & Garden Tour: The long cherished event will be held on April 23 (Saturday), from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $55 apiece if bought online and $65 at the Alexandria Visitor Center to tour the Carlyle House, Lee-Fendall House, River Farm, Gunston Hall, Mount Vernon and Green Spring Gardens
  • Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performance: The ASO will perform the music of Barber and Brahms at its April 23 (Saturday) concert. The event is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and costs $20-$85 for adults, $5 for children and $15 for students
  • Rocklands BBQ meat and greet party: The April 23 (Saturday) event features School of Rock performances and local vendors
  • Soul Food Saturday: On April 23 (Saturday), explore the contributions of African American innovation and tradition to American cuisine with a unique walking tour around Old Town. The event is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets cost $95 apiece
  • Earth Day tree planting: Join the Alexandria City Council on April 23 (Saturday) for a tree planting on Earth Day in Old Town, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
  • History discussion on African American housing crisis in Alexandria: On April 28 (Thursday), Dr. Krystyn Moon will examine how segregationist practices impaired Alexandria’s African American residents. The event is virtual
  • Old Town Alexandria Fine Art And Design Festival: On Saturday (April 30), more than 100 artisans, crafters, independent consultants and other local small businesses in John Carlyle Square
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The original sculpture of Earl Lloyd at Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Photo via City of Alexandria)

A marker will be unveiled in front of NBA trailblazer Earl Francis Lloyd’s childhood home in Alexandria.

The city announced today (Friday) that the historical state marker will be at 1020 Montgomery Street and an event will be held for its unveiling, featuring remarks from Mayor Justin Wilson, Kevin Lloyd, son of Earl Loyd, and others.

The unveiling will take place between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Saturday, April 2, according to a news release.

Last year, the city unveiled a statue of Lloyd at the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame. In 2020, the city named the 1000 block of Montgomery Street after him, Earl F. Lloyd Way.

The history of Lloyd’s NBA career is outlined in the release and can be read below.

Earl Lloyd was born in Alexandria in 1928 to Theodore Lloyd Sr. and Daisy Lloyd. At Parker-Gray, Lloyd played on the basketball team and earned All-South Atlantic Conference honors three times, and All-State Virginia Interscholastic Conference honors twice.

Earl’s defensive prowess earned him the nickname “Moon Fixer” due to his size and shot blocking ability. His success led to a scholarship in 1946 to West Virginia State, which he led to two Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association championships. In 1949 and 1950, the Pittsburgh Courier named him to its All-American team.

After graduating in 1950, Earl was drafted by the Washington Capitols. He was one of only four black players drafted to the NBA that year. Due to a scheduling coincidence, his start on Oct. 31, 1950, made him the first African American to play in an NBA game. He achieved that honor one day before “Chuck” Cooper played for the Boston Celtics and four days before Nat Clifton played for the New York Knicks.

After playing only seven NBA games, Lloyd was drafted into the army during the Korean War. After two years in the army, he returned to the NBA in 1952 with the Syracuse Nationals, following the dissolution of the Capitols in 1951. Earl played six seasons with the Nationals, winning the championship in 1955 alongside Jim Tucker. Lloyd and Tucker were the first two African Americans to win an NBA championship. Lloyd passed away in 2015.

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Ukrainian refugees make it to Poland (courtesy of Mary Leonard)

(updated at 5:30 p.m.) A Night for Ukraine organizers hope to raise $10,000 to go toward relief efforts in Ukraine and raise awareness at the event, which Alexandria businesses have rallied behind to support.

LOVE in ALX‘s Mary Leonard and local business owner Dominique Fakir put together the Friday night fundraiser for U.S.-based nonprofit CORE, Community Organized Relief Efforts. The nonprofit’s volunteers are working in Poland to address the immediate needs of Ukrainian refugees.

“(A Night in Ukraine) really is just an opportunity for people to plug in locally and then see how their efforts here actually affect change over there,” Fakir told ALXnow. “You always want to help but you don’t know how. So my hope was really to have this event to share stories about what’s happening on the ground and then how people can give either financially, support-wise, even spreading awareness, like posting on social media, that matters, and keeping the conversation going.”

Leonard, who is in Poland volunteering, has been sharing stories about what she’s seen and heard on social media. She has helped escort refugees into Poland and said that their needs include everything from long-term housing, food and clothing.

“Some days the questions are ‘where can I get a bus to Warsaw or Rzeszow or another destination,'” Leonard said in an email. “Other days, we’re there with shopping carts to carry the luggage in shopping carts on to their destination busses…Refugees are now fleeing with one or two bags they threw together and emergency left their house. You’ll find everything from feminine products to coloring books in the crossing camp.”

Leonard posted a story on her social media accounts about horrifying conditions in Mariupol that a man told her about seeing before he made it to Poland and was separated from his son who is still in Ukraine.

“Four weeks ago, the lives of everyone in Ukraine were like yours. Loving, happy, sweet. They went to work, were raising their children, going to concerts, falling in love. And now this. Never take what you have for granted,” Leonard wrote in the post.

The fundraiser will host Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, First Secretary of the Ukrainian embassy Kateryna Smagliy, and CORE relief workers who will share their stories. As of this morning (Thursday) about 150 people had purchased tickets. Local businesses have donated more than $10,000 of in-kind services so there will be a plenty of food and people together in solidarity, Fakir said.

“This issue of the attack on democracy the unprovoked war it’s just heartbreaking as an American to see that,” she said.

The event will be held at the ALX rooftop at 277 South Washington Street, Penthouse 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Friday. Tickets are available on EventBrite.

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Volunteer Hyacinth McInley gives out food outside Casa Chirilagua on May 21, 2020 (Staff photo by James Cullum)

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities this spring, including a mini serve-a-thon hosted by Volunteer Alexandria.

The serve-a-thon will be held from April 18 through 23 and pair those who register with a project that week that supports local and state parks. But for those who are looking for other types of chances, Volunteer Alexandria’s website lists plenty.

Here’s a roundup of some of the opportunities this spring:

  • Breaks with Impact (BWI) — “Students (grades 6 – 12) engage in a variety of service learning projects across the City of Alexandria from April 12 – 14. BWI participants do service activities, learn about how nonprofits and public agencies serves residents in their city, and explore careers. Click HERE to sign-up.”
  • Help Transitional Housing Residents with Budgeting — “Community Lodgings is seeking budget mentor volunteers to assist transitional housing residents with their monthly budgeting needs and provide additional financial guidance that will help the resident reach stability. The average mentor meets with clients once a month. Click HERE to sign up.”
  • Help Local Nonprofit with Fundraising — “Community Lodgings is seeking members for its fundraising committee. Members help raise the funds needed to meet their annual budget. Community Lodgings raises funds from individuals (direct mail, special events, major/monthly/annual donors), foundations, corporations and local organizations such as churches. Click HERE to express interest.”
  • Develop Communications Plan for Youth Nonprofit — “A dynamic local girls’ empowerment organization needs individuals to develop a strategic communications plan. Specifically, they need support with assessing existing communications activities, identifying key communications objectives, building a cohesive brand identity, and drafting a communications calendar. Click HERE to express interest.”
  • Local Library Seeks Repair Coaches for Fixit Clinic — “The Beatley Branch Library are looking for skilled professionals and amateur craftspeople who can help people fix items, explain the repair process, and encourage them to repair it themselves. People with experience in small appliances, furniture, computers, electronics, clothing, jewelry, bicycles, and blades are welcome. Fixit Clinics are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., beginning in April. Click HERE to sign-up.”
  • Until Help Arrives — “This virtual class will teach you how to recognize violent activities, respond safely, provide immediate rescue tactics to the injured, and report them to 9-1-1 efficiently. These are transferable skills are applicable to countless situations involving traumatic injury (e.g. car accident, household injury, or an active shooter). The next class will be held on Monday, March 21. Click HERE to sign up.”
  • Take Seniors to Appointments — “Volunteer drivers take At Home in Alexandria (AHA)’s members to and from appointments, the grocery store, and AHA social gatherings, normally during business hours, Monday through Friday. Click HERE to express interest.”
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During the Civil War, the former home of Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee was converted into a hospital for wounded Union soldiers. On Saturday (March 19), the Lee-Fendall House will briefly be converted into a hospital with living history reenactors.

The home of the former Virginia governor, and father of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was also the site of the first-known successful blood transfusion.

The event is one of the following historical discussions taking place at the Lee-Fendall House this month:

  • Friday, March 18 —  Historian Dianne Murphy will conduct a lecture on the Civil War’s impact on modern medicine at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 19 — The living history event will be conducted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Friday, March 25 —  Historian Amanda Roper will conduct a lecture on “The Fight for Freedom at L’Ouverture Hospital” at 6 p.m. The hospital was where United States Colored Troops and African American civilians  were treated during the war in Alexandria

The events cost $10 for adults and $5 for students ages 17 and under.

 

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Need to get your Irish on? While Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been pushed off until September, there are two Irish-themed bar crawls coming to the city in the days ahead.

The Shamrock Stampede will descend on Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood on Saturday, March 12. Participating restaurants include Whiskey & Oyster, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila & Taco, Lost Boy Cider and Joe Theismann’s Restaurant.

The event includes outfit contests, giveaways and raffles. It runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and costs $10. All registration proceeds will be donated to ALIVE!.

On the actual St. Patrick’s Day — Thursday, March 17 — Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Bar (112 King Street) will start things off with musician Mike Richards from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by four-piece rock band By All Means from 7 to 11 p.m.

But that’s not all.

On Saturday, March 19, six King Street restaurants will host the fifth annual Lucky’s St. Patrick’s Day Crawl. The event runs from 4 to 10 p.m., and tickets cost $20-25 per person.

“We will shuttle our leprechauns, four-clover wearers, Irish lovers and everyone else on the King Street Trolly between all restaurants,” event organizers wrote on Facebook.

Participating restaurants:

Photo via Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub/Facebook

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With spring and summer on the horizon, tourism-troubled Alexandria has gone full steam ahead with public events.

City Council, on Tuesday, unanimously approved a waiver to the Special Event Policy to allow for programs and events on consecutive weekends in Old Town.

The waiver supersedes a 2010 Council action that limited such events. According to the policy, “Events in Old Town with anticipated attendance over 500 (people) are limited to no more than one such event every other weekend (Friday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m.) in a calendar year.”

Mayor Justin Wilson said that there should be future community conversations about how the waiver will impact residents and the environment.

“This policy is now over a decade old, we’ve invested millions of dollars and millions more to come in some of the park spaces on our waterfront,” Wilson said. “I think it’s probably time for a community conversation about the the nature of this policy and kind of how this policy should be applied in the future.”

Alexandria is home to a number of large-scale shindigs, including the recent George Washington Birthday Parade, the Scottish Christmas Walk, Art On The Avenue, the city’s birthday celebration, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade — the latter of which is postponed until September. Many of the events, including two New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations, have been canceled or altered over the last two years under the pandemic.

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