From Ghazala Hashmi <[email protected]>
Subject Pink Flamingo Week, Richmond ARP funding, Virginia Employment Commission, and resettlement of Afghan refugees
Date September 23, 2021 2:00 PM
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Can you believe we’re almost through September? This week, we highlight the upcoming Pink Flamingo Week for Chesterfield County Public Schools, an invitation for Richmond residents to provide feedback on the distribution of American Rescue Plan dollars, updates on the Virginia Employment Commission’s work, and spotlighting how the District 10 community has stepped up to aid and welcome Afghan refugees — our future community members.

Shooting at Heritage High School in Newport News
Before we highlight those items, however, we must discuss how our Commonwealth was affected once again by gun violence within one of our schools. My staff and I were saddened and troubled at the news of the shooting at Heritage High School in Newport News. For too long our nation has been plagued by gun violence, and our schools and children are exposed to repeated, traumatic experiences. My thoughts are with the injured students, their families, and all the students of Heritage High School as they struggle to overcome this disturbing experience. We will continue our fight for stronger gun safety measures; the lives of our children depend on it.

Pink Flamingo Week: October 9 to October 16
As Fall approaches, cooler temperatures are just around the corner. For far too many children in our community, facing the cold without proper outdoor gear is an everyday reality. That’s why Chesterfield County Public Schools, the Chesterfield Education Foundation, and The Chesterfield Chamber are hosting Pink Flamingo Week from October 9 through October 16.

Pink Flamingo Week has one objective: ensuring our students have warm coats this winter. Together, we can make a tangible difference in these students’ lives: Pledge your sponsorship and help CCPS get warm coats to the students who need them here. [link removed]

Richmond: Build Back Better with the American Rescue Plan
Calling all District 10 residents residing in the City of Richmond: Your input is needed!

As you may know, the City of Richmond was allocated $154 million from the American Rescue Plan to help our city recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovery efforts will focus on housing, healthcare, our environment, and community safety. In July and August, the City asked for resident input on how ARP dollars should be spent. That data was compiled and analyzed to develop a draft spending plan.

Now, city officials have reached a crucial juncture in that process, and they need your feedback on the proposed spending plan. Provide feedback on the City’s proposal and learn more about the City’s Build Back Better plan through this link. [link removed]

Virginia Employment Commission: JLARC report and upcoming blackout
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) presented their interim report on the Virginia Employment Commission on Monday. Please take time to watch the JLARC meeting [link removed] and review JLARC’s presentation [link removed]. The report covers important information such as the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on VEC preparedness, how unemployment claims are processed, the challenges of processing an unprecedented number of claims during the pandemic, and recommendations to address those challenges. To be frank, it is not all good news; the VEC has been overwhelmed and stretched beyond capacity. This report is a first step towards addressing the challenges facing the VEC. JLARC’s final report on the VEC is expected to be released November 8.

On September 29 beginning at 12:00pm, the VEC website and call center will be offline for a system-wide update. Claimants and VEC staff will not be able to access the system during the update. The VEC recommends filing and/or certifying weekly claims between Sunday, September 26, and early morning Wednesday, September 29, in order to avoid a delay in payment. The update is expected to take between five and seven days. The VEC will notify users when the new system is live. These updates will help our VEC staff respond to constituent needs in a more efficient manner.

Updates on the project can be found by visiting [link removed].

Welcoming and Supporting Afghan Refugees
I am so proud of the Central Virginia community stepping up to aid our Afghan allies following the chaos of the American withdrawal from the country. Community members have donated much needed supplies to the Afghan refugees currently quarantined at Fort Lee. I especially want to commend our government agencies, such as Chesterfield County Public Libraries and the Citizen Information and Resources Departments, non-profit organizations like International Rescue Committee and ReEstablish Richmond, and our houses of worship like the Islamic Center of Virginia, for all their hard work and dedication. Such collaboration helps to ensure a smoother transition for the hundreds of families who will soon become our neighbors and friends. You can read more about all the work being done at The Chesterfield Observer. [link removed]

Contacting our office
I continue to have one-on-one meetings with constituents and organizations, both by Zoom and (now) in person. If you want to schedule a meeting, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office. As a reminder, email is the best way to contact us. We can be reached at [email protected] You can also schedule a meeting through our easy scheduling app.

— Ghazala


| Paid for and authorized by Friends of Ghazala Hashmi |

Friends of Ghazala Hashmi
PO Box 72923
Richmond VA 23235 United States

Senator Ghazala Hashmi was elected to office in 2019 and is honored to represent the 10th Senatorial District (parts of Richmond City and Chesterfield County, and all of Powhatan County). She chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Public Education and is committed to issues of education, healthcare, housing, the environment, and social justice.

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