Fishwick: “Add your voices.”

The Campaign to Rename the Federal Building for Reuben Lawson.

RVDW’s January 27 meeting guest speakers, attorney John Fishwick Jr. and Reverend Edward Burton, gave members an important message and a call to action. Fishwick and Rev. Burton are leading a campaign to rename Roanoke’s Federal Building after civil rights leader Roanoke attorney Reuben Lawson. “Reuben Lawson was a civil rights titan, but unfortunately is not as well-known as his peer and another Roanoke attorney, Oliver Hill,” Fishwick explained. “Lawson brought the legal cases that successfully integrated the schools in Grayson County, Floyd County, Pulaski County, Lynchburg City, Roanoke City, and Roanoke County. This was not easy work, as he had to overcome many roadblocks and the massive resistance that was commonplace in the South in the late 1950s and 1960s. A federal courthouse is where our citizens go to vindicate rights and it should be named after someone who reflected that principle. Reuben Lawson did just that.”

Reverend Burton, pastor emeritus of Roanoke’s Sweet Union Baptist Church and a WWII veteran, described himself as a “senior citizen.” He reflected on his feelings of accessing federal services in a building named after Richard H. Poff, a segregationist, “a man who did not stand for civil rights for all.”

(Read more at Cardinal News here: Should Roanoke’s federal courthouse be renamed?)

Call to Action: Changing the name of a federal building requires an act of Congress. Fishwick and Burton urged RVDW members to “Add your voices” through writing letters to U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Representatives Morgan Griffith and Ben Cline, in whose district the federal building is located. Fishwick provided the letter, RVDW provides the citizens’ voices!

Click HERE for the letter to print (x3), sign, and mail.

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An Evening with Sen. Ghazala Hashmi
Tuesday, September 10
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Roanoke Country Club
3360 Old Country Club Drive
Roanoke, Virginia

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