Mayor invites Hollywood actress to Richmond after she criticizes Shockoe Stadium plan

Posted at 12:48 AM, Oct 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-23 06:45:35-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A well-known Hollywood actress has actively joined the debate over a stadium in historic Shockoe Bottom.

Lupita Nyongo is using her star power to push her message of opposition and is reaching out to Mayor Dwight Jones to voice her concerns. She recently posted about the issue on social media, taking many Richmonders by surprise.

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There! I've written my letter to Mayor Dwight Jones in my hope to #SaveShockoe. If you are like me and can't read my handwriting, find the typed version on my Facebook page. Write (type, really) your own letter by using the template at: (Click on the blue "Call on Mayor Dwight Jones and Richmond's City Council) #haveyoursay

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

Lupita is well known for her academy award winning performance in 12 Years A Slave.

Many people may recall that the Shockoe Bottom stadium plan was withdrawn by the Mayor, who said he intends to reintroduce it again in the future. The debate still stirs emotions and both opposition and support can be spotted among window and lawn signs.

Nyongo wrote, and encouraged others to write also, that “Shockoe Bottom is a site of conscience where we can bear witness to the human rights abuses of slavery and learn from the lessons of history.”

Folks like Valerie Parker said they’re floored by her efforts.

“I’m glad Richmond is on the world stage," Parker said. "The world needs to know about this. It should be a discussion not just in our city.”

Mayor Jones’ office responded that he is aware of the letter from Nyongo but has yet to receive it.

His spokesperson tells CBS 6 News the Mayor would like to invite Lupita to Richmond to visit.

“We feel if Lupita were to see our proposal for the area she would see where we are in agreement that important history needs to be preserved in Shockoe. She would also see that what is going on in that area now is no way to highlight and preserve that history. Our proposal shows where we want to invest in that history and lift that history up for future generations to learn from.  Our plans call for a $30 million investment into that history to highlight and preserve that history.”