A group of black Virginia elected officials and activists have signed a letter calling for the resignation of both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, and said apologies are not enough for previously wearing blackface.
Though the goal of the signatories is for the two officials to resign, they released a list of all-encompassing policy demands of Northam and Herring should they stay in office.
The letter signers want the removal of Confederate statues and memorials from public spaces and a “business equity fund” to “help boost and support minority-owned businesses with an emphasis on African-American owned businesses” in Virginia.
The group said Northam should create an office “to assist the Governor with matters specifically pertaining to African-Americans, Indigenous, and people of color,” marijuana decriminalization, a commitment that staff is at least a quarter people of color, and a public apology together with a commitment to pledge $5 million to each of Virginia’s HBCUs.
Black officials in the state should not attend the Black History Month reception at the governor’s mansion, set to take place on Wednesday, the letter states.
The group lambasted both elected officials for coming forward that they wore blackface.
“As you are now aware, blackface was a derogatory and racist practice of white performers some 200 years ago used to mock enslaved Africans during minstrel shows. It was, has, and will always be offensive. The revelations of your actions cut deep.”
The letter also discusses the sexual assault allegations against Justin Fairfax, calling for an investigation into them.
“Mr. Fairfax as well as many others have called for a full investigation into this matter, and we are joining that list. If Mr. Fairfax is guilty of any of the allegations made against him, he needs to resign from his position immediately.”
The people named in the memo are members of the Virginia Black Politicos executive committee, and the dozens of other signees will be in attendance at a protest at the governor’s mansion on Wednesday, the organizers said.
Read the full letter below.
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