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Response to Northam statement

Yesterday, I called for the resignation of Governor Ralph Northam following the release of racist photos from his College yearbook. It has become abundantly clear that Governor Northam has no intention of doing what is right for our state, and the many people he has hurt. I believe it is important for the Governor and the people of our state to understand the hurt that he has caused, and how many of his actions leading up to this moment have shown a general lack of empathy to people of color.

At no point in our history was it acceptable to wear black face or wear a white hood. However, at the time of this photo, the Governor was 24 years old, obtaining a post graduate degree, and living in the post civil rights era. The excuses of youth, ignorance, or “the way things were back then" simply do not exist. Furthermore, he made a concerted effort to hide his behavior and views as opposed to using them as a teaching tool as he grew.

Even now, the Governor in his apology tour, seems to be more interested in protecting his political career than accepting responsibility for his actions. In one of the oddest swerves in history, the Governor is now denying he was in the photo after admitting the night before that he was. In addition, he admitted to wearing black face for a Michael Jackson dance contest. Perhaps he should have another listen to “Man in the Mirror.” The Governor also seems to be entirely avoiding his nickname of “Coonman.” I am sure he will say that nickname was supposed to be printed on a different yearbook page.

What is being underreported is the Governor's legacy of seeming indifference to people of color. From running a campaign that almost never mentioned minorities while refusing to openly campaign with Justin Fairfax, who would become only the second African American in history to be elected to statewide office in Virginia, to his support of pipelines that will destroy black and poor communities throughout southern Virginia. The Governor has also used his sizable influence to support white establishment candidates over more diverse, progressive ones. 1984 was not a youthful indiscretion, but rather a symbol of what hides in the dark.

Our party has a long and complex history as it pertains to civil rights. We were once on the wrong side of history, but today now are the standard bearers for the hope of a more a diverse and equal America. However, what stands in our way is the remnants of the past. The Dixie Dems. The Good Ole Boys club. We must do what Ralph Northam has been unable to. Accept fully our history and completely reject not only racism, but racism's apologists. That is why I am now calling on the Virginia House of Delegates to impeach Governor Northam.

Virginians deserve a Governor they can trust to uphold equality under the law, and Governor Northam has proven to be unfit for that requirement.

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