Speak truth to power
3/29/2019, 6 a.m.
Note to Gov. Northam:
Last week, you signed a bill sponsored by Virginia Legislative Black Caucus chairman Delegate Lamont Bagby of Henrico to create a state African-American Advisory Board.
According to the legislation, House Bill 2767, this 21-member board composed of citizen members — not lawmakers — is to advise you on developing economic, professional, cultural, educational and governmental links between state government and the African-American community.
Creating this board, 15 of whose members must be African-American, does not absolve you or bring you any closer to making amends for your outlandish blackface revelations and the depths of your lack of understanding of white privilege and the pandemic of racism that permeates most aspects of life that continue to oppress people of color.
Creating a panel of people who are willing just to be in the same room with you will not give you a full understanding of the policies, practices and laws that need to be changed to bring equity and fairness to African-Americans and others. Such a panel only gives you cover to delay real effort and action to bring about change. It also insulates you from the criticism you deserve over this incident that has brought shame to our Commonwealth. For this panel to be respected and effective, it must include individuals who are unafraid to speak truth to power.
You need to find better ways to make amends and bring authentic change to Virginia.
We urge people, particularly those in the African-American community, to tell Gov. Northam how they feel about his efforts since his racist revelations in February, and to offer specifics on what the Commonwealth needs by way of change to move forward.
To make your voice heard, and to volunteer for the advisory board, contact Gov. Northam’s office at bit.ly/vagovcontact or call (804) 786-2211.