L. Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of Virginia

It is pretty well-known that I have always been involved with improving education of our students, at ALL levels, early childhood education, K-12, postsecondary education, etc.

On last Monday, February 28, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares issued an opinion relative to state funding for HBCUs in Virginia.  His opinion should be required reading for all those associated with improving upon education, which has been historically denied to persons of color in our state.

In Virginia, an Attorney General’s Opinion is legally binding, relative to the subject matter, unless it has been overturned by a court of competent jurisdiction.  Having thoroughly reviewed the opinion, and the legal basis therefor, I am confident of its adherence to our constitution.  

As welcoming as this opinion is, it is not surprising to me.  I was a member of the Virginia Senate when the constitution was revised. I voted FOR our constitution.  Oliver W. Hill, Sr., esteemed civil rights attorney, was the only African American appointed to serve on the Commission to revise the constitution.

Those representing the better interests of African Americans need to show or give public explanation of why they still follow misleading advice. Why should voters continue to elect them?  When will the General Assembly show adherence to the law?  

As this legislature is still in session, is there no one to recognize that hiding behind an excuse that does not exist, is a basic lack of leadership? The opinion of the Attorney General serves as a guideline to correct past and continuing racial discrimination in providing funding to HBCUs.  

VUU President, Hakim Lucas, stated, “For 157 years, Virginia Union University was told, and believed, that it could not receive funding from the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The opinion released by Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares is historic as it provides new opportunities for funding for VUU.”  They can no longer hide behind the false tales of yesterday.  

Former Attorney General Mark Herring had EIGHT years to opine relative to the discrimination of HBCUs and did NOTHING.  The current Attorney General did so in ONE month after taking office.  Aside from other observations, this opinion was sought by a newly elected delegate, A.C. Cordoza, who was denied membership in the legislative Black Caucus.

Are those persons who continue parroting that false narrative still refusing to obey the law? Let them publicly say to HBCUs why they participate and condone discrimination. The people are entitled to know.  If not now, when? The people are not powerless to effectuate change.  And they are not so dumb as not to know who does not represent ALL of the people, and who does.

Stay tuned.

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