Among the measures vetoed by Governor Youngkin was one that would eliminate tax shelters for the Daughters of the Confederacy

Why does he think this organization, founded to commemorate the beliefs and actions of those who practiced and promoted slavery, should be continually rewarded by the state?

The Governor’s unspoken preoccupation with race is extremely bizarre. Why won’t he explain his rationale for providing tax relief to historically pro-slavery institutions and, instead, extend tax breaks for more deserving institutions that provide opportunities for all people?

We must also examine his recent request to review syllabi at George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University as well as his first-day executive order to eliminate all Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and Black history curricula of Virginia’s K-12 Standards of Learning. 

We the people demand accountability for these actions and I hereby call on Youngkin to directly respond and provide transparency for his actions. 

He additionally — and unsurprisingly — called upon the Dean of the VCU L. Douglas School of Government and Public Affairs to rename our state-funded Research Institute for Social Equity (RISE) by replacing “Equity” with “Opportunity.” Besides RISO being a terrible acronym, his actions casually brushed aside all of the critical research and innovative impacts of RISE. 

As I’ve previously noted, the Youngkin administration proclaimed DEI as “being dead” during a mandatory annual “inclusive excellence” training for VMI’s faculty and staff members. This comes in spite of a million-dollar investigation by Governor Ralph Northam, a VMI graduate. The report conclusively declared that examples of racism and sexism still exist at VMI. If this is indeed the case, how exactly can DEI be dead? 

It so happens that the superintendent of VMI is a Black man. Is it also a coincidence that the President of George Mason is also a Black man, and that our school’s RISE program is supervised by a Black female director and a Black Dean of the school? I have been asked by inquiring minds, including the media, whether these actions demonstrate racism by Governor Youngkin. My response has been, why does “racism” come to their minds? Based on these issues alone, we must demand an answer to this vital question. 

If Youngkin’s behavior in these specific instances is any indication, what other potentially racist actions is he undertaking, and how will they impact the people of the Commonwealth? 

As the Commonwealth of Virginia’s top official — elected by the people and charged with defending and supporting their collective interests — should he not account for his actions?

Stay tuned.

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