Officials and activists want Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, both of whom have been caught up in Blackface allegations, to resign. However, should the two insist on remaining in office (and Northam has made it exceedingly clear he wants to), there is a list of demands that those Black leaders want to see executed.
The letter signatories, led by the Virginia Black Politicos executive committee, sent out the letter on Monday, with Charlottesville City Councilor Wes Bellamy telling Buzzfeed that if the demands are not upheld, Northam should expect for them to make the remainder of his term “hell.”
“Our preference is that he resign,” Bellamy told the news site. “But as he’s made it clear that he’s not going to do so, we are willing to listen first to what he’s going to do to make amends.”
The demands call for Northam to call for the removal of all Confederate statues and memorials from public spaces, and to create a Governor’s Commission on African American families to advise the Governor and General Assembly to improve policies, services, programs and opportunities for Black families in the commonwealth. The letter also demands that Northam prioritizes the commonwealth’s HBCUs and increase their funding (including a pledge of about $5 million for each institution) and also calls for Northam to create a Business Equity fund to boost and support minority-owned businesses, with a special focus on Black businesses.
“This is my friend. That’s why it hurts,” he added. “It’s personal. I’m not saying he’s perfect and I don’t agree with how he’s handled the situation. There can be no reconciliation without a reallocation or a redistribution of resources.”
The letter also insists that the Attorney General calls for the decriminalization of marijuana across the commonwealth, to make sure that at least a quarter of his staff is comprised of people of color, demands that Herring create an Office or Division of Equity and Inclusion to help him address issues directly related to people of color.
And of course, there must be public apologies.
“There can be no reconciliation without acknowledgment, reallocation and redistribution of resources, and a commitment to change,” the letter reiterates.