February 2, 2019 – Washington, D.C. — The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) was shocked to learn of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s initial admission to participating in a blatantly racist photograph showing one person in black face and another wearing a white Ku Klux Klan hood and robe in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School Yearbook.
“Racist speech, photographs, or any display of hatred will not help heal the wounds of discrimination and divisiveness that have been promoted for decades by those seeking to denigrate black people. NBCSL joins its colleagues in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in calling for Governor Northam to resign,” said NBCSL’s President, Gilda Cobb-Hunter.
NBCSL believes this incident is another cold reminder that race relations in America still have a long way to go and that serious conversations about race need to occur.
“While we agree that the decision to resign is a decision that Governor Northam must make, it is clear that his effectiveness as Governor is in jeopardy and his ability to lead and govern have been seriously compromised,” said Cobb-Hunter. “I strongly believe he has no choice but to step down so that leaders from both sides of the aisle can focus on moving the state forward.”