For immediate release:
The Happily Natural Day, an African centered festival based in Richmond Virginia would like to publicly respond to Rev Rodney Hunter’s, of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, statement of speaking for Black Farmers in Virginia on compassion, forgiveness, and moving forward. Reverend Hunter, while you have proven to be a friend of justice, we ask that you not take the responsibility of representing Black and African-American leadership.
We do not forgive, Governor Ralph Northam nor Attorney General Mark Herring for their racist antics nor current racist policy decisions. We call for resignations because we do not trust that the current leadership has a clear understanding of the depth of malady they have caused. The process that Northam and Herring must undergo to receive our forgiveness, begins with their resignations and we stand firm on that assertion, united with numerous Black Democratic leaders and organizations from around the Commonwealth.
We come to this stance, as we recognize the difference between individual acts of racism and institutional racism from our elected leadership in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our current leadership participates in both. This is exemplified in Governor Northam’s removal of two vocal members of the State Air Pollution Control Board, whose decision around the Union Hill compressor station will destroy a historical Black community. Further, Governor Northam and Attorney General Herring have remained complicit in perpetuating the disparities in incarceration, especially youth incarceration, particularly Black youth and youth of color. Their implicit and explicit biases have prevented them from doing much more to serve their full constituency. Their sense of duty has not yet manifested in correcting the institutional harms caused by slavery and Jim Crow, which looks like policy change, not hollow apologies and Black History month book studies.
We call for due process for Lt. Fairfax – he deserves fair trial. His response to the allegations has been antagonistic according to sources and as such we feel he should resign as well. There is no way his leadership can be trusted by Black women and vulnerable populations impacted by acts of sexual misconduct and violence while he is embroiled in such nefarious allegations.
Contact: Happily Natural Day – firstname.lastname@example.org