Elected Officials must be held to a higher standard

FAIRFAX, Va. –  It is despicable that during this time of unrest and turmoil as our nation grapples with the legacy of racism that we must address the actions of an elected official from Fairfax County. Unfortunately, Senator Chap Petersen's comments made on a radio program earlier this week cannot be ignored.

Sen. Petersen stated that during the period of "Jim Crow, segregation, Massive Resistance, all those people...look, there were some bad decisions made, but at least they had a school system."

Besides being historically inaccurate, as thousands of children were denied public education during the period of massive resistance, the statement is racist and hurtful. Senator Petersen's praise for a time in our country where Black people were separate and unequal, routinely subjected to violence, and living through codified discrimination is part of a pattern of a lack of empathy from the Senator for the plight of people of color throughout history. It is unacceptable at any time but especially now in the wake of yet another Black person attacked by police right here in Fairfax County.

Elected officials in Virginia have spent the last few weeks denouncing racism and declaring that "Black Lives Matter." That means nothing if they allow their colleagues to denigrate Black residents of the Commonwealth. We call on Fairfax Democratic leadership, and his colleagues in the Senate and House to formally reprimand Sen. Petersen, and we demand an apology from Sen. Petersen.

For more information, please contact Naveed Shah, Chair of Communications Committee of the Fairfax NAACP at communications@fairfaxnaacp.org or (571)645-5669.