Prince William County’s Racial Commission received the most public feedback thus far during its August 19 meeting at the Kelly Leadership Center.
Around twenty residents spoke during public comment time, with roughly half in support of the commission and half opposed.
Potomac District resident, Chris Lee, an Asian-American, said “This whole notion of systemic racism, in which there is inherently racism and that somehow white people are the oppressors and people of color are the oppressed is based on a rather extensive history of what is called the ‘dialectic’ that started with (Georg Wilhelm Friedrich) Hegel, (Karl) Marx, and then it went to such folks at the Italian Marxist, (Antonio) Gramsci.”
Gainesville District resident, Jose Cossio, a Hispanic-American, said, “The government cannot operate without the consent of the governed. It cannot operate without the consent of the people whom this government serves. You must never forget that principle.”
Speaking in favor of the commission was Woodbridge Supervisor, Margaret Franklin, whose initial directive last year to create a “Cultural Diversity Commission” resulted in the Racial Commission, and State Delegate for the Second District, Candy King (Prince William), who said,
“What we see here today is no different than sixty years ago from people who sat in rooms like this and opposed integration. They said, it’s about America. It’s about the way things always been. What’s wrong with it? And just like then, that was a lie. Just like this is a lie. And I’m sorry that your work has been disrupted by this fake outrage by this fake crisis of a graduate level theory that is not being taught in our school systems (Critical Race Theory). But let me tell you something, just like sixty years ago, we won’t stop fighting – for equity for our children. We won’t stop fighting to ensure that all children have every opportunity to grow and develop and know the truth. See, my god, is a god of truth, and the truth is, you don’t deserve to be lectured about a graduate level theory by people who don’t even know the lost history of PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY, VIRGINIA. You don’t deserve that. But here, we, are. And just like sixty years ago we know the truth. We know it’s not about being American. We know it’s not about division. We know no one looks at you and decides that you are a racist. That’s not what this is about. It’s about disrupting progress. It’s about disrupting equity. And I’ll leave you with this – you(?) may write us down in history with your bitter, twisted, lies. But like air, and like dust, we(?) will continue to rise. So keep shinin(g), keep doing your work, and thank you for therving us.”
Following the meeting, several county residents expressed concern over the behavior of Woodbridge School Board Member, Loree Williams, who serves as the school division’s representative on the commission. Meeting attendees were berated by Williams and told they must wear a mask, including a woman with a medical condition which precludes her from wearing a mask. Williams attempted to have police remove the taxpaying citizen from the meeting, but the officer did not pursue removal after being told by the individual of her medical condition, further infuriating the school board member. After reportedly telling residents that she “was in charge,” an employee had to instruct Ms. Williams to calm down and go to her seat.
– Coles District Staff