The Virginian-Pilot’s release of a photo today from a 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook shows Governor Ralph Northam photographed as either wearing blackface or dressed as a member of the KKK.
Governor Northam has admitted he is in the picture and has apologized, saying, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now.”
Though he wrote about needing to regain the trust of voters, Governor Northam has not answered questions about which person he is in the photograph.
Given the Governor’s past where he has refused to shake hands with a black political opponent (2013), and he agreed to remove current Lt Governor Justin Fairfax from campaign literature at the request of a labor union, it is clear that the governor has lost too much credibility and trust to continue in office.
After a time of reflection, the Reform Party of Virginia agrees with the NAACP, and members of the Democratic and Republican parties, that Governor Northam needs to resign.
The Virginia Black Legislative Caucus has said it best in a recent statement:
“What has been revealed is disgusting, reprehensible and offensive. We feel complete betrayal. The legacy of slavery, racism and Jim Crow has been an albatross around the necks of African Americans for over 400 years. These pictures rip off the scabs of an excruciatingly painful history and are a piercing reminder of this nation’s sins. Those who would excuse the pictures are just as culpable.”The Virginia Black Legislative Caucus
Though the Reform Party of Virginia does not support many of the policy positions taken by Lt Governor Justin Fairfax, we believe his ascension to the office of Governor will better enable the state government of Commonwealth of Virginia to function at a higher level, and free from the political distractions and mistrust that surround Governor Northam.
We hope that Governor Northam will continue to reflect on the damage this photo and his past actions have caused, and recognize in the next few days that the best course of action is to resign as soon as possible.