On the first day of school a few weeks ago, Senator Glen Sturtevant was out in his district trying to get people to sign a petition against a rezoning proposal that would better integrate two of Richmond’s whitest schools. He was using the slogan “Save Our Neighborhood Schools,” which, as was noted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was used in the 1970s by white people who were opposed to integrating schools. Subtle. The term is “laden with so much baggage that it shouldn’t be trotted out in polite company,” wrote the article’s author, Michael Paul Williams.
It’s not clear what Senator Sturtevant means to save the schools from unless he is referring to black students. Despite this blatant racism, we know that our schools are stronger when everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, has the opportunity to learn together, attend high-quality schools, and receive a world-class education.
This isn’t even the first time that Senator Sturtevant has tried shenanigans like this ?. In 2013, Sturtevant was sued during his short stint on the Richmond School Board for attempting to secretly rezone schools in a way that benefitted affluent, white families. The lawsuit was dismissed, but only because the plaintiffs moved into a different district.
73% of Richmond’s schools are “intensely segregated,” which means that less than 10% of the student body is white. Instead of taking action to improve integration and ensure that every school in Richmond is fully-funded, diverse, and thriving, Senator Sturtevant is using racist slogans to stir up racial animus and win votes in his re-election bid. Sturtevant wants to harken back to Virginia’s history of keeping whites in power and we must stand up against these racist strategies.
People in our community deserve a senator who will represent all of his constituents. It’s clear that Senator Sturtevant can’t be trusted to do that. In the elections on November 5th, join me in voting for people who will vote to fully fund our schools, raise teacher pay, and ensure that every school is a good school. If you aren’t sure who the candidates are who will do that, check out our Virginia Progressive Voters Guide to find out who is running in your district and where they stand on the progressive issues we care about. One thing is for sure, Glen Sturtevant ain’t it.