Content Warning: Racist language is quoted below.
Emporia, Virginia—On the weekend leading up to the November 2nd elections, Delegate Roslyn Tyler (D-Sussex) received a racist voicemail message, which the Virginia Division of Capitol Police are now investigating.
In the almost three minute message, a male caller asks, “What kind of sad animals are you?” when referencing celebrating Juneteenth, which he refers to as an “ebonic holiday.” The caller then goes on to say that once elected, Republicans are going to “teach the truth, that black people are inherently lazy and are criminals.” The caller adds his belief that there is “science out there to prove [Black people] are not fully evolved yet,” revealing deep seated white supremacist beliefs.
He wraps up his message to Delegate Tyler by listing several reasons as to why he believes African-American people are inferior to white people including his belief that African-Americans are “the dumbest race on the planet.” Referring to Delegate Tyler’s service and commitment to her community, as well as her desire to keep her seat in the House, the caller viciously proclaims, “We are not going to let stupid apes like you be in charge.”
“It is absolutely appalling and frightening that Black legislators are subjected to such hatred and bigotry in 2021. However, it is not surprising.” Vanessa Clinton, Press Secretary at Progress Virginia said. “Virginia has a dark, heavy history with slavery, white supremacy, and injustice. While some like to think that because we took a statue down in Richmond, racism is over, that’s absolutely not the case. The reality is, we have much more work to do. This voicemail is horrific proof of just how far we still have to go before we will live in a Commonwealth where everyone feels safe and has the opportunity to thrive.”
Capitol Police Investigating Racist Voicemail Left for Del. Roslyn Tyler [VPM, Ben Paviour]
“Del. Tyler called the message “disturbing” and “sad” and said her office had reported it to Capitol Police. She said it had been left shortly before the election by an anonymous number. It was posted to Twitter on Oct. 31 by a local Democratic campaign coordinator.”
“I thought we had come a lot farther than this in the United States,” said Tyler, who has represented the district since 2006. “I guess it was an intimidation factor to discontinue what I do in my district.”
“Da’Quan Marcell Love, executive director of the Virginia NAACP, said the message re-affirmed his view that Virginia retains its ties to the old Confederacy.”
“There are racists across this commonwealth,” Love said. “And while we can change laws and statutes, unfortunately, we can’t legislate people’s minds and their hearts.”