Virginia Progressive Community Calls on Governor Ralph Northam to Resign

Richmond, VA–Following revelations of a racist photo featuring Governor Ralph Northam in his medical school yearbook today, the leadership of Virginia’s progressive community is calling on the Governor to resign his office. The following organizations have released a joint call for the Governor to step down: CASA in Action, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, New Virginia Majority, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, Progress Virginia, SEIU Virginia 512, SEIU 32BJ, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400

Statement of Luis Aguilar, Virginia Director, CASA in Action:

“Our members – people on the frontlines of battles for human rights – deserve representation that honors their fundamental dignity.  It is almost impossible to identify images more damaging to the soul than those in Ralph Northam’s yearbook. He has apologized and said he is a changed person. But it doesn’t mean he is an appropriate governor. In an era in which the White House is occupied by a white supremacist, we ask that Governor Northam start to heal this grave wound to the African-American community and more broadly all People of Color, by resigning.”

Statement of Tarina Keene, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia:

“The Commonwealth of Virginia has a long history of bigotry and racism. And in 2019, there is absolutely no place for racism in Virginia. The message this photograph sends is in direct conflict with the values that NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia fights for every day: equality and freedom for all people. The Governor’s yearbook picture is deeply offensive and reprehensible. The images are, and were, contemptible and inexcusable. We strongly urge Governor Northam to resign. 

This is a deeply sad moment for Virginia and all Virginians. This not a time for political or partisan posturing and any individual or organization attempting to do so is unconscionably divisive. As Virginians, we must come together to reject our past wrongs and identify what each of us can do to build a better and more inclusive future for every resident of our Commonwealth.”

Statement of Tram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director, New Virginia Majority:

“As an organization committed to empowering communities of color, we must unequivocally and without hesitation call out, condemn, and root out bigotry and racism wherever we find it – particularly among the most powerful. This is especially true at a time when white supremacy is being fueled at the highest levels. While we call on Gov Northam to resign immediately, let us be clear – removing one person isn’t how we change the tide in Virginia. Ensuring that those we elect at every level are committed to racial justice beyond talking points is what it will take to produce real change in Virginia.”

Statement of Missy Wesolowski, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:
“Planned Parenthood unequivocally rejects racism and discrimination in all its forms. Planned Parenthood’s patients, and all Virginians, deserve better than a leader who has embraced such racist and offensive behavior.  Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia calls on Gov. Northam to resign. Gov. Northam’s job now is to reflect on his actions and do his part to end the oppression that has plagued our country for far too long. It is time for others to step up and lead.”

Statement of Anna Scholl, Executive Director, Progress Virginia:

“We place a special trust in someone when we cast our votes on election day. But our democracy only works when we can all trust and believe that our elected officials understand the challenges we face and seek to solve them on behalf of all of us. This photograph is racist and deeply offensive. It has irreparably broken the trust we placed in Governor Northam. The Governor’s office is no place to learn about Virginia’s dark legacy of systemic and structural racism and therefore we must tell him it is time to resign.”

Statement from Héctor Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU:

“We are shocked by and condemn the painful, racist images of Ralph Northam that have been made public.  As a union, 32BJ fights against racism in all its forms. Our members worked hard to help elect Governor Northam and had great hope in his Governorship -they now feel betrayed. Governor Northam must resign and Virginians must unite to overcome division and bigotry.”

Statement of David Broder, President, SEIU Virginia 512:

“SEIU Virginia members strongly condemn the despicable, racist photos from Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook, which have no place in our Commonwealth. They point to the urgent need to address structural racism and white supremacy. We rededicate ourselves to the work of racial and economic justice today and every day, and call on the Governor of Virginia to step aside so the Commonwealth can move forward together.”

Statement of  Mark Federici, President of United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 400:

“This racist, despicable behavior is reprehensible no matter who does it and no matter when it is done. There is simply no place for blackface or the Ku Klux Klan in Virginia, let alone in the governor’s mansion. Mr. Northam has much work to do to reconcile his relationship with our members, our community, and all citizens of the Commonwealth. Remaining in the governor’s office is simply incompatible with that undertaking. We hereby rescind our past endorsement of Gov. Northam and call on him to resign from office immediately.”