Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Statement from the Mayors and Chairs of Northern Virginia

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Statement from the Mayors and Chairs of Northern Virginia

As the Mayors and Chairs of Northern Virginia, we raise our collective voices on behalf of the more than 2.5 million residents of our region to express our sorrow for the decades of injustices that have befallen the African American community in America. The tragic and senseless murder of George Floyd is an all too familiar scene, we grieve with the family of Mr. Floyd and the many who have died in similar acts of unlawful violence. Let us clearly state – Black Lives Matter. Mr. Floyd’s violent and wrongful death at the hands of Minneapolis police was the tipping point that prompted thousands in our region to stand up against persistent racial inequity in our country.

Northern Virginia is one of the most diverse regions in the United States. We value all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or creed, and know that our success as a region is based on inclusiveness in government, education, and economic opportunity. We recognize that we still have far to go to address persistent racial inequity in our society at large, and in the administration of justice in particular.

As local government officials, we support the right of people of our region to express their First Amendment voices through peaceful protest. We are stronger when all voices are heard.

As elected leaders we resolve to work together to ensure that the voices raised today will further the needed change in our society.

We reaffirm our values of fairness and equal opportunity for all. We recommit ourselves to earning the confidence of all residents. Our promise to our constituents is they will be treated fairly by their government, including their law enforcement. We will continue to support and pledge to lead open dialogues among our communities, law enforcement, and our elected officials moving forward.

As elected officials we recognize that we have far to go. The injustices of the past do not live in the past. We will work together to undo the culture of racism that was present at our founding and has been perpetuated through racial disparities in education, housing, healthcare, and economic opportunity. Dr. King taught us years ago there cannot be peace without justice. We stand committed to actions that will promote justice and peace for all.

Hon. Jeffrey McKay, Chairman, Fairfax County

Hon. Libby Garvey, Chairman, Arlington County

Hon. Ann Wheeler, Chair, Prince William County

Hon. Phyllis Randall, Chair, Loudoun County

Hon. Justin Wilson, Mayor, City of Alexandria

Hon. Kelly Burk, Mayor, Town of Leesburg

Hon. Jeanette Rishell, Mayor, City of Manassas Park

Hon. Lisa Merkel, Mayor, Town of Herndon

Hon. David Tarter, Mayor, City of Falls Church

Hon. Hal Parrish, Mayor, City of Manassas

Hon. David Meyer, Mayor, City of Fairfax

Hon. Laurie DiRocco, Mayor, Town of Vienna

Hon. Derrick Wood, Mayor, Town of Dumfries

Hon. Bridge Littleton, Mayor, Town of Middleburg