Statement from the Staunton Branch of the NAACP:
A vision statement for the Staunton City Council is published on its website and reads, in part: “Staunton is proudly diverse and leverages its diversity and inclusivity as a great and sustaining strength… No one is left out and everyone has a voice in how the City is run. We strive continually to improve Staunton’s quality of life by involving all citizens.”
We, the members of the Staunton City NAACP, contend that the Council’s recent refusal to denounce the racist coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 is a direct contradiction to the aforementioned statement and a most apparent display of the Council’s investment in the delusion of white supremacy. We take serious issue with the fact that a mayor, elected to represent ALL of Staunton would invoke the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to publically align herself with those whom King would vehemently condemn. The treasonous attack on our nation’s Capitol was a direct result of a free and fair election, due in critical part to Black Americans who exercised their right to be represented in the Federal government. It is in no way comparable to the 1960 riots King referenced in his speech titled The Other America. The suggestion of such is an egregious affront to the community for whom King spoke.
Across history – to include the Summer of 2020 – Black Americans have protested violations of their rights granted by the 14th amendment, specifically as related to the equal protection and due process of law clauses. Such violations are evidenced by police brutality against and disenfranchisement of Black people across the nation. In the omitted words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.–a figure that many work to sanitize despite his truly radical views: “A riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity.” The statement is as true today as it was on the day that it was delivered in 1967.
Therefore, we the members of the Staunton City NAACP, demand that the Staunton City Council “live out the true meaning of its creed …”: “Staunton is proudly diverse and leverages its diversity and inclusivity as a great and sustaining strength … No one is left out and everyone has a voice in how the City is run. We strive continually to improve Staunton’s quality of life by involving all citizens.” We demand to see policies and ordinances and budget distributions that are reflective of the Council’s inclusivity pledge within the current and following fiscal year.