Democratic Chairs of 4 N. Va. Committees Including F.C.’s Call for Northam to Resign

A photo said to be from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 yearbook page shows a person in a Ku Klux Klan costume and another in blackface. (Photo: Eastern Virginia Medical School)

The chairs of the Democratic Committees of Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church issued a joint statement about the photo from the 1984 medical school yearbook page of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam that shows a man in blackface and another person in full Ku Klux Klan robes. The statement calls for Northam to resign.    

According to the statement, signed by Clarence Tong of the Alexandria Committee, Jill Caiazzo of the Arlilngton Committee, Dan Lagana of the Fairfax County Committee and Peg Willingham of the Falls Church Committee, “The behavior depicted in the photo is abhorrent and repulsive at any age. There is no place for hate and racism in a multicultural, pluralistic Virginia. With the dark and painful history of slavery, racism, and segregation in Virginia and our country, we expect the leader of our Commonwealth to embody the fight for justice, fairness, and equality for all. Governor Northam can no longer do so. We urge Governor Northam to resign. We refuse to place party loyalty above our core principles.”

Falls Church School Board member and former City Councilman Lawrence Webb, currently the City’s foremost African-American elected official, stated on Facebook Friday that the revelations of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s past racist practices “represent vile behavior” and said he is “extreme disappointed.”      

Webb wrote,” This evening I like many Virginians was shocked to see photos of Governor Northam representing such vile behavior. I am extremely disappointed in this display of poor judgement. There is no excuse for this action nor was it ever an acceptable time to display such poor taste from Jim Crow to today. I have been very critical of those on the other side demonstrating the same type of nonsense and I for one cannot condone this regardless of party. I am a very proud Virginian but recognize my home state has a legacy that has not been the most welcoming to my ancestors. With that being said, Virginia has come a long way with its history to elect the first black governor in the country – L. Douglas Wilder. We are better than this in the Commonwealth.”