It may have slipped your mind with all the Jussie Smollett headlines, but Virginia's Democratic leadership is still in the midst of scandal. A few weeks after the racist photo in Gov. Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook surfaced, he was pressured to back out of an appearance at Virginia Union University, a predominantly black school. The university had invited Northam to join the ceremony honoring the Richmond 34, a group of students who participated in a nonviolent sit-in at the lunch counter of Thalhimers department store in Richmond, Virginia. But, the Student Government Association sent him a letter requesting that, in light of recent events, he postpone his visit.
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??We are here to send a message to @governorralphnortham . After listening to the concerns of our peers we are taking action. In that standing, we ask that the Governor reschedules his attendance to Campus for a later date. Let’s continue to stand in all things right so that we continue to preserve the vibrant and sacred mission of our University. #standwith34
After reading the letter, Northam has decided that it's in the best of interest of all if he declines the invitation. Instead, he said he's inviting the Richmond 34 to his home.
While I appreciate @VAUnion1865's invitation to attend tomorrow's chapel service, I respect the wishes of the student body. In lieu of my attendance, I will host the Richmond 34 at the Executive Mansion on Friday to honor their bravery and courage. pic.twitter.com/qIdX05cvsa— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) February 20, 2019
When the racist photo in Northam's yearbook, which showed one person dressed in blackface and another in a KKK robe, was first discovered, he apologized for it. But, upon several hours' reflection, the governor backtracked and said he wasn't sure he was in the picture. Still, several of his fellow lawmakers demanded he resign.
Sensing he was about to face his own media firestorm, Attorney General Mark Herring admitted that he too dressed in blackface in college.
Meanwhile, the lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, is also being pressured to resign due to multiple sexual assault allegations.