My evolution on Gov. Northam's behavior

For more than a week, the behaviors of Gov. Ralph S. Northam have beset the climate, civility and reality of our commonwealth and have caused me to become definitive and resolute about his status as governor.

On Friday morning, Feb. 1, 2019, I sent a Letter to the Editor of the Gazette commending him for supporting the rights and dignity of women. That same day, I sent an email to him about his racist behaviors while at EVMS in which I stated actions for him to take for reconciliation and reparation in the commonwealth if he were to continue as Governor.

Here is an excerpt from that letter:

This afternoon, I learned of your engaging in racist behaviors as a medical student at EVMS. I find your engagement in 1984 in such despicable and deplorable acts to be disgraceful and inhumane and counter to who you purport to be and appear to be today.

Gov. Northam, I do believe you are an honorable and decent person who is guided today by a moral compass from which you work daily to proclaim the rights, dignity and respect of African Americans. I ask you to direct your administration, possibly through the Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, to initiate a statewide Reconciliation and Reparation program. Should you decide to not take immediate and inclusive actions toward reconciliation and reparation, I recommend your stepping away from being governor.

I have 50 years of definitive work in human and race relations and served on the North Carolina State Government MLK, Jr. Commission under governors Hunt and Easley. From 1971 to 1981 I served the Commonwealth of Virginia as the Supervisor for School Desegregation Services. I stand ready to help you work for reconciliation and reparation.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, after watching his press conference and testimony of denial, I sent a message asking him to step down as governor. From that letter:

Gov. Northam, you need to step down from the office of governor of Virginia, NOW. Your conflicting “testimonies” about your racist behaviors exhibited in the 84 picture and your admitting blackening your face are overwhelmingly convincing to me of your having no choice but to step down.

I believe you are an honorable person who will afford a smooth and conclusive transition for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax to step up as governor.... Today, Feb. 3, 2019, awaits your removing clouds of disappointment and dismay created by your racist behaviors.… Go in peace knowing what you do now will become an integral part of your legacy.

Peace, love and healing for you, your family and our commonwealth.

John L Whitley

Williamsburg

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