RELEASE: October 20th, 2020
Contact: [email protected]
FAIRFAX, VA – Sean Perryman responded on Tuesday to news reports detailing an intense culture of racism at Virginia Military Institute. In an in-depth investigation, the Washington Post revealed how white supremacy runs deep at the institution, from professors praising the Ku Klux Klan and the confederacy, to students bullying and intimidating their Black and brown peers.
“There are few words to describe the reports from VMI beyond appalling, disgusting, and unacceptable. There appears to be a deep culture of venerating the Confederacy and its leaders, who were responsible for a violent insurrection against the US in the name of white supremacy and the enslavement of Black lives. White cadets consistently demean, bully, and even violently threaten Black and brown cadets. According to the Washington Post report, administrators and staff not only allow this behavior to go on, but sometimes participate in it themselves. When students feel the urge to report racist incidents, they are often turned away by fear of retribution.”
“I applaud Governor Northam and other state leaders who have called for an investigation into the situation. We need full transparency and accountability from those in charge. But let’s be clear: we already have more than enough evidence of systemic racism from the accounts of the cadets themselves. We have an obligation to these cadets and to protect them. What we truly need now is justice, reconciliation, and a concrete plan from VMI’s leadership to not just punish the individuals involved, but to radically change the culture and structure of their institution.”
“Let’s also not forget that VMI is a public university funded through our taxpayer dollars. It’s a disgrace to the entire Commonwealth that we are supporting such a dangerous environment for people of color. If we are truly having what some call a “racial reckoning” in this country–a movement that demands that Black lives matter–then there can be no room in our public spaces and institutions for this egregious racism. Black and brown cadets shouldn’t have to walk their campus under the gaze of statues of men who fought to enslave them, or sit in their classrooms and hear professors praise the KKK. If VMI can’t take substantial steps to create change, the General Assembly has a clear responsibility to make that change for them.”
Sean Perryman is President of the Fairfax County Chapter of the NAACP, a technology public policy advocate, attorney, and former congressional investigator. If elected he would become the one of the youngest Lt. Governors in Virginia history. He has been endorsed by Delegate Kaye Kory, Lindsey Davis Stover, Vice-Mayor Chad Martin, Pastor Michelle Thomas, and dozens of Virginia community leaders.