For those of us who have had the (intense dis)pleasure of listening for years to neo-Confederate Corey Stewart’s unhinged ranting and raving and race-baiting, we know that one of his favorite topics – along with bashing the human beings he likes to call “illegals” and extolling guns, Confederate history, etc. – has been Charlottesville City Council member Wes Bellamy.
Specifically, neo-Confederate Corey has loved to use Bellamy as one of his top, go-to “bogeymen.” For instance, in this video from February 2017, neo-Confederate Corey called Bellamy a “tyrant” and “a real-life biggest, somebody wants to tear down our history” who engages in “politically correct madness” and “historical vandalism.” And in this video from May 2017, neo-Confederate Corey called Bellamy an unapologetic racist and misogynist and a bigot.” On and on it goes.
Now, no doubt, Bellamy got himself into legitimate hot water (see Virginia Board of Education member resigns after vulgar tweets surface, Tweets from Charlottesville councilman cause some to call for his removal, Bellamy on administrative leave after tweet discovery, Homophobic, sexist, anti-white language abundant in Charlottesville vice mayor’s tweets: Wes Bellamy’s tweets contrast with other published messages of unity, empowerment, etc, etc.) for his offensive, bigoted tweets from several years ago.
But, as I pointed out back in December 2016, “since then, by all accounts Bellamy has risen to become a leader in Charlottesville and – as you’ll hear in his own words – basically turned his life completely around.” And, in stark contrast to neo-Confederate Corey – who, like his idol Donald Trump, never apologizes for ANYTHING, no matter how abhorrent – Bellamy unequivocally apologized for his “tweets that I sent in my early to mid-20s,” calling them “indefensible” and NOT reflective of “the man that I am or the things that I believe today.” Bellamy added that those things he wrote as an “angry” and “arrogant young man” are “no longer what I believe,” and said that “I would give anything to take them back but I can I can only continue to demonstrate through my actions and my words today that I am a changed man.” And he spoke out strongly for “the rights and civil liberties of my brothers and sisters from the LGBTQ community and anyone who’s rights are in jeopardy.”
In sum, as I wrote at the time, Bellamy appears to have satisfied most or possibly all the fundamental elements of repentance and forgiveness in Jewish tradition.: “almost all agree that repentance requires five elements: recognition of one’s sins as sins (hakarát ha-chét’), remorse (charatá), desisting from sin (azivát ha-chét’), restitution where possible (peira’ón), and confession (vidúi).” Of course, nothing Bellamy said or did would *ever* be enough for white supremacists and their allies, including neo-Confederate Corey, who – and let’s be blunt about this – just wanted to bash an outspoken, powerful black leader in order to score cheap, pathetic political points with his deplorable, racist “base.” Which is exactly what neo-Confederate Corey did, over and over again, during his disgraceful campaigns for governor and for U.S. Senate in 2017 and 2018. And no, I don’t ever expect any apology, let alone a serious one, from Donald Trump’s Virginia “mini-me.”
With that, as you can see from Wes Bellamy’s statement below, announcing that he won’t be running for reelection to the Charlottesville City Council, neo-Confederate Corey won’t have one of his favorite targets around as an elected official much longer. Of course, I’m confident neo-Confederate Corey, now heading up a pro-Trump SuperPAC (naturally!), will find plenty of other stuff to rant and rave about (e.g., one of his favorite recent topics has been…yep, Jussie Smollett, including a bizarre conspiracy theory about how Michelle Obama supposedly “got Jussie Smollett charges dropped”) in coming months and years. Because that’s just what neo-Confederate Corey does, has always done, and apparently will always do. Pathetic.
To the City of Charlottesville:
I love you, but I love my family more. I love the people of this city, but I love my wife, my daughters, and our unborn child more. And because of my love for them, I am stepping aside for new energy and not running for re-election to city council.
I really appreciate everyone who’s been coming up to me the past few weeks asking me to run again. I appreciate everyone getting the signatures for me to get on the ballot in such a short period of time. The love is there. Thank you, but honestly, I need a break for my mental health, my physical health, and my family’s well being.
This city has helped raise me, helped groom me into the man that I am today, and we’ve been able to do some amazing work together. That work will continue. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and I vow to give this city council everything that I can for the rest of 2019. You have my word on that!
Honestly, this decision was one of the toughest ones that I’ve ever had to make. We’ve done a ton of work together. I’m proud of the fact that we’ve been able to:
– Push the discussion around race and equity to new heights.
– Create the Business Equity Fund which provides up to $35k in low interest loans for specialized Disadvantaged Individuals.
– Create and pass the “Equity Package” which has:
– Provided $2.5 Million for Public Housing Redevelopment — These funds set the groundwork for the current public housing redevelopment projects.
– Hire the Youth Opportunity Coordinator position
– Provide $950k for the African American Heritage Center
– Push forward with getting $900k annually for Housing Vouchers for residents in need.
– Broker a partnership with Ting Internet Services to provide High Speed Fiber Optic Internet for EVERY single Public Housing Unit in the city.
– Establish Freedom and Liberation Day in the city to recognize our official emancipation.
– Start a coding program (We Code, Too) to help increase the amount of Black and Brown Youth in technology AND help teach Digital Skills to the ReEntry Community.
– And a host of several other equitable initiatives in the city including forcing people to think critically about race, poverty, and who we actually are as a city.
Along with the aforementioned initiatives, I plan to continue to work to make the city better.
Next up, I’m working with a group of community partners to essentially end Chronic Homelessness with a Crossings II. Next month, I’ll be presenting a proposal to the University of Virginia to provide $20M for affordable housing within the city of charlottesville.
Most importantly, I’ll be spending more time with my wife, my children, prepping for our new baby, and cultivating our family. Some people will Say that I’m quitting, or that I’m giving up, and that’s ok. Some will say that the haters won. That’s ok too. What matters most is not what people say, but what we do. The city will go on without me, and as I sat in the budget meeting last night, it hit me. My daughters need their father. They don’t deserve to spend these formative years sharing their father in the way in that they have to. I am eager to show a re-energized love of Cville with this transition of roles, but, truly the joy that most excites me is this new journey with my growing family. It’s strange, I never thought I would be the guy saying stuff like this. Never thought I would see it this way. I’ve always pushed for more, and wanted this position or that spot to help this person or this group of people. However, I’m learning that positions come and go. My foundation with my family will last much longer.
As Andre300 said best, “I hate to see y’all frown, but I rather see them smile.”