by Stan Scott, the Democratic nominee for State Senate in Virginia’s 4th District. Find out more about his campaign at www.stanforvirginia.org.
Last Tuesday, I stood alongside my friends and neighbors, in support of the Hanover NAACP, at a press conference outlining the federal lawsuit asking Hanover County to change the names of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.
NAACP President Robert Barnette characterized the injustice of naming schools for Confederate leaders best when he said:
“The students in these schools are forced to glorify the Confederacy and its leadership, which are intertwined with the history of slavery in America, and today used as a symbol of racial oppression.”
We need to own American history, good and bad. This legacy includes a Founding Generation that risked all they had in a fight for liberty and the right to govern themselves. But it also includes a system that in many respects depended on slavery – legalized ownership of human beings as chattels. We need to reflect on, and learn from, our past.
We need to reflect on and learn from, not glorify, the actions of men who promised to defend the Constitution when they graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point but betrayed their oath to defend the Constitution and perpetuated racial oppression and slavery.
We need to reflect on and learn from, not keep as nostalgic memories, the actions of Hanover County leaders who honored these men as a way of intimidating young people of color and letting them know that they would not find acceptance in the schools or community.
Students of color rightfully feel oppression and shame when asked to represent a team named for those who saw them as less than equal. We continue to attract negative attention to Hanover County schools instead of celebrating the great academic work of Hanover students and teachers.
Avi Hopkins, a Lee Davis alum and football star, declared on Tuesday that now is the time. Now is the time to right the wrongs, change the names, and provide all students of Hanover County with a learning environment in which they may thrive.
I stand proudly with the NAACP in their effort to create a better environment for our children and to right the wrongs of our county’s past. I stand with them in their call for Hanover to do the right thing and change these names. Thanks again to the Hanover Branch of the NAACP, Together Hanover, the Hanover Democratic Committee, and others who have worked so hard to bring change.
Please support my campaign to bring real representation in Virginia’s Senate to working people and families in the 4th District. You can donate at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/stanforvirginia or volunteer to knock doors, make calls, or write post cards by contacting Lucas Dutcher at firstname.lastname@example.org