Home Fairfax County 33 Fairfax County Democratic Committee Leaders: Sen. Chap Petersen’s “original comments inaccurate...

33 Fairfax County Democratic Committee Leaders: Sen. Chap Petersen’s “original comments inaccurate and harmful. His apology is only the first step.”

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From the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, cross posted from Blue View.

State Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34) has been criticized by 33 leaders of Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC) for favorable comments he made about public education under Jim Crow segregation.

Petersen made the comments Thursday, June 11, on a radio talk show and apologized after the Fairfax County NAACP called them “racist and hurtful”. The FCDC leaders’ statement acknowledges the apology but terms it “only a first step.”

Petersen was quoted as saying on The John Fredericks Show, “Jim Crow, segregation, Massive Resistance, all those people, look, there were some bad decisions made, but at least they had a school system, ok, at least they had a functioning school system. And we don’t even have a functioning system at this point.”

The NAACP statement (full text here) called Petersen’s words “unacceptable at any time but especially now in the wake of yet another Black person attacked by police right here in Fairfax County.”

In his apology on his Facebook page, Petersen said, “I did not mean (and I hope this is clear) to excuse in any way the policies of racial segregation which caused so much harm in this state and others.”

The FCDC leaders’ statement, issued Sat., June 13, calls Petersen’s comments “inaccurate and harmful” and calls on him to join the rest of the Democratic Party in fighting against racial and social injustice.

Here is the statement, signed by 33 members of the FCDC Steering Committee:

Senator Chap Petersen recently made offensive comments about American school systems under Jim Crow, for which he apologized after the Fairfax NAACP rightly pointed out his “lack of empathy…for the plight of people of color throughout history.”

We, the undersigned members of the Steering Committee of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee, while acknowledging Senator Petersen’s apology, find his original comments inaccurate and harmful. His apology is only the first step.

We hope the Senator will join the rest of the Democratic Party in redoubling our efforts to fight against racial and social injustices wherever they can be found in our society.

Bryan Graham – Chair, FCDC
Kimberly Adams – 10th Congressional District Representative
Tina Barchik – Vice Chair, Finance
Amber Beichler – Chair, LGBTQ+ Committee
Paul Berry – Vice Chair, Technology
Jimmy Bierman – District Chair, Dranesville
Greg Brandon – Chair, Central Communications Committee
Kristin Cabral – Co-Chair, Election Law & Voter Protection
Richard Chew – District Chair, Hunter Mill
Paul Davis – Regional Vice Chair, North
Nadja Golding – Treasurer
Shyamali Hauth – Chair, Veterans & Military Families Committee
Holly Hazard – Chair, Women’s Rights Committee
Kelly Hebron – District Chair, Lee
Kat Kehoe – Chair, Environmental Committee
Debbie Kilpatrick – Chair, Education Committee
Sandra Klassen – Chair, National Affairs Committee
Dan Lagana – Immediate Past FCDC Chair
Jennifer Lowe Davis – District Chair, Springfield
Andy Pavord – District Co-Chair, Providence
Rachel Rifkind – District Chair, Mason
Saddam Salim – District Co-Chair, Providence
Andrew Scalise – Assistant Treasurer
Mark Schiller – Chair, Youth Affairs
Bryan Scrafford – District Chair, Sully
Julie Shepard – Regional Vice Chair, South
Manisha Singh – Regional Vice Chair, Central
Stephen Spitz – Co-Chair, Election Law & Voter Protection
Denver Supinger – Vice Chair, Outreach
Brad Swanson – Chair, Newsletter Committee
Aaron Yohai – District Chair, Braddock
Janice Yohai – Vice Chair, Voter Registration & Education
Maritza Zermeño – District Chair, Mount Vernon