Home Coronavirus Live Video, Highlights: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Tuesday (6/2) Virginia COVID-19 Briefing

Live Video, Highlights: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Tuesday (6/2) Virginia COVID-19 Briefing

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See below for live video and highlights from Gov. Ralph Northam’s 2 pm press briefing on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia.

  • Will talk about Phase 2, but first need to address something “that is much more fundamental.” “Our country is in a moment of turmoil, and we have to talk about. We all saw those horrifying images of George Floyd, a black man begging for his life as a man in uniform took it from him. It was heartbreaking. But that is not a new heartbreak for Black Americans…There is a long list of names…people killed because, in America, the color of their skin means that they are treated differently. The protests that we have been seeing are for them, and because of a system that continues to allow this to happen…What we’re seeing today didn’t spring out of thin air. Racism and discrimation aren’t locked in our past. They weren’t solved with the Civil Rights Act. They didn’t disappear, they evolved, they’re still with us…Through 400 years of American history, starting with the enslavement of Africans…Jim Crow…’Massive Resistance’ and now mass incarceration, Black oppression has always existed in this country, just in different forms…I cannot know the depth of your pain, but what I can do is stand with you and I can support you, and together we are going to turn this pain into action.”
  • Northam – We need to right historical inequities in education, health, access to business opportunities, etc. That work includes expanding Medicaid, putting in place historic funding for new mothers, reforming criminal justice, decriminalizing marijuana, making it easier to vote, ending the holiday celebrating Confederate generals, etc. We’re going to keep working even harder.
  • Going to keep listening and learning through virtual town halls on criminal justice reform. Will meet with the board of Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police. Will work on statewide day of prayer, healing and action. Asking African-American advisory board to examine racial inequity in Virginia’s code, with a focus on criminal justice and public safety.
  • These actions won’t bring back lives that have been lost, but they are steps towards a Virginia and an America where this doesn’t happen. “My message…I hear you, I’m hear to work with you…I pledge to stand with you.”
  • Del. Delores McQuinn – “We are clearly a nation in crisis and chaos, fueled by yet another casualty of systemic racism…my heart was bruised and broken.” The recent murder of George Floyd “continue to shed high beams on the past and present attitudes that have devalued and dehumanized African Americans for 400 years…I am so grateful for [Gov. Northam’s] leadership…We must tell the full and the true story of the inequities…[of hundreds of years of racial discrimination]…we must sit at the table with [Gov. Northam]…to effectuate positive change…to address the real issues of inequity…hired a diversity officer…after we protest peacefully, let’s sit at the table where our voices can be heard.”
  • Next speaker – “These are turbulent times…the call is to no longer tolerate the cancer that infects our police departments, but…to excise the cancer” so it doesn’t destroy the majority of the body that functions properly and professionally. People are responding with either “fight or flight.” Looters and rioters are not honoring the life of George Floyd or the struggle against racism, just “wasting resources.” It’s painful when people say they’re with you, but aren’t there during times as trouble. Virginia has the capacity to move beyond systemic racism and be “for lovers.”
  • Chair of Fairfax County Communities of Trust Committee, Shirley Ginwright. Cam Thompson tweets, “Speaker: We need to listen to the young people on the street fighting for justice. Why are they fighting for the same things now (speaker says she marched with Dr. King)?” Speaker: When the smoke has cleared, we can’t go back to business as usual. We have to change the books. We have to make sure the next generation doesn’t go through the same things we’ve gone through now and 50 years ago.” Crucial to vote.
  • Naquel Perry, Jr. (rising senior from Albemarle High School) – “To all the kids who are watching…we are the future…we need everyone to…help us…please use your right and vote.”
  • Henrico County Supervisor Tyrone Nelson: “I want to just let you guys know that black people are hurting, and we’re not going to be able to sweep this under the carpet” and go along with business as usual. For 400 years, black people have been treated as less than equal. It’s not just George Floyd, it’s many cases of African Americans being killed by police. Quotes Luke 19:41-42: Jesus wept, but he also acted. Frustrated, tired, sad and angry, also has a responsibility, asking for a community review board. Let your anger turn to righteous indignation, let’s not be here again…
  • Urban League of Hampton Roads representative James Bibbs – This hurts us all, even to those who have no clue about what’s going on. Thanks Gov. Northam for doing this, for the African-American advisory council, chief diversity officer. There’s a lot of work to go…but confident that with Dr. Underwood and others, Virginia will get there. The unrest is the voices of the unheard, they’re angry, mad, frustrated. The goal is to not lose the message. Need police reform, including bodycams and dashcams at all times. Stop being afraid to challenge a statement that you know is not right. If we don’t do that, this nation will never advance. It has to start today, with me.
  • Next speaker, Cynthia Hudson – chairman of commission to examine racial inequity in Virginia law – thanks Gov. Northam for creating a vehicle she can be involved in. “We are done dying.” “I’m a little bit done talking, I want to act.
  • Next speaker – Dr. Underwood – praises Gov. Northam’s “leadership and support,” we all witnessed a 21st-century version of a lynching. We’ve all been “viscerally impacted because we all can’t breathe.” “We’re ready to act.” “We fear a return to ignoring white supremacy in plain sight.” “I’m exhausted by being black in America. I fear for my husband, who is just as tall and possibly as threatening to law enforcement as George Floyd was…” “Despite this very real fear…I commit to standing with Gov. Northam…to dismantle institutionalized racism in…Virginia…it is time to act…are you with me?” So proud of this administration and others who are doing the work…This is change that will be painful for some, but necessary…Start by educating yourself by reading books, watching films about racism.
  • Gov. Northam – This is all about young people’s future. Del. McQuinn talks about Virginia Equity Initiative. Thinks this entire discussion is here to stay. No longer will we sit idly by…We want to get to a place where all of us can breathe…
  • Question for Gov. Northam about why wait until today to address protesters. Northam says he’s been working closely with Richmond Mayor Stoney, been on the phone, working with our leaders, asking the question “why is this happening?” “This is real pain that people are experiencing.” Also, working with law enforcement, National Guard. Want people to be able to protest peacefully, but also have to “keep the peace.” We will continue to listen, learn, bring that back to make policy.
  • Question for Gov. Northam on President Trump’s conference call with governors yesterday. “The message, regrettably, was not one of healing…not one of unity, it was one of divisiveness…I regret that coming from the leader of the most powerful country in the world.” Trump requested Virginia’s National Guard to go to Washington, D.C.; Northam decided not to do that, in part because it wasn’t requested by DC Mayor Bowser; also because it’s needed here to deal with our own challenges; and finally, “I’m not going to send our men and women in uniform of a very proud National Guard to Washington for a photo op.”
  • Gov. Northam – People are angry, and its impossible to really feel their pain because we haven’t walked in their shoes. White people need to ask ourselves why are African Americans feeling this pain? There are individuals out there who are exploiting the situation that we’re in, asks them to take their energies elsewhere. Says he will continue to reach out to folks and have a dialogue.
  • Gov. Northam – Is concerned about COVID19 spreading during the protests. Encourages social distancing, wearing of facial protection.
  • I got pulled away, so…here’s Cam Thompson for the rest of the presser: “Northam: We’ve been in phase one for nearly three weeks. Our data continues to look good… I feel comfortable allowing most of Virginia to move into phase two this Friday on June 5…Northern Virginia and the city of Richmond will remain phase one since they have only been in it for less than a week. Accomack county will stay in phase zero…Phase two means more restrictions will be lifted…While restrictions are being lifted, we’re still safer at home. We’ll talk about phase two in more depth on Thursday…But details will be posted on our website later today…We’ll talk more Thursday about youth sports and phase two restrictions.”