From Del. Jennifer Carrol Foy:
Del. Carroll Foy Statement on VMI’s Adoption of Her Proposals to Root out Racism at VMI, Removal of Stonewall Jackson Monument
(Woodbridge, VA) — Today, the Virginia Military Institute Board of Visitors adopted Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy’s proposals to combat racism at VMI. Following the Washington Post’s reporting on allegations of lynching threats and other instances of racism at VMI, Carroll Foy acted quickly and decisively, offering solutions to create meaningful change at the Institute.
The board also announced today that it would remove the monument of Stonewall Jackson, an action Carroll Foy has repeatedly called for. Carroll Foy is one of the first African-American women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute. Every day, she was forced to salute the statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, but instead, turned her eyes to salute the American flag as a nod to a brighter future.
“I am pleased that the Board of Visitors adopted my plan to make Virginia Military Institute a place that shapes leaders for the 21st Century and respects people of all backgrounds,” said Carroll Foy. “Issues of racism are unacceptable everywhere, especially in the halls of a premier military institution.
“I am also pleased the Institute decided to remove its monument to Stonewall Jackson which represents the Commonwealth’s divisive past. Its presence did not inspire, and it is well past time VMI moved toward a more inclusive future if they are to be entrusted to train the leaders of tomorrow.
“VMI is more than a military outpost – it is a place that prepares cadets from all walks of life to become the future leaders of our Commonwealth, and serve Americans from all backgrounds. That means teaching every cadet to lead and serve from a place of respect. While VMI has a history rooted in the Confederacy, it must have a future that’s rooted in inclusion and diversity.
“While these are meaningful steps, the work is not done. The hard work to root out racism and discrimination, especially in our important institutions, truly never ends. I look forward to continuing to work alongside my VMI community to make a change.
“If elected Governor, I will ensure that all of our public institutions demonstrate a commitment to diversity and inclusion, especially at the highest levels.”
A list of the proposal the VMI Board of Visitors adopted is below:
- Updating the policies, procedures, plans, and goals to include a diverse constituency.
- Developing a culture where racism of any kind is not tolerated.
- Racism, sexism, and bullying should be handled by the cadet run General Committee, and elevated to the same level as the Honor System.
- Ongoing diversity training for the Leadership, Staff, and Faculty – conducted on a semi-annual basis.
- Mandatory diversity education for the entire corps.
- A fully funded Diversity & Inclusion office that works with the Cadet Equity Association.
- Partnership with organizations with proven track records of identifying qualified minority applicants who are seeking careers in civil and/or military service.
Jennifer Carroll Foy has dedicated her life to service. As one of the first African American women to graduate from Virginia Military Institute, a foster mom, a magistrate judge, and public defender, Jennifer has embodied the ideals of community, honor and commitment in every facet of her life. During her time in the legislature, Jennifer has led the way on the Equal Rights Amendment, proudly supported the successful fight to expand Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians, and passed a budget that includes a 3% salary increase for teachers. She is a proud mother to twin three year olds, and wife to her husband Jeff, who she met her first week at VMI.