Earlier today, on the Virginia House of Delegates floor, Del. Sally Hudson delivered a superb speech in honor of Women’s History Month, as well as “hidden Black and women’s history from Charlottesville; it’s a story our town has been hiding for a very long time.” Check out the entire video, which reminds us of – as Del. Candi King points out – “the racist origin of ‘right to work’ and the brave, brilliant Black women who stood up for fair wages and [a] safe work environment.” Del. Hudson concluded as follows:
“But this is Virginia, and so we know what happens next. Every major chapter in our history that has been marked by Black gains has been met by White backlash…In 1946, the General Assembly banned state offices and agencies from recognizing public employee unions; a ban that still stands to this day, one of just three, I believe, in the nation. Now…we’ve heard a lot this session about how collective bargaining infringes on freedom, how it impedes individuals from negotiating directly with their boss, and every time I hear that, I can’t help but think how unmoored that logic is from history. I have to stifle the urge to ask, don’t you think they tried that?…they came to collective organizing out of necessity…we’re stronger together; it’s so much harder to ignore any one of us that way…UVA’s been hiding [this story] for a very long time…We’ve been experiencing extraordinary gains in how we tell Black history in Virginia. And because this is Virginia, we know what happens next. Every chapter in our history marked by Black gains has been met by White backlash, and all session long we have been writing that chapter in our history right now…we have a choice; we can be like the women from the Red Cross who would give cover to the men who would divide and conquer, or we can stand with all of our neighbors and insure that noone is ignored.”
Spot on by Del. Hudson. Also note that this time around, the White backlash is being cynically stoked (and taken advantage of) by Virginia Republicans, including Glenn Youngkin’s administration, the Virginia House GOP caucus, etc. As always, it’s appalling…and, of course, inexcusable.