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Estimated 6,500 rally against abortion at Virginia state Capitol

Yellow balloons bearing the word “life” and chants opposing abortion rose above the state Capitol Wednesday as lawmakers convened inside to finish the year’s legislative work. A crowd that Capitol Police estimated at 6,500 demonstrators descended on Capitol Square from across the state to protest failed legislation to eliminate some restrictions on late-term abortions and Gov. Ralph Northam's recent comments on that proposal. Wednesday's event, the largest anti-abortion demonstration at the state Capitol in recent memory, was affiliated with the national March for Life, an annual event that has for years drawn thousands of protesters to the national mall in Washington. The Virginia March for Life was the first of its kind, according to its organizers: the Family Foundation, the Virginia Catholic Conference and the Virginia Society for Human Life. A few dozen lawmakers — members of the House and Senate Republican caucuses — made an appearance before the crowd, drawing loud thank yous from demonstrators. “There’s not a more important issue that I’ve deal with in my career in the legislature than life,” House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, told the crowd in brief remarks. “A child that is unborn is off limits to the governor and everyone else,” Newman said. “I hope this becomes an annual event.” Legislators are back in Richmond for the annual one-day session in which they take up the governor's vetoes and proposed amendments to bills. Earlier Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers, abortion patients and reproductive rights advocates held an event titled “Speak Out for Abortion Access.” Catholics for Choice, NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and other groups participated in that event, according to organizers, who estimated that 60 people attended.

From Scandal to Opportunity: Virginia’s Political Turmoil

He offered an apology but then came a reversal, as Northam ignored calls for his resignation. (The Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General rank in the top five most powerful leaders in the Virginia state government — all three positions are currently held by Democrats clouded in scandal). While the sexual assault allegations add to the ongoing conversation during this #MeToo era, the blackface confessions have reignited conversations about racism we thought we no longer needed. Virginia is not doing well. What is Blackface? In 2019 (as well as in 1984 when Northam acknowledges donning blackface for a Michael Jackson costume), society largely understands that blackface is unambiguously racist. As we condemn Northam and Herring for racism, it is important we do justice to our testimony and educate ourselves about the practice and why it is such a painful mark on African American history. Perhaps here is our silver lining — the opportunity for honest conversations and racial progress. Throughout his attempts to prove himself not racist, Northam has struggled to show he has a full grasp of black history. Clearly vicinity to black people does not shield white people from committing racist acts.

Timeline of turmoil: How Virginia’s ongoing political scandals developed

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for Virginia with the commonwealth’s top three officials embroiled each embroiled in separate scandals. Here is a minute-by-minute timeline of the political controversies that have put the commonwealth in the national spotlight. Gov. Ralph Northam defends proposed bill loosening restrictions on abortion in an interview with WTOP and says, “It’s done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that’s non-viable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. Virginia first lady Pamela Northam tells him it is “inappropriate circumstances.” 4:54 p.m. – Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says Northam should resign and he will support Fairfax as the new governor. African-American leaders shocked by Herring blackface admission 11:38 a.m. – Fairfax releases statement saying it is important to listen to women who bring forward allegations of sexual assault, but reiterates his denial that he did not sexual assault anyone. ~ 2 p.m. – A law firm representing Tyson releases a statement in which she graphically describes the alleged encounter between her and Fairfax in 2004.

Who is Justin Fairfax? The descendant of slaves is next in line for Virginia...

WASHINGTON — As Virginia Democratic Gov. Justin Fairfax remains in the wings as the man who would replace him if Northam were to step down. While Northam apologized and asked for forgiveness on Saturday, he also noted that he maintained a good relationship with Fairfax, who would be America's fifth-ever black governor were he to take Northam's place. "Justin and I have a very, very close relationship," Northam said at the press conference Saturday. On Saturday, Fairfax released a statement saying he was "shocked and saddened" by the images that appeared in Northam's yearbook. "He also reached out to me personally to express his sincere regrets and to apologize." Fairfax said despite Northam's career of service to American children, soldiers and constituents, he could not condone the governor's actions from his past. Still, Northam’s admission that he darkened his face with shoe polish for a costume in the past is not the only reminder that that process is incomplete. I will be stepping off the dais today in protest of the Virginia Senate honoring Robert E. Lee. Virginia only allows elected governors to serve a single, four-year term.

Virginia’s current turmoil is state’s chance to reconcile with its racist past

“For me the scariest part is – and this has been said in the black community for decades – what happened this past week was that things we know exist came to the surface,” said Francesca Leigh-Davis, who co-hosts the RVA Dirt local politics radio show in Richmond, the Virginia state capital. To the outsider, Virginia has been moving left politically over the past decade, to the extent that some have mused whether the state, which brushes up against Washington, DC, in the north-east, should even still be considered part of ‘The South’, in the parlance of the US civil war. Simply because when you drive down the street in Richmond, there are confederate memorials. Monument Avenue, which runs from west Richmond towards the State Capitol, is a veritable rogues gallery of confederate figures. On Thursday there were again protests at Virginia’s capitol, although this time not over the blackface scandal. She thought Northam should resign because of the abortion bill, but was also turned off by the blackface controversy. The drive west from Richmond, through a barren landscape , leads to the town of Appomattox where the court house is one of the most important sites in US history. It’s not funny.” The political crisis in Virginia is a test for the Democratic party | Douglas Williams Read more Myers, 50, is only seven years younger than Herring, yet said he had never seen any of his contemporaries don shoe polish, dark makeup, or any other form of blackface. He was also troubled by the allegations against Fairfax. If any good ultimately comes from the sorry scandal in the corridors of state power, then one message at Heyer’s memorial might seem particularly relevant: “We all can create a better world,” it says.

“RISE” calls for an emergency meeting to discuss racism in politics

Chanda McGuffin, Co-founder of RISE, said the conversation was long overdue. said McGuffin. On Monday, McGuffin said Augusta County Democratic Committee Chair, Frank Nolen wrote a Facebook post that he did not believe the picture on Northam's yearbook page was racist. "A picture of a white man and black man standing together as brothers is not racism. "A picture of a klansman and black man standing together means to me reconciliation." WHSV reached out to Nolen but he did not have further comment. The organizers of RISE have called on Nolen to step down. "For him to come out in favor of Northam is dishonoring to this area and the black community in this area," said McGuffin. Community members joined in the conversation, discussing the history of slavery and racism in America and activism. "The black voter is tired of getting put on the back burner."

Virginia’s Racist History Clashes With New South Image

Still, as John Warner, the former Republican senator of Virginia, put it recently, “It was a monumental chapter not just in Virginia history but in American history.” That state history on race and politics is now under intense scrutiny. Herring for behavior from a less-enlightened era before Mr. Wilder’s election. “This collection of scandals proves beyond a doubt that Virginia has not progressed as far as it thought it has — and it has a past it still hasn’t come to terms with,” said Mr. Sabato. It is hard to overstate how important race was to the segregationist Democratic machine, led by Senator Harry F. Byrd, that controlled Virginia politics for much of the 20th century. Few know that better than Mr. Wilder. That was three years after Mr. Philpott blocked Mr. Wilder’s attempt to enact a state holiday honoring Dr. King. Then, as a candidate for governor, Mr. Wilder campaigned aggressively across rural parts of the state, such as Mr. Philpott’s Southside, where the Confederacy was enshrined in history. Even now, the Jim Crow era of racist behavior like blackface is hardly an ancient epoch in Virginia. Virginians are still coming to grips with this latest chapter in their state’s history, with Mr. Northam determined to try to salvage his reputation and keep his job and Mr. “But it has been a tragic few days.”

Locals react to Virginia politics controversies

WISE, Va. (WYMT) - Several political scandals hit top Virginia politicians in recent weeks. "I think it hurts the reputation of the Commonwealth," said UVa-Wise Political Science Professor Eric Drummond Smith. It started when a photo surfaced, allegedly showing governor Ralph Northam wearing black face "I think this is nasty and unpleasant but I think it is part of the necessary growing pains to become a more enlightened society," said Smith. Attorney General Mark Herring faces backlash for wearing blackface. Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is accused of sexual assault. "We have of the four constitutionally defined people in the Executive Branch three of them have now meshed in a scandal," said Smith. Republican State Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment is under fire for a yearbook he edited containing racist slurs and photos. "We need to start holding these people accountable, Like Northam and all of that, and we need to start pushing back on these racist views people have," said Nathan Fields, who lives in Virginia. Virginians say this reflects poorly upon the commonwealth. You can read more about the scandals here.
Lemon: Politicians are going straight for Trump playbook

Lemon: Politicians are going straight for Trump playbook

After Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam refused to resign over admitting to wearing blackface, CNN's Don Lemon says politicians are going straight for the Trump playbook in hopes to ride out their scandals. #CNN #News
Eastern Virginia Medical School remarks on Northam's yearbook photos

Eastern Virginia Medical School remarks on Northam’s yearbook photos

Eastern Virginia Medial School holds a news conference to discuss the investigation into Governor Ralph Northam's unacceptable photos in the student yearbook. FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as…