NAACP leader, political analyst weigh in on yearbook photo probe

Local News

People, including the leader of the Roanoke Chapter of the NAACP, responded Wednesday to the results of the investigation about a racist yearbook photo believed to be of Governor Ralph Northam.

The results came back inconclusive. The law firm investigating the photo said they couldn’t tell who was in it. 

It’s something many people say didn’t surprise them considering how old it was.

“I don’t know if it was the Governor. I don’t know if it was his friend,” said Roanoke Chapter NAACP President Brenda Hale. 

She says she can understand why the investigators couldn’t figure out if the governor was in this racist photo or not.

“This is a hiccup, a blemish right now. And what’s really important is that the governor be able to carry out his mission.”

Hale says the door is still open for the Governor to get things done for the African American community.

“I’ve been blessed to be in a meeting where he heard my opinions and he was receptive to the things that we had to say.”

She says there is too much important work to be done to dwell on the past.

“We have the opioid addiction, we have shooting deaths on a daily basis. We need to do the important things and as a nurse, it’s important to me to save people’s lives,” said Hale.

The idea of moving on and focusing on other things is something many agree with.

“The Governor is trying to learn from this and show us that he is trying to run a campaign, that is anti-racism. So even if he is guilty it has shown that he’s changed,” said Roanoke Resident Ishah Wright.

People like Randy Polito hope others can learn from this scandal.

“Inconclusive or not, I think we can all take a lot from this situation about these actions having consequences,” said Polito.

“Absolutely can use this to create positive change in the state, in the community to draw the line of no, we don’t do this anymore and to hold other people accountable.”

According to WFXR Political Analyst Karen Hult, the end of the investigation may be the end of this scandal.

“In the short run, at least on the Democratic side, they may not be very happy about this being brought into the news again. In the longer run, however, I think it will fade away and not be that important,” Hult said.

Hult says even with the investigation being over, the governor will most likely have to continue mending fences with those who are still offended.

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