Gov. Northam hosts virtual town hall Thursday on racial equity, police reform

Virginia News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam held a community town hall Thursday night on racial equity and police reform.

The town hall ran from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, and featured community leaders and organizers; police chiefs from Newport News, Harrisonburg, Herndon, and Shenandoah County; a sheriff from Norfolk; as well as the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

Topics discussed included building trust within the systems and strengthening police and community relationships. The town hall event also marks the first week that Northam has designated as Virginia’s first racial truth and reconciliation week.

“I know there is a lot of anger, pain, and outrage about the wrongful murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. In the past several weeks, I have spoken with community members across the Commonwealth and met with law enforcement officials,” said Northam.

“Recent events have shattered the already fractured trust between law enforcement and the community and have really demonstrated the need to take a hard look at law enforcement policies, practices, and actions,” he continued.

“We must understand the ways in which racism has been build into our existing systems in order to root out the inequalities in our criminal justice system, healthcare system, education system, financial and housing system, and so many others.”

The governor expressed the need to have stronger collaborative efforts between law enforcement and the communities, as well as a need for a meaningful and sustainable change to achieve “true public safety.”

Northam has also called a special session of the Virginia General Assembly for Aug. 18. Meanwhile, the Legislator has begun holding committee hearings regarding racial equality and police reform.

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