NORFOLK, VA – In the wake of recent tragedies involving police brutality and racially motivated violence, let’s continue to have our actions speak to positively to the memory of those who have been tragically lost. Police brutality and hate crimes must stop and they will not find safe harbor in today’s Norfolk. For 338 years, Norfolk has struggled with its own history of human bondage, hate, racially motivated crime and violence, structural inequality, and poverty.
We have determined that the continued success of our city will be determined by our ability to recognize our legacy of injustice, atone and appreciate everyone’s humanity, and begin the long process of healing together. Our continued growth and evolution as a modern city will always demand this.
Norfolk is by no means perfect, but we will continue to strive to be just especially in the administration of public safety. I want to recognize the Norfolk Police Department for being responsive, upholding their duty to protect every citizen and hearing citizens’ concerns. We are all learning from the protests that have occurred and hope that they will continue in a manner that honors the lives of those we have lost to injustice and hate.
Let’s keep engaging one another, let’s remain in peaceful dialogue with one another, and let’s keep learning from one another.
To examine, evaluate and discuss disparities in health, housing, education, employment, and economic opportunity and well-being among Norfolk’s residents, I am forming a Mayor’s Commission on Social Equity and Economic Opportunity. This commission should address historical and persistent issues that have impacted access and opportunity for Norfolk’s residents, while examining social and economic anxiety, and creating a true bridge that should connect Norfolk’s various communities.
There will be a focus on wealth building, employment and job training, disparities in educational opportunity and attainment, access to technology, criminal justice reform and Norfolk’s continued commitment to community based public safety. This committee should be careful to avoid symbolic gestures of reconciliation. I have asked Councilwoman Andria McClellan to serve as vice-chair and each member of council is to recommend an individual from the community to serve.