A Virginia mayor is facing resignation calls via a Facebook post in which he says Joe Biden “just announced Aunt Jemima” as his mate.
Mayor Luray Barry Presgraves posted this comment over the weekend on his Facebook page. The comment was condemned by members of Luray Town Council and other residents before he took it down that weekend.
According to the most recent census data, Luray is a town with less than 5,000 inhabitants, most of whom are white. Four percent of the population is Black. The town is about 90 miles west of Washington, DC
Biden appointed California Sen. Kamala Harris as his executive friend on Tuesday.
Several black women were on Biden̵7;s shortlist of running mate, including Florida Rep. Val Demings; California Rep. Karen Bass, who leads the caucus of the Black Parliament; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; and Susan Rice, former national security adviser to President Barack Obama.
Presgraves apologized at the town council meeting on Monday night.
“I want to make this clear to everyone who has absolutely no qualifications,” says Presgraves. “I understand what I post on social media as false, insulting and inappropriate.”
Presgraves, 77, adds that it doesn’t reflect what’s in his heart.
“I also want to apologize directly to all people of color and women. Get rid of racial stereotypes and look down on race as humor is not a joke,” he said. say, read from a prepared statement. “Now I fully understand how hurt it is and I can and will do better and we can all do better. We have to do.”
He ended his statement by saying: “From the bottom of my heart, I apologize and humbly ask for your forgiveness and grace.”
Barbara Veney, 69, a Luray resident, spoke directly to Pregraves at the meeting.
“I’ve been here all my life. Almost 70 years. And today, I’m injured,” she said.
Veney tells Presgraves she’s not there to tear him up or slander him but she has to defend what’s right. Veney said her father was black and white, her mother was black and black, and she was not taught to be racist. She was taught “what comes out of the mouth can hurt and you have to be careful what you say because words will hurt,” she said.
“We need someone with a positive mindset that will shape this community. No more divisions,” she said. “Let us continue … Today, I am asking you, Mayor, that you give up love – because I love you – and do the right thing.”
At least one resident at the meeting said he did not consider Facebook comments to be racist. Another resident said that he doesn’t believe the mayor has racist intentions “even though in the context they are very much like that.”
Quaker Foods North America dropped Aunt Jemima’s image and name in mid-June, saying they recognized the character’s origins based on the “racial stereotype” of a Black “mother of mammals” who raising the owner’s white children.
Council member Leah Pence emailed Presgraves last Monday morning to urge him to step down.
Pence told Presgraves that the comment he posted “had an” incompatible or humorous “humor in their lives, according to a copy of the email she posted on her Facebook page.
“While resignation will not address the systemic racism inflicting on our community, your resignation is imperative as we work to end discrimination. clan within his community, “Pence wrote, adding that Presgraves was held accountable for his words and decisions.
She also told Presgraves that his recent actions have caused many small-town residents to “lose faith and confidence” in his “efficient and justifiable” ability as mayor.
In a statement posted on its Facebook page on Monday, the town of Luray said it “refused to be racist” and committed to working with the community through understanding, compassion and opportunity. The statement did not name Presgraves, but said the town council will discuss events that led to the declaration at its meeting on Monday night.
Presgraves did not immediately return his request for an interview on Thursday. He told Page Valley News on Monday he would not resign.
“No, I am not resigning,” he told the newspaper. “The people who voted for me and I have several months left to serve.”
Presgraves, who did not run for office, told the newspaper that he did not expect his remarks to face a backlash.
“I think it’s funny,” he said. “I didn’t know people would react the way they did. I think people went a little too far on this … It was an election year.”