WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) hosted the first meeting of his First District Unity in Diversity Council in Fredericksburg on Friday, June 12th. The goal of the First District Unity in Diversity Council is to provide Congressman Wittman with advice and counsel in bringing greater equality, equity, and opportunity to the First District, the Commonwealth, and the nation.
“Our nation is in anguish as we mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others who have died tragically and needlessly. The failures of the system designed to protect and serve our communities regardless of the color of someone’s skin must end. We can and must do better to ensure equality, equity, and equal treatment for all,” Congressman Wittman said. “We must extinguish underlying biases and racism in our society and we do that by taking the time to listen, understand, and respect each other. This is accomplished by having an open conversation, while taking the time to actively listen.
“Everyone from the local, state, and national levels must work together to achieve lasting change to stop the reoccurrence of the injustices that we see. Positive change starts with positive action and that is why I have created the First District Unity in Diversity Council. My Unity in Diversity Council and will offer solutions and action items to address economic, societal, and educational inequities in our region. I pledge to help solve these deep seeded problems in our communities with positive actions and work to be part of the solution,” Congressman Wittman said.
“George Floyd’s murder and other recent police killings caused tens of thousands of African Americans and others to pour out into the streets to demand racial justice. The fight for racial justice is also a public health priority,” said Virginia State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “We know that systemic and institutionalized racial discrimination is one of the root causes of health inequities. Ending racial discrimination will improve the health and well-being of millions of people,” Dr. Oliver said.
“I believe, people are starting to understand the issues facing black and brown communities exceed party lines and ideologies,” said Delegate Joshua G. Cole (Virginia House of Delegates District 28). “We have to move forward and address racism and oppression and finally move towards equity and unity. I’m grateful for Congressman Wittman putting this together, but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Participants in the Unity in Diversity Council include minority leaders in the Fredericksburg area of the First District, including religious, community, health, and business leaders, as well as Congressman Wittman. Due to concerns over COVID-19, as well as to foster an open conversation, it was a closed event by invitation only. Congressman Wittman will be hosting several Unity in Diversity Council meetings throughout the First District in the coming months as allowed by COVID-19.