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Governor on protests: 'Racism and discrimination aren't locked in our past'

Posted at 4:17 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 19:08:42-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam made his first public comments about protests that have gripped Virginia and nation Tuesday as one such protest was happening just outside the building where he spoke.

Northam, joined by African-American leaders from around the state, spoke about the protests and the death of George Floyd.

He called Floyd’s death heartbreaking but added it was not a new heartbreak for black Americans.

”We often fail to draw connections between our past and our present. But what we're seeing today didn't spring out of thin air. Racism and discrimination aren't locked in our past. They weren't solved with the Civil Rights Act. They didn't disappear. They evolved,” he said.

He said wanted to work with protestors to build a place where no one feared for their life because of the color of their skin.

He cited efforts his administration has taken to address historical inequities. Steps like expanding Medicaid and decriminalizing marijuana. He said he would also meet with the Virginia Association for Chiefs of Police to promote diversity and training among officers

Governor Northam also announced Virginia would hold a statewide day of prayer, healing, and action.

This is a developing story.