Editor: The Loudoun Clergy and Faith Leaders Group understands that all of our faiths insist on the primacy of human dignity, and teach the Golden Rule to love our neighbors as ourselves. This letter is based on the common commitment we share to our human family. We are each motivated and inspired by our individual understanding of God and Truth; we speak together in common concern and commitment beyond any one tradition we reflect.
We affirm and applaud Gov. Northam signing new laws addressing the shameful legacy of racism here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, especially the removal of Confederate war memorials. This is an important moment in the larger need for healing the racial divides and wounds imbedded in the Virginia landscape. Hatred and racism are concerns that are not exclusive to us here in Virginia. Even so, we know that our obligation to be part of a national solution begins in our own backyard.
We further express our support for the removal and recontextualization of the Daughters of the Confederacy monument from the Loudoun Courthouse. This monument is not representative of our community and our values. It was designed to remind whites to venerate the “Lost Cause” and to reinforce Jim Crow era strictures against blacks. It gave public honor to the systemic racism of its era in its most terroristic and overt form.
In recent months neighboring counties and towns have renamed streets and schools connected to the history of slavery and racism in Virginia. In recent days we have seen them remove similar statues. Nationally, we note the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy have now completely banned Confederate symbols from all spaces. Similarly, the United States Army stands ready to rename installations memorializing soldiers who served in the Confederate forces.
All of our faith traditions know that only by facing our history can we own it and transcend the failures it records. Foundational issues of equity, concerns about systemic racism, and the hope for repair beyond simple reconciliation demands we do so. Recontextualizing the monument helps future generations better understand and wrestle with the complex legacy of slavery and systemic racism in Virginia and America. We feel it is part of the pathway toward redemption. This is the time to help the arc of history find its way to justice so that all of our neighbors can know their human dignity is affirmed.
We invite all Loudouners who share our values and concerns to email the Board of Supervisors at [email protected] That way all our names can be seen and voices heard by our Board of Supervisors. We pray that those in power affirm with meaningful actions that in our Loudoun, we model the best of America because we truly do love our neighbors as ourselves.
Dr. Steven Archer, Purcellville
Lay Pastoral Leader Kurt Ascherman, Lucketts
Rev. Dr. Larry Buxton, Ashburn
Rev. Deborah Carlton, Leesburg
Rev. David A. Douthett, Waterford
Rev. Molly Douthett, Lucketts
Hurunnessa Fariad, Loudoun
Rev. Aileen Fitzke, Sterling
Rabbi David Greenspoon, Leesburg
Rev. Jacquelyn Hollingsworth, Loudoun
Rizwan Jaka, Loudoun
Pastor Gerry Johnson, Leesburg
Rev. Alice King, Leesburg
Rev. Joshua King, Purcellville
Rev. Tracey B. Lyons, Loudoun
Imam Mohamed Magid, Loudoun
Robert Marro, Loudoun
Rev. Jake McGlothin, Loudoun
Rev. Dr. David Milam, Purcellville
Rev. Deborah Dodson Parsons, Leesburg
Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, Leesburg
Rabbi Amy Sapowith, Ashburn
Pastor Michelle Thomas, Leesburg
Pastor Garrett Wolf, Dulles
Daniel Wray, Round Hill
Rev. Heather Wray, Leesburg