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The Guardians of Democracy

Virginia Mayor Under Fire Over Racist Post Claiming Biden Picked Aunt Jemima As His VP


Virginia Mayor Under Fire Over Racist Post Claiming Biden Picked Aunt Jemima As His VP

The longtime mayor of Luray, Virginia is facing a call for his resignation after a racist Facebook post that read, “Joe Biden has just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.”

Mayor Barry Presgraves, a lifelong town resident who has been in office since 2008, shared the post on his personal Facebook page, a screenshot which was later shared with WTOP.

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, had said he would choose a woman to be his vice president, and his potential picks include California Sen. Kamala Harris, California Rep. Karen Bass and Obama national security adviser Susan Rice.

Leah Pence, a Luray Town Council member who is running for reelection, posted an email she said she sent to Presgraves on Monday, calling for him to step down.

“I am writing to strongly urge you to resign over a racist comment you made on Facebook,” Pence wrote. “The comment you posted has a type of humor that has not been appropriate or funny in my lifetime or yours.”

Pence said though Presgraves’ resignation would not “resolve the systemic subliminal racism that plagues our community, your resignation is imperative,” in moving toward ending racism in Luray.

Pence said the mayor is “accountable for your words and decisions as the leader of the Town of Luray, and your recent actions have caused me and many citizens to lose faith and confidence in your capacity to effectively and justly serve.”

Late Monday afternoon, the Town of Luray posted a statement on its Facebook page that read, in part: “The Town of Luray rejects racism and is committed to working together with the community through understanding, compassion, and opportunity. The Town Council will discuss the events leading to this statement at their August 10th meeting.”


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