RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia's black state lawmakers plan to boycott an event this week celebrating the beginnings of American democracy because President Donald Trump is scheduled to attend.
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, made up of 20 members in the Virginia General Assembly, announced Monday that its members would not attend a ceremony in Jamestown on Tuesday marking the 400th anniversary of the first representative assembly in the Western Hemisphere.
The group said in a statement that Trump's participation is "antithetical to the principles" the caucus stands for.
Trump is among the state and national leaders gathering for the celebration Tuesday.
The convening of the legislative assembly in 1619 formed the basis of today's representative system of government in the U.S.
In their press release, the Black Caucus said the events are geared towards reflecting on the first representative legislative assembly in North America, that sentiment "can not and must not be separated contextually from the fact that the first documented enslaved Africans were brought to the country during this same period."
Caucus members have instead planned alternative commemorative events Tuesday in Richmond.
"It is unfortunate that the leadership of the American Evolution Board decided unilaterally to invite the President without consulting all of the members of the Board. I firmly had believed that my concerns, opinions, and feelings would be valued and welcomed,” Del. Delores McQuinn said. “If I had been asked my opinion, I certainly would have expressed that the President’s offensive and inappropriate tweets have not added value or been aligned with Democracy. It is the quote of Edmund Burke that I treasure and he said ‘the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good people to do nothing’. I choose to stand with others who cherish democracy.”
The purpose of missing the event will be to send a message that the members do not condone the President's participation and all that is represented by his attending this commemoration.
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