Gradual progress for the Prince William Co. Racial Justice Fee

learn about Gradual progress for the Prince William Co. Racial Justice Fee

The Prince William County Fee on Social and Racial Justice has but to dig again into its work over the previous 5 months, with conferences often that includes household bickering and infighting.

This text was written by WTOP information companion InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Enroll in Free InsideNoVa.com E mail Subscription At the present time.

The Prince William County Fee on Social and Racial Justice has but to dig again into its work over the previous 5 months, with conferences often that includes household bickering and infighting.



The fee has virtually solely mentioned revisions to its statutes at its three plenary conferences since submitting its preliminary report back to the Board of Supervisors in Februaryfinalizing the adjustments at their July 21 assembly.

A fourth assembly was solely used to elect officers, whereas one other was suspended with out motion attributable to uncertainty as as to if the general public was adequately notified.

The panel was tasked with delivering a report inspecting “the state of racial and social justice for individuals of colour” within the county and making suggestions to county authorities. His preliminary focus was on surveillance, “authorities service supply,” and public training.

your report, offered on the finish of final 12 monthsbroadly applauds the county’s practices whereas acknowledging areas of wanted progress and extra examine.

The Board of Supervisors agreed to permit the fee to return again with a request for extra time to review racial and social justice after consulting with its members. Further work will embody an examination of the causes of the disparities and proposals to handle them.

Two of the group’s full conferences had been marred by lots of the identical forms of arguments and disagreements which have grow to be acquainted over the previous 12 months.

The fee has modified the way in which it’s going to strategy its work by abandoning subcommittees and pursuing all strains of inquiry with the complete panel.

The fee additionally needs to rent an expert parliamentarian to assist members keep away from prolonged disagreements over process that had been a mainstay of its first 12 months.

Gradual progress for the Prince William Co. Racial Justice Fee 1
Shantell Rock is Chair of the Prince William County Racial and Social Justice Fee, appointed in October 2020 by the County Board of Supervisors. (Inside Nova)

Inside NoVa sought touch upon the fee a number of instances from voting members of the panel, which embody Police Chief Peter Newsham, Faculty Board Member Loree Williams and Human Rights Fee Chairman Curtis Porter. Respondents included Chairman Shantell Rock, Coles Commissioner Mac Haddow and Gainesville Commissioner Erica Tredinnick.

At its April assembly, the fee unanimously chosen Neabsco Commissioner Christopher Frederick Sr. as vice chair. Rock and Haddow had been nominated to function president, with Rock prevailing with seven votes to Haddow’s three.

Rock stated his foremost aim for the start of the 12 months was a bylaws evaluate to keep away from “disruption” of the fee’s first 12 months to permit conferences to “transfer sooner with out as a lot rivalry.”

Rock stated constitution adjustments had been important earlier than the fee may proceed its work. She has advised county workers that she create a spreadsheet with all of the suggestions made within the preliminary report and decide how lengthy every one will take.

Tredinnick bluntly acknowledged, “We’ve not carried out any work in six months.” He criticized Rock for lacking two conferences, saying, “I do not know why anybody would decide to [being] president if they can not come to the conferences.”

“I hope we do some type of work,” he stated.

Equally, Haddow stated that “by any goal commonplace,” the fee has not addressed “any points” that had been promised to the Board of Supervisors.

“As a substitute, the RSJC has suffered from a transparent lack of management in addressing points, scheduling conferences, and balancing course of discussions with the vital want to handle points affecting minority communities in Prince William County,” Haddow wrote. in an e mail.

An modification establishes a deadline of 10 pm for the conferences to finish, though they might be prolonged by vote.

Williams fearful that the robust deadline would get in the way in which of submissions. “We may all enhance the way in which we spend our time right here earlier than the fee,” he stated final month. “I am simply nervous as a result of if we set a tough cease, we’re in the midst of one thing … we’re successfully pushing that difficulty ahead and I already really feel like we’re losing time as it’s.”

Tredinnick did not assume the ten pm deadline would assist the fee run extra effectively. She stated that it will solely result in the problems raised by Haddow being ignored on the finish of the evening.

The fee agreed to put the gadgets that weren’t met by the deadline on the high of their subsequent agenda.
Haddow stated he requested that the fee examine the affect of the controversial PW Digital Gateway Proposal in areas the place traditionally black cemeteries could also be situated. Haddow tried to debate his request and a evaluate of the varsity useful resource officer program on the June 16 fee assembly. He did so effectively earlier than 10 pm, however his movement to adjourn the bylaws dialogue to cowl different enterprise was denied.

Williams later moved that the assembly proceed previous 10 pm to debate Haddow’s requests, but it surely was denied.

Haddow voted towards Williams’ movement, saying it was bogus and “was a cynical ploy that ignored the truth that the general public would have believed the whole assembly could be consumed with bylaw amendments and procedural discussions.”

Rock stated he wanted readability on Haddow’s request associated to the digital gateway, however supported defending cemeteries within the proposed improvement space.

Trying forward, Rock needs to look at gun violence within the county. She stated lots of the native shootings contain youth, notably these at Freedom and Potomac Excessive Faculties.

Tredinnick, who was one of many commissioners who voted to disband the panel in December, stated Republican-appointed supervisors “haven’t got a whole lot of say” on the fee.

“I nonetheless strongly imagine there is no such thing as a systemic racism,” he stated. “I don’t comply with proceed the search.”

To cope with the private and political assaults that proliferated throughout the fee’s first 12 months, Newsham launched a constitution modification in June to permit for censorship of commissioners. He would even have allowed the fee to request that the Board of Supervisors take away one among its members.

“One of the best ways to vary human conduct is to have particular penalties,” he stated.
Haddow strongly opposed Newsham’s proposal, saying it will “take away the First Modification proper” of commissioners.

“I believe it strips the members of this fee of their First Modification proper to disagree with the top or members of the fee,” he stated. “I see this as one thing very particular.”

Williams supported the measure, saying, “You continue to have your First Modification rights, however there are penalties.”

“I believe it is affordable. I do not assume it is highly effective,” she stated. “It stays the person’s option to act as he wish to act. There are solely penalties for these actions.”

Frederick stated the fee has been attempting unsuccessfully to handle decorum since its inception.

“If the shoe does not match and does not belong to you, don’t be concerned about it,” he stated. “We preserve hitting the identical horse, and I do not perceive why.”

Brentsville Commissioner London Steverson stated the proposal would primarily enable anybody with “harm emotions” to have a “protected area” and a “blanket.”

Newsham stated the proposal didn’t take away First Modification rights.

“There’s a clear distinction between disagreement and disrespect,” he stated. “I believe we have to take penalties towards individuals who assume it is okay to disrespect individuals on this room.”

The fee finally authorised a measure to advertise respect amongst its members in a 9-3 vote.

In contrast to their earlier two conferences, the July 21 assembly was remarkably civil and concise.

After finishing bylaw critiques, Haddow made a movement to evaluate the varsity security and college useful resource officer program. His movement failed, and different commissioners stated faculty security was not inside the purview of the panel.

Haddow later led a dialogue centered on the impact of Proposed PW Digital Gateway in black cemeteries or unmarked graves within the space.

Some commissioners felt the panel ought to look at the county’s insurance policies concerning cemeteries and land use relatively than fixate on a specific proposal. After some dialogue, the fee agreed to current to county officers to stipulate laws for cemeteries at their subsequent assembly.

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