PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The year was 1964 when civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer said “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Michelle Ellis-Young, born years later, says she is sick and tired of writing statements about racism.
This week, the national and local offices of the YWCA issued calls to action following a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that the FBI has called a racist hate crime.
“We are in a civil war for humanity right now in 2022. The level of racism that we are experiencing across this country is unprecedented in a civilized world,” said Ellis Young, who is the chief executive officer of the YWCA South Hampton Roads.
Because of politics, said Ellis-Young, Jim Crow’s deadly boomerang is back.
“What we’re starting to see is a ripple effect when leaders permeate racist attacks against people and it, quite frankly, we have been seeing the increase over the last five years. As a result of leadership in this country,” she said.
This was Ellis Young’s response when asked whether Trumpism is responsible: “Absolutely. There is no secret that the Band-Aid was pulled back from the wound. It was already infected, but it was covered up.”
The gunman’s manifesto mentions Great Replacement Theory and Critical Race Theory, the latter of which was banned by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in a day-one executive order. State education officials have said CRT is not part of Virginia’s K-12 curriculum.
Ellis Young described how Youngkin’s order could affect minorities.
“It not only says that our pain is not valid, but we are devalued as a people,” said Ellis-Young, who has a message for the governor.
“My message to Governor Youngkin and his administration is that we are at a critical time where the lives of people — particularly Black people — are being snuffed away due to senseless violence, senseless perceptions of who is more than and who is less than. This is not a world of just one race; it is a world of races of people who should be regarded as equal contributors,” said Ellis Young.
When asked about whether the governor of Virginia would back down on his ban on what he calls divisive content, spokesperson Macaulay Porter wrote:
“The governor strongly believes that we should teach all history, the good and the bad. Teaching all history is not divisive. Diversity is our strength, and we will protect all learners from discrimination. The Governor believes that Saturday’s attack was a horrific event perpetrated against innocent people.”