RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Demonstrators have been taking to Capitol Square since Friday to voice their anger over Governor Ralph Northam’s refusal to resign.
On Monday, dozens gathered outside the governor’s mansion holding signs, delivering speeches and chanting, all sharing a similar message: “You cannot continue as governor.”
Monday’s protesters represent a small portion of the fallout from a racially-charged photo that surfaced last week on Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook page.
“This is like the most egregious thing I ever saw, it made me physically sick,” Stephanie Fritsch said.
Luis Aguilar, Virginia director of the immigrants’ rights group CASA in Action, added, “This is a direct attack to one community, and we feel that as such as people of color.
“So, we know that we have to take a stand and we have to be out here to demand that the Governor does what is best for Virginia.”
Protesters didn’t just take issue with the controversial photo, but the governor’s handling of the situation as well. Gov. Northam first admitted to and apologized for appearing in the 1984 photo, but less than 24 hours later, said during a press conference that he did not believe that that was him pictured.
“The trust is completely broken and this is not something that we can accept,” Aguilar said.
Northam, meanwhile, stayed out of sight as he met with his Cabinet and senior staff to hear their assessment of whether it was feasible for him to stay in office, according to a top administration official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The meetings included frank conversations about the difficulties of governing under such circumstances, the person said.