June 14, 2024

Virginia mayor urged to resign after saying Biden picked ‘Aunt Jemima as his VP’

Luray, Virginia mayor Barry Presgraves (Photo: Town of Luray)

A Virginia mayor is under fire and being asked to resign after a controversial Facebook post in which he opined that Joe Biden “just announced Aunt Jemima” as his running mate.

Read More: Joe Biden introduces VP pick Kamala Harris at 1st campaign event

According to NBC News, over the weekend Mayor Barry Presgraves of Luray, Virginia raised brows after he posted the racially charged comparison to his Facebook page.

It’s been reported that members of the Luray Town Council and other residents were swift with their condemnation forcing him to take down the post that very same weekend.

The latest Census data shows that the small town – located about 90 miles west of Washington, D.C. – has less than 5,000 residents and only 4% of that population is Black.

Following the backlash, Presgraves apologized at a town council meeting, and the following day Biden did, in fact, formally announce California Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate.

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“I want to make this very clear to everyone with absolutely no qualifications,” Presgraves said. “I understand what I posted on social media was wrong, offensive and unbecoming.”

“I also want to make a direct apology to all people of color and women. Passing off demeaning and worn-out racial stereotypes as humor isn’t funny,” the 77-year-old lawmaker continued, reading from a prepared statement. “I now fully understand how hurtful it is and I can and will do better and we can all do better. We must.”

He then concluded him mea culpa by saying, “From the bottom of my heart, I am sorry and humbly ask for your forgiveness and your grace.”

But 69-year-old Luray resident Barbara Veney, was at the meeting and addressed the mayor directly, explaining, “I’ve been here all my life. Almost 70 years. And today, I’m hurt.” 

“We need somebody with positive thinking that will shape this community. No more dividing,” she said. “In order for us to move on … I’m asking you today, Mr. Mayor that you step down in love — because I love you — and do the right thing.”

It’s been reported that Councilmember Leah Pence also sent an email to Presgraves urging him to resign.

“While a resignation alone will not resolve the systemic subliminal racism that plagues our community, your resignation is imperative as we work towards ending racism in our community,” Pence wrote.

Presgraves, who only has a few more months in office and is not seeking reelection, said that he would not willingly step down.

READ MORE: Joe Biden has a plan to support, grow Black farmers and rural communities

“Hell no, I’m not resigning,” he told the Page Valley News. “The people elected me and I have a few months more to serve.”

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