In the first in a series of webinars on the topic of social justice, Terry McAuliffe, the former governor of Virginia and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Schar School for Policy and Government, spoke about evolving state and local politics around the country amid a series of critical social crises. More than 90 spectators tuned in for the conversation moderated by Schar School Dean Mark J. Rozell.
A recording of the hour-long webinar is available.
“These are the things that we as a society have to lean on, and politicians have got to quit talking, and they’ve got to start taking action,” McAuliffe said. “We have got to deal with the inequities of schools and housing and healthcare delivery and clearly fixate on the very racist criminal justice system.”
Criminal justice reform, the former governor indicated, can start with the police. Reforming police practices, such as chokeholds, is a good next step, but other issues exist as well. Voting rights for felons, for example, has been at odds for a long time around the country. (A second webinar, at noon on Tuesday, July 14, will address criminal justice reform.)
The disproportionate effects of climate change were also addressed, as black communities tend to deal with more pollution and poorer air quality, which is only expected to get worse. Providing educational opportunities, fair pay for teachers, and ending the de facto segregation that still exists in various school systems will also need action, McAuliffe argued.
The conversation tackled additional issues, such as decriminalizing marijuana and addressing income inequality.
But in the end, bi-partisan cooperation will likely be necessary to bringing about real changes.
“I’m tired of politicians talking,” McAuliffe said. “It’s time to do something.”