CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Senator Mark Warner addressed Confederate statues, protests for racial justice, and the coronavirus pandemic during a conference call with reporters Thursday, June 4.
Warner, a former governor of Virginia, says it is time to take down Confederate monuments in the commonwealth.
“I think when so many of our fellow Virginians are in such pain, anguish, and feeling they’re left out, that these symbols that are part of our history, then it is time to take them down,” the Democratic senator said.
Warner is calling on Congress to take action in response to protests for racial justice after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. The senator is working with New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker on comprehensive federal criminal justice reform. He’s also developing a plan to provide support to black-owned banks and minority-owned financial institutions.
“If the Congress doesn’t hear those voices, not just the voices of the protesters but the voices of the police chiefs themselves who are joining these protests, then we’re not doing our job,” Warner said.
Sen. Warner lambasted President Donald Trump for his response to the nationwide anger, saying he used the moment to divide the country.
“Our country deserves better than this. In a moment like this, our country is looking for leaders that provide empathy but also offer solutions rather than simply empty words of thoughts and prayers,” Warner said.
The senator says the coronavirus pandemic is only adding to the racial inequities. He wants to make sure drug companies do trials of vaccines for the virus that reflect the population. Warner says the federal government needs to make sure vaccines are distributed fairly.
“If we’re wondering why people are saying enough in terms of police violence, enough in terms of economic disparity, we only need to look as well at the disparity taking place within our health care system,” Warner said.
Senator Mark Warner will host a virtual town hall Friday, June 5, with Richmond-area Congressman Donald McEachin to talk with voters about the government’s response to the protests and the pandemic. To join in, click here.