At a time of historic change, Virginia will elect a woman of color for the first time as lieutenant governor

At a time of historic change, Virginia will elect a woman of color for the first time as lieutenant governor

CNN By Chandelis Duster, CNN Virginia is primed to elect a woman of color as its next lieutenant governor at a time when the commonwealth is facing a series of challenges that directly affect its Black and brown communities. Regardless of whether it will be Democrat Hala Ayala or Republican Winsome Sears, they’ll draw from their personal experiences as the next administration tackles challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, crime, education and racial justice, even if they don’t agree on the political remedies. She will also face the aftermath of a racial reckoning that has brought the commonwealth into a national spotlight. The killing of George Floyd last year ignited emotional debates about policing and the lingering presence of Confederate imagery. The pandemic has hit Black and brown communities especially hard , and a contentious debate over the teaching of race in the state’s public schools has emerged as a major issue in the gubernatorial campaign’s final weeks. Politically, Virginia has gone from a slave trading mecca that once held the capital of the Confederacy to a state that has trended blue in recent elections. Two women of color are now running for its second-highest office, nearly two years after the state’s General Assembly elected its first female speaker of the House in its 400-year legislative history. All of this makes Ayala and Sears’ candidacies “critical” for this moment in the commonwealth’s history, Kimberly Peeler-Allen, a co-founder of Higher Heights, a national organization that seeks to help Black women […]

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