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WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence acknowledges that all people have inalienable rights endowed by their Creator, and the United States Constitution guarantees equal protection under the law; and
WHEREAS, these spiritual, political, and economic truths are fundamental American guarantees, but they are not fully realized in every community; and
WHEREAS, the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia, the epicenter of the American slave trade, the home of the Confederacy, and in 2017, the site of a violent, deadly protest held by white supremacists in Charlottesville; however, the Commonwealth has also been the home of trailblazing civil rights leaders; and
WHEREAS, Virginians for Reconciliation is a citizen volunteer group formed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the country's first enslaved Africans arriving in Virginia in August 1619 and to reflect upon Virginia's role in the enslavement of African Americans; and
WHEREAS, Virginians for Reconciliation will host a series of events to help participants understand and accept the hard truths that exist in an ethnically diverse America, and support an improved dynamic in which people of different races can have a healthier dialogue and work more closely together to advance the common good; and
WHEREAS, Virginians for Reconciliation will partner with American Evolution, which will also commemorate key historical events that took place in Virginia in 1619 through a series of exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural festivals; and
WHEREAS, Virginias have a unique opportunity in 2019 to accelerate the healing of racial divisions by acknowledging their depth and by developing solutions that move the nation toward unity and reconciliation economically, socially, and legally; and
WHEREAS, all Virginians are encouraged to observe the Year of Reconciliation and Civility by raising awareness and taking steps to promote a more equal, just, and civil society in America;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize 2019 as the YEAR OF RECONCILIATION AND CIVILITY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.