The conversation among Loudoun business leaders began in the days after the Charlottesville riot last year and it stepped up as anti-Semitic and racist fliers appeared in the driveways of Loudoun homes.
How should they react if these extremists sought to infiltrate Loudoun?
This week, they released a formal statement denouncing the “malignant messages” and declaring a united effort to promote equality and respect for all.
Among the signatories is Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tony Howard. He said the statement is designed to make it clear that these views are not representative of the Loudoun community and that the perpetrators’ message of hate won’t find a home here.
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of people wake up every day to try to make Loudoun County a better place,” Howard said. “Let’s tell them what Loudoun County is really about.”
Getting the statement signed by the leaders of seven of Loudoun’s major business groups wasn’t a simple task, Howard said, noting at in many cases boards of directors were required to formally vote to endorse the statement. The last approval came Friday, by members of the Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Commission.
Statement by organizations representing
Loudoun County’s business community
Monday, February 19, 2018
We, the undersigned representatives of organizations that serve Loudoun County’s business community, are committed to ensuring our community secures and maintains a healthy and prosperous quality of life that serves the best interests of all our citizens.
Among the hallmarks of a healthy and prosperous quality of life are a strong and vital economic climate rooted in an atmosphere of unity and inclusion where every resident, visitor and worker – regardless of their race, religion, economic condition, gender or other aspect of their humanity – is treated with equality, dignity, and respect.
While we are proud of the progress Loudoun County has achieved to live up these ideals, these values have been challenged by the messages of hate and division espoused in fliers recently and impermissibly deposited on the streets, driveways and public spaces of our community. The organization these fliers purport to represent is well known for a century and half legacy of violence and terror.
On behalf of our organizations and the thousands of businesses and employers we represent, we declare in a unified voice that these messages do not represent our community’s values.
The individuals that chose to spread these malignant messages did so to intimidate our neighbors and to otherwise degrade our community. While we respect everyone’s Constitutionally-protected right to free speech, we are committed to ensure they fail in both these endeavors. We support the law enforcement officials and other authorities that are working to address this situation. The Loudoun County business community stands united in a steadfast commitment to equality and respect for all.
Christine Windle, Chief Executive Officer
Dulles Area Association of REALTORS®
John Boylan, President & CEO
Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce
Darius Saeidi, President
Historic Downtown Leesburg Association
Anthony J. Howard, President & CEO
Loudoun Chamber of Commerce
Todd Pearson, Chairman
Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Commission
Mary Gayle Holden, President
Purcellville Business Association
Beth Erickson, President & CEO