The Loudoun Chapter of the NAACP is hoping to meet with the Leesburg Town Council to discuss how to move forward following last month’slast month’s controversy over the treatment of town proclamations.
Attorney Buta Biberaj, who leads the NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee, sent a letter to Town Manager Kaj Dentler July 2 requesting a meeting between the two bodies. In the letter, Biberaj said NAACP representatives would include herself, President Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, Vice President Amanda Tandy, and Education Chairwoman Robin Burke. The letter notes that the meeting would center on the actions of council members Tom Dunn and Josh Thiel, and the responses of the other council members.
In June, three proclamations that contained statements, rather than a signature, by Dunn ignited a firestorm, which sparked objections among three organizations and their members—the NAACP, Equality Loudoun, and Moms Demand Action—with some calling for the offending council members’ resignation. Thiel has apologized for writing on one of the proclamations at Dunn’s request, and Dunn has maintained that his actions were not meant to offend any group or individual. While he later added his signature to the proclamations, Dunn raised concerns that the council has begun putting forward politically charged proclamations.
During Monday night’s work session, the council discussed the best format for the meeting, including which Town Council members should. They settled on an appointed committee of two council members to meet with the NAACP contingent. On Tuesday night, council members voted for Vice Mayor Marty Martinez and Councilman Neil Steinberg to be those representatives. Because it would be an appointed committee of council members, the meeting would be public, Town Attorney Barbara Notar said.
Councilman Ron Campbell cast the lone vote against the appointments, saying he believed a committee of two council members, rather than the full council being a part of the meeting, went against the intent of the meeting with the NAACP.
Councilwoman Suzanne Fox was absent for the vote.