Making History with Virginia’s Black Local Elected Officials (VABC-LEO)
Norfolk, VA – October 8, 2023 — History was etched into the books as the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce (VABCC) unfurled its most momentous initiative yet—the Virginia Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (VABC-LEO) Initiative. Nestled in the heart of Norfolk, Brother's restaurant became the setting for a day that promised to reshape the fabric of local governance.
The premise was simple yet profound: provide a dedicated platform for African American local elected officials to engage in discussions, to dream audaciously, and to enact transformative ideas that would breathe life into their communities.
In this Photo Left to Right: Christopher B. Jones, a Councilman of Harrisonburg, Tiffany Boyle, Commissioner of Revenue in Newport News, Tracey J. Hall the Executive Vice President of the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Mamie B. Johnson, a City Councilwoman of Norfolk, Congressman Bobby Scott, John T. Chapman, a City Councilman of Alexandria, Ernisha M. Hall the President & CEO of the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, and Derrick R. Wood, Mayor of Dumfries.
The inaugural gathering welcomed a stellar ensemble of speakers. There was Delegate Angelia Williams Graves, a candidate poised to script her journey into the Virginia State Senate. Alongside her, stood Delegate Don Scott, the revered Minority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, and Delegate Jackie Glass, representing the vibrant 89th district. The stage was set for a symphony of voices that would soon resonate far beyond the event's walls.
VABC-LEO was not just an isolated endeavor; it was the heart of an advocacy movement led by the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. Steering this ship were individuals of impeccable dedication and vision. Derrick R. Wood, Mayor of Dumfries, alongside Mamie B. Johnson, a City Councilwoman of Norfolk, painted a picture of leadership at its finest. The ensemble continued with John T. Chapman, a City Councilman of Alexandria; Tiffany Boyle, Commissioner of Revenue in Newport News; and Christopher B. Jones, a Councilman of Harrisonburg.
This initiative is not just a footnote in history; it's a chapter that marks a significant stride in advancing diversity and inclusion in local government. It reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce and its partners to promote the economic empowerment of Black-owned businesses, to empower African-American leaders, and to facilitate lasting positive change in their communities.
We invite you to be a part of this historic movement. Reach out to your Black local elected officials, and ask them if they are planning to join this groundbreaking initiative. Your voice, your support, your curiosity, are the chapters yet to be written in this inspiring story of unity, progress, and change.
Let's shape the future together, hand in hand, as we embark on this historic journey with VABC-LEO. The story has begun, and your chapter awaits.