The Rev. Cozy Bailey, president of the Prince William NAACP, has been appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam to serve on the Virginia African American Advisory Board, which is charged with advising the governor on economic, professional, cultural, educational and governmental links between state government and the African American community.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve the commonwealth, especially the African American community of the commonwealth,” Bailey said. “We’ll continue to press forward and ensure that the government is given the best advice possible to create a stronger sense of inclusion in the governmental process of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The Virginia African American Advisory Board is composed of 18 members appointed by Northam, 15 of whom must be African American. In addition to advising the governor, the board will also submit an annual report to the governor and General Assembly for publication.
The African American Advisory Board was created by legislation filed earlier this year by the head of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Del. Lamont Bagby, D-74th, only a few weeks before Northam (D) became embroiled in a national scandal involving a racist photo printed on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.
Northam initially apologized but later denied he was one of two people shown in the yearbook photo -- one of whom was dressed in blackface and the other in Ku Klux Klan robes. The governor did admit, however, that he darkened his face with shoe polish to dress up like Michael Jackson for a dance contest.
Since then, Northam has tried to address racial inequalities in Virginia by working on policies beneficial to African American communities and by holding meetings with African American leaders across the state.
“To build a more accessible, inclusive, and equitable commonwealth we must ensure the voices of all Virginians are heard, particularly those from underrepresented and historically disenfranchised communities,” Northam said in March after signing legislation to create the African American Advisory Board.
“I look forward to working closely with the members of this board to advance policies and legislation to promote the economic, social, educational and cultural well-being of the African American community in Virginia.”
Two other existing state boards, the Virginia Latino Advisory Board and the Virginia Asian Advisory Board, also advise the Governor on issues affecting their communities in Virginia, including education, health equity, public safety and minority-owned businesses.
Bailey is a retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel. He and his wife, Andrea Bailey, live in Dumfries. Andrea Bailey is the Democratic candidate for the Prince William County Board of Supervisors in the Potomac District. She faces Republican Doug Taggart in the Nov. 5 election. Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, who has long held the seat, is not running for re-election.
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