In the City of Harrisonburg, Virginia, racial minorities make up 30% of the population but less than 10% of the workforce employed by the City. These racial disparities and discriminatory hiring practices have repeatedly been brought to the attention of City Council members and the City of Harrisonburg's Human Resource Department, to no avail.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her race or color in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude minorities and that are not job related...(I)t is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on race or color, or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.

Source: US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

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Steven Thomas 9 months ago

Dear Harrisonburg City Council:

The 2019 Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed resolutions to “acknowledge with profound regret the existence and acceptance of lynching” in Virginia. According to the resolutions, the state’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will document each lynching in the commonwealth as completely as possible. The details will include the victim’s name and the location and circumstances of the lynching.

Charlotte Harris was an African-American woman who was abducted from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Jail by a mob and subsequently lynched by them on March 6, 1878. Beginning in 2017, the Northeast Neighborhood Association started working with James Madison University professor Dr. Gianluca De Fazio to learn more about this lynching and to memorialize Charlotte Harris. On the approximate 140th anniversary of the lynching of Charlotte Harris in March 2018, we were invited to participate in a related event on the JMU campus where we formally announced that we would be working in earnest with local officials and partners to appropriately acknowledge and memorialize this traumatic event in our community.

With the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, in April 2018, we have been in communication with the administration of the memorial and are actively working to return the memorial there to Charlotte Harris, back to her native Harrisonburg and the Newtown Cemetery (or otherwise appropriate location) where she undoubtedly would have been buried had she lived and died a natural death. This process includes a Community Remembrance Project, Soil Collection, Historical Marker Project and finally the Memorial Monument Placement Initiative.

We are writing to share this information with all of you in hopes that we can count on the support of Harrisonburg City government as we continue to develop this project. This process will take time and we are committed to see it through to completion. We are including a link that will assist with your understanding of this subject. We also contacted the Rockingham County Board of Supervisors in 2018 in hopes to coordinate accurate dialogue and communication between all concerned parties and stakeholders.

We are grateful for your time and thank you in advance for your consideration, cooperation and support in memorializing the lynching and the life of Charlotte Harris.

Sincerely,

Steven Thomas http://sites.jmu.edu/valynchings/VA1878030601/

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