‘You Want Us To Recite This?’: County ‘Social Justice Commission’ Starts Tense With Unannounced ‘Equity Pledge’

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The Racial and Social Justice Commission of Prince William County, Virginia held Thursday its first working meeting, where the board members were asked to recite an “Equity Pledge” which had not been circulated beforehand.

The meeting saw a number of tense moments, beginning when chairwoman Shantell Rock requested adding an item to the agenda that would limit commissioners’ speaking time to just three minutes when discussing motions, InsideNoVA reported.

After her motion was passed, Rock proceeded to urge the commissioners and those present in the audience to join her in reciting the “Equity Pledge” that was projected on the screen, only to be interrupted by Coles Commissioner Charles Haddow.

Haddow stated that the pledge had not been circulated before the meeting. Gainesville Commissioner Erica Tredinnick confirmed Haddow’s words, according to InsideNoVA.

“I don’t know what this pledge is. I’m sure it’s well-intentioned,” Haddow said, according to InsideNoVA. “I didn’t come here to do the exercise that’s team-building instead of examining the issues and disparities.”

“Madam Chair, may I just confirm what you are asking us? Do you want us to recite this?” another commissioner queried after skimming the document, video from the meeting shows.

Rock chose to read the pledge on her own but said that the commission could all recite it at the next meeting, according to the report.

The commission was approved Oct. 19 by the county’s Board of Supervisors, according to InsideNoVA. It is tasked with reporting on “the state of racial and social justice for people of color” in the county and making policy recommendations to the local government. The entity’s initial focus is on policing, public education and the “provision of government services.”