Virginia’s attorney general made his first public appearance Sunday night since admitting to wearing blackface in college in 1980.
Attorney General Mark Herring was a guest at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Leesburg for an interfaith event addressing race relations and racial injustices.
“I am so very sorry that something I did a long time ago when I was 19 has added to and contributed to pain and to the disappointment,” he said.
He said he'd grown from his mistake decades ago.
“I know it was wrong and I know why it was wrong,” he said. “Was a dehumanization people of color and minimization of oppressive history.”
Herring had been among the elected leaders who called for Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after a photo surfaced from Northam's medical school yearbook showing someone in blackface and someone in a KKK robe.
Both men have resisted calls to resign.
“I’m still listening to Virginians about how they’ve been impacted by this and listening to them to see if they would like me to continue, if I still have their trust,” Herring said.
Herring was praised for appearing at the event.
“It takes a great deal of courage not only to face mistakes but to face the people, and that is a testament to your character, sir, and I knew you would do it,” said Pastor Michelle Thomas, president of NAACP Loudoun County.
Herring said he hopes positive change will happen as a result of the controversy.
“Virginians want to take this moment, this focus on race in Virginia right now and try to make some good come of it,” he said.