A Virginia town councilman is under fire, accused of defacing a public proclamation that was to go to the descendants of a man who was lynched.
The president of the Loudoun County NAACP called for Leesburg Councilman Thomas Dunn's resignation after he wrote a message on a Juneteenth proclamation rather than signing it.
The Leesburg Town Council passed a resolution proclaiming June 19-20 as Juneteenth and urging residents to recognize "this celebration in African-American history." Juneteenth celebrates slavery's end in the U.S.
The resolution also recognizes lynchings that occurred in Virginia, including one in Leesburg.
Dunn didn't sign the proclamation, instead writing a statement in his signature line.
“The statement read, ‘ Juneteenth is a celebration, lynchings are not,’” Pastor Michelle Thomas said.
Thomas, the Loudoun County NAACP president, said Dunn's remark is a clear insult.
“Leesburg Town Council member Tom Dunn must resign from his elected position effective immediately,” Councilman Ron Campbell said.
Dunn told news outlets he won't resign and criticized groups for refusing to accept differing opinions.
He released a statement saying, “Juneteenth is a celebration of the freedom of slavery by Texas and should not be diminished by bringing in other issues, while important, are not to be celebrated but observed such as lynchings.”
“We’re not celebrating the lynching,” Thomas said. “We’re celebrating the person.”
Dunn has written statements on his signature line on proclamations related to gay rights and gun violence.
“It keeps happening, and if we let the subtle stuff go, the big stuff moves in,” Loudoun County NAACP Vice President Amanda Tandy said.