The debate over the word "equity" in Virginia politics continues
Equity has become the latest flashpoint in Virginia politics.
When he was on the campaign trail, Governor Glenn Youngkin was critical of the word equity. Then when he became governor, he took the word equity out of the title of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. And now, he's increasingly critical of efforts in the financial sector to improve environmental and social governance on corporate boards, also known as ESG.
This week he told reporters DEI and ESG have gone "off the rails." But that's an approach that might derail Virginia says U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat and former governor.
"I believe that reflecting Virginia's diversity and making sure it's fully inclusive and making sure it's fair. Yeah, I think there are moral reasons for that," Warner says. "But I think there are plain, old Business 101 reasons."
Jatia Wrighten is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies the political behavior of marginalized communities.
"The issue that Governor Youngkin has with equity really ties back into this acknowledgement that our institutions, our opportunities, our society generally is deeply and forever tied to a system of racism and sexism," Wrighten explains.
The governor's comments about equity going off the rails was in reaction to questions about his administration’s chief diversity official declaring DEI is dead.