State Diversity Chief Turns Tables on Progressives, Opens with a Prayer Before Declaring Woke Movement 'Dead'
Virginia’s Chief Diversity Officer Martin Brown, while speaking at a mandatory training session at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), opened the session in prayer and then bashed the idea of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
VMI recorded the speech and made it available to Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira.
“DEI is dead”: Virginia’s Chief Diversity Officer comes to Virginia Military Institute for mandatory staff/faculty training, kicks off the session with a prayer to Jesus, declares that diversity is the “wrong mission,” and that DEI is dead. https://t.co/53NxZPKELk
— Ian Shapira (@ianshapira) April 27, 2023
“Let’s take a moment to kill that cow right now: DEI is dead,” Martin said during the April 21 speech. “We’re not going to bring that cow up anymore. It’s dead. It was mandated by the General Assembly, but this governor has a different philosophy of civil discourse, civility, treating — living the golden rule, right?”
Brown serves as Director of the Office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion under Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. In most states the office has “equity” in its name rather than “opportunity,” but the state of Virginia changed the word to make it more descriptive of the office.
“It’s proven that institutions achieve more with a more diverse and inclusive workforce,” Brown said. “However, equity has become a tradeoff for excellence. Our aim is to expand opportunities but not guarantee equal results.”
VMI, according to the Daily Mail, established its DEI office under Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam after he ordered a probe into reports of widespread racism followed by a VMI board vote to remove a confederate statue from its campus.
The current superintendent, retired Army Maj. Gen. Cedric Wins, has been mired in controversy as well after, according to the New York Post, introducing a five-goal plan with the mission to “achieve and maintain a more diverse and inclusive student body, faculty, staff, and administration.”
According to the Daily Wire, Many students and alumni believe that VMI exists to prepare soldiers and leaders for war, not “woke” projects that focus on equity at the expense of quality and excellence.
Gov. Youngkin himself spoke on this topic when discussing how public schools handled merit-based scholarships.
“We have to celebrate excellence. We shouldn’t embrace equity at the expense of excellence. Students work hard, they receive these kinds of accolades,” Youngkin tweeted.
Governor Youngkin on the withholding of national merit scholarship notifications: “We have to celebrate excellence. We shouldn’t embrace equity at the expense of excellence. Students work hard, they receive these kinds of accolades. Their parents and their kids should know.” pic.twitter.com/qv0o9nPN9I
— Governor Glenn Youngkin (@GovernorVA) March 10, 2023
According to WTVR in Richmond, the Virginia NAACP did not waste any time before calling for Brown’s resignation.
“The speech was filled with partisan talking points and erroneous assumptions and demonstrated Mr. Brown’s lack of fitness for the critically important position he occupies,” reads a statement from the NAACP. “His comments are not in keeping with either the intent of the office nor the spirit of unity of people supported by the Virginia State Conference NAACP. He should resign immediately.”
Brown also spoke of the position that VMI finds itself in as DEI supporters continue to push equity initiatives at the expense of excellence while many students and staff members want to focus on training rather than talking.
“VMI’s in a unique space. … You’ve been at the tip of the spear in serving our country in sending warriors to battle, but in a way, you’re at the tip of the spear in this cultural war as well,” Brown said, as quoted by Shapira.
“Generally, when you are focusing on equity, you’re not pursuing merit or excellence or achievement,” Brown said.
Just like he did with Virginia’s Department of Education, Youngkin appears to want to take the word “equity” out of the government’s vocabulary, and his selection of Brown as chief diversity officer may be helping him to move forward with that desire.
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