The Courier-Record

‘CIVILITY AND STABILITY’

Black History ‘Ring of Honor’ proposed

COUNTY PANEL TO BE NAMED FOR SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS, CELEBRATIONS

Nottoway Supervisors have agreed to appoint a 15-member panel –three citizens from each election district — that would come up with ways to recognize black leaders and celebrate others for their contributions to this county.

Board Chairman John Roark made the proposal at the Board’s Feb. 15th meeting. “With February being Black History Month and recognizing that the current board lacks diversity,” Roark explained, “I want to offer an idea of how to bring appropriate recognition to the numerous black citizens of Nottoway County that have been instrumental during the County’s history in many positive ways.”

For the first time since 1988, Nottoway’s Board of Supervisors includes no African-Americans. Two of the five seats were held by blacks from 1992 until last November’s elections.

Roark said his initial idea was establishing a “Nottoway County Black History Ring of Honor.”

Roark said he mentioned his idea to County Administrator Steve Bowen. “And we decided to have some conversations with citizens from the county. Out of those conversations, the idea grew into something I firmly believe this county needs and would benefit from, in many ways.”

Roark added, “One of the greatest benefits, I believe, would be recognition to our citizens who deserve it — as well as to bring all communities closer to each other as we should be, because our county needs to get back to civility and stability,” said the man credited with leading a political revolution of sorts here when he first ran for office in 2019 and was censured for an outburst in 2022.

Roark’s proposal, which received unanimous common consent, called for each Supervisor to appoint three citizens “to serve on a diverse community starting in July or August.” Roark said no Board members would be allowed on the panel. “The whole idea is open to suggestions and is in no way intended to be a one-person show. Personally, I feel we should have women, men, and our younger adults. who far too often feel as though they have no voice… The purpose of this committee would be to offer suggestions on how the County can better bring proper recognition to its citizens during certain times of the year, for example, Black History Month, Veterans Day, EMS Week, and Cinco de Mayo.”

Supervisor Bo Toth called Roark’s initiative a “wonderful idea.”

Supervisor Dicky Ingram agreed, calling it “something that should have been done a long time ago.”

Supervisor Bill Collins noted, “We don’t have festivals anymore, so if a group gets together and says, ‘Hey, let’s celebrate this particular person or this particular day — and it helps the county enjoy each other’s company, I think that’s fine.”

Supervisor Daphne Norton called Roark’s proposal a “good idea” but said she wished she had received his email much sooner than after 3:30 p.m. on the day of the meeting. “But it’s a very good concept.”

Supervisor Norton added that she attended the School Board’s Feb. 8th meeting and was impressed by the Division’s recognitions of various professional months and those who serve in certain capacities.

Chairman Roark said County Administrator Steve Bowen should attend the new committee’s first meeting “but then back off.”

Toth agreed. “Yeah, we establish it — now y’all take care of it and run it.”

Roark said the committee would have no voting power but would bring recommendations to the Board. “I mean, it could be anything. This county is loaded with nurses and there’s a Nurses Week out there… I think the more we have the citizens involved in this, the more we will get it right, the more they’ll feel their voices are being heard. Think about it — just a few years ago, we didn’t have a county website.”

Roark reiterated, “I feel like this is very important for the civility and stability of this county moving forward.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *