The process can work

Published 10:29 am Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Farmville was host on Oct. 4 to a variety of events that are hallmarks of the American experience. There was a nationally televised debate between the vice presidential candidates, peaceful demonstrations and formal presentations of free speech emanating from First Amendment Field behind the Robert Russa Moton Museum.

It is also a hallmark of our country that public processes can actually work. In addition to a successful election on Nov. 8, there was also another example of a process working that made a cameo appearance in Farmville on Oct. 4.

Millis Stokes, of Emporia, helped get speeches underway at First Amendment Field. He spoke for just more than 10 minutes, citing that he was wrongfully terminated 16-and-a-half years ago from his position with the Virginia Department of Corrections because policies and procedures were not followed.

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He was reaching out to Virginia U.S. Sen. and Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine or any one of the candidates who would listen to help him achieve justice. He said he wanted to be cleared “because my son has my same name.”

I covered his speech with a brief post online and a YouTube video as part of The Farmville Herald’s coverage of events on debate day.

Stokes had communicated with the office of Sen. Kaine prior to Oct. 4, but it was a response he received on Nov. 17 answering his Oct. 24 letter that indicated Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has the authority to review his case and decide on the outcome.

Outside of Stokes’ resolute determination, I’m not exactly sure what factors may have been important to helping give him a way forward on his case, but it is exciting to see a man engaged with the process who is being heard in his effort to clear his name.

TITUS MOHLER is sports editor at The Farmville Herald. His email address is