Our Opinion: Service in memory of Johns’ legacy

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The news that the Virginia General Assembly is considering designating April 28 of each year as Barbara Johns Day in Virginia came as a great surprise to many, stunning those involved in the student strike in 1951, supporters of the Moton Museum and Civil Rights Landmark and members of the Farmville and Prince Edward community.

We thank state Sen. Mark Peake for sponsoring such legislation that, if approved by both chambers at the Capitol, will forever etch Johns’ name into the minds of millions of Virginians, from the mountains of Alleghany County to the shores of Virginia Beach.

Should legislators adopt the Senate Joint Resolution — as they’re expected to — this community and those across the commonwealth should go above and beyond simply settling with having a day named in Johns’ memory.

The Heart of Virginia should take the lead in organizing initiatives and projects celebrating democracy, community service and the history of our communities, inspiring other communities to do the same during the statewide day of honor and celebration of Johns’ actions in 1951 that continue to affect the lives of people today.

Together, as a community, we should unite to organize projects that will benefit neighborhoods in Farmville and  communities in Prince Edward, and those in Buckingham and Cumberland should do the same, showing other parts of the state what Johns’ impact means.

Having a piece of legislation signed by the governor commemorating Johns’ actions and designating a day in her honor is one thing. But putting into motion activities and projects that improve the community and those who live here in her memory is another.

That’s exactly what needs to be done should legislators adopt Peake’s proposed measure, honoring this civil rights pioneer.