Letter from Councilmember Jovanka Beckles to the media:
Good day all,
I will not be attending this year’s Richmond branch of the NAACP's Freedom Fund banquet on February 2.
This year's theme is entitled, "Embracing and Enhancing our Community.” The branch recently announced that it will be honoring Corky Booze, as the first recipient of what it plans as an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace and Freedom award.
Given his history in Richmond, I cannot support honoring Mr. Booze as a peacemaker. In fact, I think that many in Richmond know him to be a bully who makes regular abusive verbal threats including at Council meetings. He has threatened to have physical harm done to me and to others.
There are many people in Richmond deserving of recognition for making Richmond a more peaceful and loving community. These include the Safe Return team, the individuals who walk the streets of Richmond every Friday night as part of the Ceasefire Team, the change agents of ONS, the police department that has made tremendous strides in community policing, the pastors who daily negotiate problems on the street, the organizations working to improve the lives of our children, the folks who worked so hard to make sure that the realignment funds were directed to development of reentry programs, and many more.
To honor these and others who have worked peacefully to improve Richmond would truly honor Dr. King’s beliefs. To give the award to Mr. Booze as part of a political campaign is a mockery of everything Dr. King stood for.
I will honor Dr. King by not condoning this mockery and I invite others who believe in the true meaning of peace, to honor the people who have truly followed in the footsteps of Dr. King.
Councilmember, City of Richmond