By Andrew Shannon
I am writing to share my reflections on the effort underway by opponents and adversaries of Dr. Curtis W. Harris in the City of Hopewell, Virginia.
A political opponent of the longtime Hopewell City Councilor is asking a court to remove the civil rights icon from office for not performing his duties following a stroke in 2010.
First, I would like to raise the issue of due process and equal protection under the law. This now becomes a civil rights case because Dr. Curtis W. Harris should be protected by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Dr. Curtis W. Harris was delivered a subpoena on Saturday, February 25, 2012 to appear in court 9 a.m. on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 in the City of Hopewell to respond to the aforementioned petition.
Secondly, this is a moral issue that people of goodwill who are aware of all the contributions that Dr. Curtis W. Harris has made to the City of Hopewell, the Commonwealth of Virginia and across the country would sit quietly by, and allow others to attempt to take the dignity from a man who has worked all of his life for others.
I am saddened by this most recent turn of events and I submit to you that history will agree that this is “A sad day in the City of Hopewell and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
I have marched alongside Dr. Curtis W. Harris, the first African American Mayor in the City of Hopewell to address concerns of environmental justice, such as the construction of an ethanol plant in the City of Hopewell. Also,the unequal terms and conditions as it pertains to the enforcement of laws involving establishments that have a large population of African Americans as customers versus non-minorities in Newport News and Hampton, to name a few. In Hopewell, the ethanol plant was constructed against the will of the people. Shortly after construction, there was an explosion in the plant. In Newport News the judge sided with us in our concerns of how The Alley was being unfairly treated by the Virginia Department of ABC and we won the case!
I often hear people say that they are reluctant to take a stand because of their busy lives, families, jobs and community status. I am glad that during my lifetime, I had the honor and the privilege to meet and know Dr. Curtis W. Harris, a man who is not afraid of contrarians and cynics, and who has worked tirelessly all of his life to provide service to humanity.
Andrew Shannon is the Founder and Organizer Southeast Community Day Parade and Festival and the Feeding 5000 and Community Celebration Newport News, Virginia.