close and back to page

Latest News

Latest News

VA Diversity Official's Statement Against White Supremacists Rejected by Trump Appointee

Georgia Coffey reached a tipping point when her request to condemn white supremacists after the deadly Charlottesville, Va., rally was squashed by a Department of Veterans Affairs communications official, according to emails

A white supremacists carries the Confederate flag in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 12, 2017. / REUTERS

The top communications official at the Department of Veterans Affairs reportedly told Georgia Coffey, the chief diversity officer, not to condemn white supremacists after the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va. Coffey chose to rock the bigot boat, but frustrated by lack of support from the Trump administration, she jumped ship.


Coffey, a career senior executive at VA, pushed the agency to issue a statement against the "repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan," according to emails from August 2017, given to The Washington Post by American Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog group.

Coffey's statement conflicted with President Trump's response in which he blamed "many sides" for the rally where Heather Heyer was killed. She also said that Charlottesville was "a tragic reminder that our work in civil rights and inclusion is not finished."

The same week Coffey drafted the remarks for dissemination by VA Secretary David Shulkin, he broke with Trump by saying the violence "outraged" him, which made waves.

So John Ullyot, the VA's chief communications official, a Trump appointee, told Coffey in an email to stand down.

His directive allegedly came from the White House, where officials were "scrambling to contain the fallout from Trump's comments," sources told The Post.

Coffey intended for the statement to be sent to 380,000 VA employees of whom more than 40 percent are minorities. It would've also been made public.

She said in an email that paring down the statement would "dilute my message and fail to convey the sense of condemnation that I hope we all feel."

It seems the racism and violence that occurred in Charlottesville, along with Trump's indifference prompted a tipping point in her career at the VA — Coffey published the statement on her own.

The full remarks were published under her name in the September 2017 newsletter posted by the VA's diversity office. But it was removed and she was reportedly reprimanded.

On the VA's Office of Diversity and Inclusion website, there's no newsletter listed for September 2017.

Coffey retired from her position after getting burnt by the Trump administration. In November 2017, she began work as senior manager for diversity and inclusion at Lockheed Martin. She has not commented to the press about the discovery of the emails.

Reader Question: Georgia Coffey made a bold move. Would you have done the same in a similar situation?

The Conversation (3)
John Fuller07 Dec, 2018

You forgot to add Lou that Itild her to tone it down and actually wrote another memo for Georgia that included most of her comments. Yet it provided a little more balance with mention of Antifa and other instigators. I wirked with Georgia for 8 years. I did not want to lose her fir the VA. As a result of her statement I retired because the zVA decided not to suppirt the much needed race relations dialogues i heeld nationwide that were acclaimed and had unparalleled results.

Do not despair, i am back with another federal agency who dies support these dialogues.

votetocorrect07 Dec, 2018

Why did this take so long to come out, and how do we get rid of the road blocks?

Miami Beach Police Officer Adriel Dominguez sucker-punched a Black man identified as Lowell Poitier Jr., a 35-year-old homeless man, at a hotel in Miami.

Read More Show Less
FACEBOOK

Jasmine Headley, age 23, was carrying her child into a city agency building in Brooklyn where SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is located, and sat on the floor to wait as there were no more chairs. A bystander, Nyashia Ferguson, who goes by the name Monae Sinclair on Facebook, reported she saw a security guard confront Headley and the two got into an argument. Security called the police, and when they arrived, Headley tried to explain, but they cut her off. That's when things got ugly.

Read More Show Less

John Kelly Owes Frederica Wilson an Apology Before He Leaves the White House

"I hope he will offer a long overdue apology to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson for lying about her in the press," tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee.

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly will exit his post by the end of the year. During his tenure, Kelly has contributed to the administration's perpetual disrespect of Black women, including Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.). He made up a lie about her.

Read More Show Less

Kevin Hart Steps Down from Hosting Oscars

The Academy gave Hart the ultimatum to apologize or step down over past homophobic tweets. But the Academy has its own issues it needs to face.

REUTERS

Comedian Kevin Hart tweeted on Tuesday that being selected to host the 2019 Oscars was the "opportunity of a lifetime." On Friday, Hart said that he was stepping down over past anti-gay tweets.

Read More Show Less

Viral Video Sparks Debate on Racial Disparities in How Police Use Force

A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.

Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and Emantic Bradford Jr. were all minding their own business, not mouthing off, and they were shot dead by police. Sandra Bland questioned an officer and wound up dead in a jail cell.

So when a video of an unidentified white man spewing expletives at an officer, throwing his license at the officer, and threatening to kill the officer, without any physical consequences, started circulating on Twitter, it went viral with more than 1 million views this week.

People of color on Twitter commented that had it been them in the video, they would've had bullets in the chest by the time the truck passed:

There are studies that well document how Blacks have been treated differently by police. In the case traffic stops, whites were 57 percent more likely to be spoken to with respectful language, whereas Black drivers were 61 percent more likely to experience an exchange that was the least respectful. Officers language with the least respect included calling people, "dude, bro, boss, man, brotha, sista or chief".

FBI data found that U.S. police kill Black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. And 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police are Black.

Yet racists, and some conservatives believe the treatment is deserved because Blacks did something wrong.

For example, in Orlando's International Airport in August, a white male Trump supporter tackled to the ground by police for being a disruptive passenger knew his privilege, when he said, "You're being rough with me. You're f***ing treating me like a Black person."

Reader Question: How does the video of the white man berating the white officer make you feel?

NYPD Discovery Hearing Set for Cop Who Killed Eric Garner

Thursday's hearing could result in Daniel Pantaleo being terminated from the force.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold which killed him, is scheduled for a disciplinary conference on Thursday that could result in the termination of his job.

Read More Show Less

ICE Tried to Deport an American Citizen to Jamaica, He's Suing

Peter Sean Brown was released from ICE custody after a friend sent a copy of his birth certificate to ICE, according to the suit.

Peter Sean Brown was detained by Florida authorities and flagged for deportation after a request from ICE. Brown was born in Philadelphia and a Florida Keys resident.

Read More Show Less

Racists Beat Down Oregon Man, Police Are Not Investigating as Hate Crime

Meanwhile, Parsham Rabiee, a Lyft driver, now can't work to save the life he took years to build.

Parsham Rabiee was attacked by two white Lyft passengers outside of Portland, Ore., who verbally and physically assaulted him, including repeated use of racial slurs and making fun of his music. But the Gresham police are claiming it wasn't a racially-biased attack.

Read More Show Less