Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday signed legislation to establish an advisory board on issues impacting African-Americans.
The bill to create the Virginia African American Advisory Board was introduced in January by Del. Lamont Bagby, D-Henrico, the chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
Virginia has two similar existing boards that advise on Latino and Asian issues.
“The creation of this board is far overdue,” Bagby said. “Establishing the Virginia African American Advisory Board ensures that the African-American community has a permanent voice in the commonwealth’s executive branch, and I thank my colleagues in the General Assembly for putting their full support behind this important body.”
The board will consist of 21 citizen members appointed by the governor, at least 15 of whom must be African-American. The board is tasked with “advising the governor on developing economic, professional, cultural, educational, and governmental links between state government and the African-American community.”
Northam said in a statement: “To build a more accessible, inclusive, and equitable commonwealth we must ensure the voices of all Virginians are heard, particularly those from underrepresented and historically disenfranchised communities.”