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Leesburg councilwoman’s ‘white men’ comment offends some followers

A public Facebook post from Leesburg Town Council member Kelly Burk implying white men shouldn't serve on the town's new Diversity Commission is stirring both anger and debate on social media.

Town Council on Tuesday night appointed seven members to the newly created Diversity Commission, this despite council member's Tom Dunn abstention from the vote to finalize the membership.

On Wednesday, Burk, the nonpartisan council's vice chair, wrote: “Last Night at the Leesburg Town Council meeting, the council nominated their appointees for the newly formed Diversity Commission. I have no doubt that each nominee will be an important member of the commission but I did find it somewhat ironic that two Republicans council members appointed white men to the diversity council.”

The vice chair's remarks set off claims of race baiting petty politics. Despite town council members being elected without the Democrat or Republican tag, most of the members are active participants in local political parties. In addition to the Democrat Burk, one of those members is Councilwoman Suzanne Fox, a Republican who called Burk's post “shameful.”

"How disappointing that the Vice Mayor of our town has resorted to race-baiting. I am very proud to have nominated Mr. Jed Babbin. My stance and my concern during the entire process of vetting the formation of a diversity commission is that the Town would see increased legal challenges if the diversity commission was formed, as the goals of the Diversity Task force were pretty clear … I should not have to defend my appointee based on the color of his skin or the sound of his last name.”

A commenter named Scott Morse replied, “I can't believe you're race baiting publicly. Really, you can't believe white people were nominated to a diversity commission? Are you saying white people cannot be diverse and shouldn't serve? I say you're UNFIT for public office with racist comments like this.”

“Gee whiz Council Person,” wrote Howard Douglas Lynes of Leesburg. “I suppose because I was born white and male I am automatically disqualified from serving my community on your Diversity Commission.”

But there were also words of encouragement for Burk's post.

Phillip Thompson, the head of the Loudoun NAACP, said he supported Burke's message.

“Not that I have any problem with white men especially those with good resumes dealing with diversity type issues and neither of the white men appointed had their resumes included in the package and one was a nomination made by Suzanne Fox who rightly called for more transparency," Thompson said. "From those who worked hard to get this Commission established it feels like a slap in the face when people are appointed without their qualifications being put forward for public scrutiny because now it looks like the people who appointed them are not taking the process serious. Diversity whether you support or oppose is a serious issue and should be addressed by serious people on both sides. The world is changing so some people better get use to it. Good job Kelly pointing out reality.”

To clarify, information about Fox's appointee, Jed Babbin, was included in the Leesburg council packet available online.

Heather Valdez Stillings noted, “Maybe the Republican comment offended some, but the rest of the message is spot on.”

Burk told the Times-Mirror today she was simply pointing out what she called a common criticism associated with Republicans – that it's the party of white males.

She stressed that she doesn't have anything against the white appointees and she believes they'll serve the town well.

The new members of the commission, created to foster diversity and inclusion within the town government workforce and community at large, are Enrique Gonzalez (the selection of Mayor Kristen Umstattd), Adrienne Bray (Burk), Linda McCray (Council member Marty Martinez), Yvette Castro-Green (Council member Katie Hammler), Chang Liu (Council member Dave Butler), Babbin (Fox) and Oliver Peters.

While Peters' name was not included in the informational packet for the May 12 agenda, he had sent in the requisite materials and application, Mayor Kristen Umstattd said. Part of the confusion stemmed from the fact Peters name was suggested by Dunn, who has repeatedly spoken out against creating the commission.

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.


WASP= White Anglo Saxon Protestant.

Nothing perjoritive about that term, despite the fact that Kelly Burk believes that such men are unfit to serve on a Diversity Commission.

“WASP” is a pejorative. Why would someone use that word?

As evidence of how truly hypocritical Kelly Burk is, let us all remember how she was a part of the closed-door Democratic Party conspiracy to force a black woman out of a Virginia Senate race so that her favored WASP male candidate could have an uncontested nomination.


Stereotyping “folks” (a word Obama loves to use) of any color or ethnicity is bigotry, pure and simple. “White” people of European ancestry are as diverse as any ethnic group.  Irish, Swedish, Italian, German, English, Greek, how different can you possibly get??

Diversity is more than skin deep. In fact, I’ll go so far to say that true diversity is, in fact, diversity of thought. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

no wonder nothing gets done. Isn’t “Diversity” the name of an old wooden ship?

I now really fear for Leesburg residents if Mayor Umstattd becomes the town supervisor and Burk becomes the acting mayor.  Kristen would never say something like that to disparage anyone

Watch out Kelly, the Fox and Friends pitch forks are out.  It is always humorous to look at comments from white people who look outside their window and say, no racial problems here and than opine on it like its fact everywhere.

Kelly, Kelly, Kelly - realizing my long history with your liberal minded self, perhaps you and the old, white women should step down from the town council and mayor positions and stop inciting those of us who are living peacefully in our town. why don’t we ever see anyone, but Tom and Suzanne in my community? maybe you should spend more of your time fighting climate change and wave banners on route 7 versus doing some real work for the town. no problems in leesburg until the liberal council members and mayor created it. I don’t get the war on whites, which I actually find the term racist…...

“I have no doubt that each nominee will be an important member of the commission but I did find it somewhat ironic that two Republicans council members appointed white men to the diversity council.”

That is what’s classically known, as a backhanded compliment.  She has no doubt that each person will be an important member - EVEN THE TWO WHITE GUYS. 

Why is that okay to espouse ?  If you had substituted ANY other color and gender,  it would have people coming out of the woodwork screaming racist.  And, to the head of the NAACP:  were the other nominees’ resumes put forward ?  You make no mention of that, so there’s no way to gauge your statement. 


Burke is a joke and so is this commission. We need a commission on corruption in politics. What’s that famous quote….“What difference does it make”

For Republicans diversity is allowing a Catholic as well as an evangelical.

I find it ‘ironic’ that Ms. Burks’ public comment criticizes people solely based on the color of their skin and their gender. 

The Vice Chair of the Diversity Commission. Just think about that.

When you’re a member of the Loudoun GOP,  as long as the two white men aren’t related, that’s pretty diverse.

this type of article is important to remind us all, the only opinions that matter are those shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Click bait!!!

Diversity in the GOP IS two white men. Because you know… They are different people.

If the GOP was interested in diversity, they wouldn’t be republicans

If it wasn’t for race-baiting, Democrats like Kelly Burk would never get elected.  Otherwise, they’d have to debate things like policies and issues and actually find solutions to problems.  Liberalism is predicated an causing strife among people, not working for a common good.

Does Kelly Burk also believe the converse is true?  What appointments should people of color not receive?

Congratulations to the Leesburg Town Council for finding a solution in the form of the Diversity Commission. Now all they need is a problem to solve.

Have there been widespread cases of unqualified people being hired on the basis of skin color, not the content of their character? I’ve been reading the LTM and other local news sources for a long time, and haven’t seen this epidemic.

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