From the Deshundra Jefferson for Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair campaign:
ICYMI – AUDIO: Brentsville Call on Supervisor Jeanine Lawson to Apologize
The Thomas family explain how Lawson kicked them out of a public town hall without cause
Yesterday, Geralene Thomas Freeman and Allen Thomas called on Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson to apologize for the humiliation they endured after being kicked out of a public town hall last Tuesday.
The Thomases attended an event hosted by Lawson’s office advertised as a “town hall” and “open forum.” The town hall concerned proposed development on both their property, which they have held in their family for over a century, and other nearby developments. The Thomases hoped to introduce themselves to their neighbors and share their perspective and hear about the other developments. However, the Thomases were asked to leave the event, leaving them feeling humiliated, and they have now requested an apology from Supervisor Lawson.
Unedited audio of the press conference with the Thomases is attached. Selected quotes follow:
Allen Thomas: “We’re very heavily committed to the things that happen in the community.
Jeanine Lawson, our supervisor, put a flyer out saying that there was to be a community town hall for people to come to. We came in, sat down. Someone got up and requested that anyone not living in [one of three specific HOA neighborhoods] was to leave.
We didn’t get an opportunity to speak with anyone, to meet with them, to let them know who we are and what we do.
I would hope and believe that the people representing us would not be the type of people doing something of that nature, having people leave a forum that has been advertised as an open forum.
I would not like someone like that to represent me as a citizen.”
Geralene Thomas Freeman: “We didn’t expect our Brentsville supervisor to ask us to leave. We would like Supervisor Lawson to apologize… It felt like we were being singled out. I do not think that supervisors should be selective of who attends a town hall meeting if it’s advertised as an open forum”
In a joint letter to the Board of County Supervisors, the Thomas family wrote the following:
“We found it truly embarrassing that our Supervisor chose to exclude us and others, considering we have been long-standing members of the Bristow area community and believed we had every right to participate in an open forum, just like any other resident. This selective approach was not in line with the leadership expected from local leaders, especially from someone aspiring to lead the entire Board of Supervisors for our county.”