Virgil Watkins, Jr. is a county commissioner in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia. He became an E Pluribus Unum Fellow to solve a problem his county shared with the country at large: they faced significant racial disparities, but struggled to discuss race at all.
“We noticed 60% of the Black people in Macon were experiencing poverty, versus 8% of the white community due to redlining,” he explains. “But we were just talking about geographies. We’d avoid race.”
Watkins wanted his local government to not only talk about racial inequity in Macon, but to end it. Through the E Pluribus Unum fellowship, Watkins joined other elected leaders for training and education around racial equity. He became interested in “equity resolutions,” through which governments pledge to address inequities in their communities.