August 31, 2021

For Immediate Release:

After witnessing Governor Northam grant the posthumous pardons of Frank Hairston Jr., Booker T. Millner, Howard Lee Hairston, James Luther Hairston, John Claybon Taylor, Francis DeSales Grayson, and Joe Henry Hampton (also known as the “Martinsville Seven”), Delegate Aird released the following statement: 

“Let these pardons serve as a powerful reminder that we cannot expect nor can we hope to see truly equitable justice on the horizon if we are unwilling to atone for the injustices of the past. I commend Governor Northam for taking yet another bold step in recognizing the racist legacy of our Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. In doing so, he has reaffirmed the work of countless advocates and organizers whose tireless efforts made today possible. 

The story of the Martinsville Seven reminds us all that we must continue the important work of building a system where everyone receives access to fair and unbiased justice.”