By JOSH REYES DAILY PRESS |NOV 09, 2020 AT 2:05 PM
HAMPTON — Black Lives Matter 757 organized a vigil and celebration Sunday at Fort Monroe in Hampton for Joe Biden’s apparent victory in the presidential election.
Aubrey “Japharii” Jones, president of Black Lives Matter 757, joked that the air and sun felt different.
While leading the group of about three dozen, Bobby Joe prayed for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris before asking for unity. Joe referenced the Pledge of Allegiance and said America was indivisible.
Jones echoed a message of togetherness and said life was too short to lose friends or family to political differences.
That message resonated with Kate Hoffstaetter, a teacher from Smithfield who said she hoped to see people grow more accepting and understanding of each other. She said she’s felt “elated” since Saturday and believes the election was a step toward a more equitable society.
Jones also laid out a series of issues he believes need reform in Virginia, such as mental health resources and awareness, particularly in law enforcement; teacher pay; and veterans’ access to services.
He then said he plans to run for lieutenant governor of Virginia as an independent. He said he wanted to reduce the partisan divide in the legislature and make sure elected officials remained connected to the people in the communities they represent.
Jones said he’s never run for office before, but he’s learned about government as an activist, a supporter of campaigns and as someone who’s spoken to many elected officials — sometimes getting lip service rather than actual results. He said the pandemic has showed him that government can work quickly and make change in pressing situations.