Outside last week’s meeting of the Fairfax County School Board, two rallies were held. One consisted of parents opposed to critical race theory (CRT). The other represented a very different, “woke” point of view. The “woke” rally featured a speaker named Michelle Leete, who fulminated against those who disagreed with her revolutionary worldview:
Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-health care, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions-policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let-live people.
Let them die. Don’t let these uncomfortable people deter us from our bold march forward.
When Leete delivered those remarks, she was a leader in the PTA as well as the NAACP. The PTA has since asked for and received Leete’s resignation. To date, however, the NAACP has defended Leete — she remains first vice president of their Fairfax chapter.
Most troubling to many observers was the crowd’s reaction to Leete’s venomous words. As The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman noted: “The ‘let them die’ line was met not with stunned silence or gasps of disbelief, but applause and cheering.”
The audience included Democratic Party leaders, a teachers union leader, and at least one elected official. Investigative journalist Asra Nomani was there, and noted the following:
To my left, in a bright pink shirt, Bryan Graham, the chair of the Fairfax County Democratic Party, the organizers for the counterprotest, applauded Leete’s punctuation, “Let them die!” To his left, George Alber, a member of the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission, also clapped.
Across from them was Kimberly Adams, the chair of the teachers’ union, the Fairfax Education Association, a local chapter of the National Education Association. Nearby was Geofre Schoradt, a Fairfax County Democratic Committee leader and the event organizer. In the supportive crowd was also a member of the TJ Alumni Action Group, a lobbying group of alumni activists who have waged a campaign against merit admissions to TJ, and Democratic Virginia Sen. Jennifer Boysko.
After his reaction caught the attention of national media, Graham insisted that, despite his applause, he rejects Leete’s call to “let them die” — but otherwise defended her rhetoric. “I also reject the idea that the @FairfaxDems rally encouraged violence. With context, we understood the speaker’s sentiment: that forces trying to divide us need to stop,” Graham tweeted, before concluding with a plea for donations: “Can you chip in to help FCDC fend off the right wing’s attacks on public education?”
As the Fairfax GOP tweeted last week: “Leete’s rhetoric — and the applause it drew — is part of a worrisome trend on the Left that viscerally hates and demonizes those with sincerely-held, alternative points of view. Her incendiary words are hardly reflective of a tolerant, ‘live-and-let-live’ mindset.”