The ugly specter of racism emerged from the sewer again in Prince William County, this time to threaten the family of Potomac District School Board representative, Justin Wilk. Mr. Wilk’s wife recently found in the family’s mailbox a Confederate flag with the words “N*$%&R LOVER” painted on it in black lettering. Wilk has confirmed the event and indicated that it has been reported to police, but declined to comment further.
Wilk was presumably targeted because he made the motion at the March 2, 2016, School Board meeting that resulted in the School Board voting 8-0 to name a new school after late firefighter Kyle Wilson and rename Mills E. Godwin Middle School after county resident George M. Hampton. Very quickly after the vote, the online conversation about the School Board’s action deteriorated on news web sites and Facebook. Alongside legitimate complaints about a lack of community input on the Godwin name change, were comments filled with racially-tinged rhetoric. Some, for example, expressed their outrage over the name change by inexplicably complaining that too few black people had come to a recent public funeral. Among supporters of Wilk are some who have been quick to suggest that the over-the-top rhetoric of the online conversation may have contributed to someone putting the Confederate flag with the racial epithet in Wilk’s mailbox.