Martinsville Group Still Fighting to Remove Hodge After Quilt Controversy
Martinsville, VA - Some folks in Martinsville say they will not rest until they see Councilwoman Sharon Brooks Hodge removed from city council.
Hodge is the woman who said the quilt presented to council by students at the Piedmont Governors School was racially offensive.
Martinsville Mayor Kim Adkins said council does not plan on removing Hodge from her position.
The city council can only remove someone if they have missed three consecutive meetings or have a felony while on council. There is another way to recall an elected position, however, and some people are planning on taking action.
Dozens of people made their voices heard at Martinsville's city council meeting Tuesday night.
From speaking to cheering, everyone seemed to have an opinion on Hodge.
"As long as someone is like that in a position of powerit's just not what this community needs," said Chris Young, who is petitioning against Hodge.
Hours before the meeting even started, a group gathered just blocks away to gain support and gather signatures to get Hodge off of council.
"The issues that most in the community have are not with the quilt. It's with the way the situation was handled," Young said.
Young believes Hodge has an agenda, and says she divides the community.
With the group, Young has gathered more than 100 registered Martinsville voters to sign the petition.
"We will not rest until we've obtained all the signatures that we want to get," Young said.
In order to remove an elected official, protesters will need more than 630 registered Martinsville voters' signatures. Then, the petition can be presented to a circuit court judge who will make a decision.
The group wants more than two thousand names, actually in an effort to have more people on the petition than Hodge had in votes in the past election.
Tyler C. Millner defends Hodge, explaining they are friends and as a member of council, she should speak her opinion and remain on council.
"I do think we have to move on," Millner said. "She doesn't always go by the scriptI appreciate that."
At the end of the council meeting Hodge had little to say, but did make a brief statement.
"It's time to move forward," Hodge said.
The council decided Tuesday night to hang the quilt for one year. Afterward, they will return it to the Governor's School teacher.
The Martinsville City Attorney says he has never seen a movement to remove a member of council go this far. He acknowledged the process can be difficult.