|Here's the lineup of models for this morning's show. Almost all white.|
It was the fashion show where a dramatic and thoroughly puzzling oversight took place. The Roanoke Valley is roughly 60-70 percent white. But of the 70 or so people who took part in the fashion show--which was meant to represent the tourist opportunities in the Valley--only two (by my count) were any color other than white. No Asians, no Hispanics, two African Americans. That does not tell you about the Roanoke Valley. It doesn't even come close and, frankly, there is no excuse that is acceptable.
This was an oversight by a board of directors and the professionals who run the organization that should never happen. We must be more sensitive to diversity than this. One of the best features of our valley is its diversity, highlighted every year by the magnificent Pearl Fu's Local Colors, which has mini-celebrations on a regular basis. You can't tell me that the people with skin adorned with lovely colors are not seen or felt in our daily lives. They're all over the place, but they were not in that room in sufficient numbers this morning, an oversight that I think deserves an explanation and maybe even an apology.