Politicians, educators, as well as activists and civic and business leaders are calling on Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam to allow Skill Games to continue to operate in the state for at least one more year. The tax revenue generated from Skill Games last year produced around $140 million for the much needed COVID-19 Relief Fund. If continued by Governor Northam for a minimum of one year, nearly $150 million is proposed to create the “Dr. Patricia Turner Social Equity Scholarship Fund”.
In July 2020, the state of Virginia permitted legal gambling known as skill games. This controversial bill was to remain for a year, and in the process, it has saved countless local and family owned businesses during the pandemic. However, as its tenure draws to a closure, the groups organized believe potential loss of this massive revenue means these games should remain in the state. Through this revenue, the state of Virginia can currently afford to fully fund this scholarship, which will send thousands of students from underprivileged communities to school for free, and pay their living expenses.
Dr. Patricia Tuner, a civil rights pioneer and educator, was born on October 11, 1944 in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1959. Five years after Brown v. Board of Education, Turner entered Norview Junior High School, a previously all-white school. Turner later graduated Norview High School near the top of her class of over 400 seniors. She continued her education at Norfolk State University, earning a B.S. in mathematics. She later received her M.S. degree in education from Old Dominion University and undertook Ph.D. studies at the College of William and Mary. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Turner began her career in education for Norfolk Public Schools. She taught until her retirement in 2008. In 2009, she, along with the other surviving members of the Norfolk 17, returned to Norview High School to honor the 50th anniversary of “massive resistance.”
Dr. Patricia Turner has received many accolades for work, including her honorary Doctorate in humane letters from Old Dominion University and induction to the Black Press Hall of Fame. Her work reflects her value for education and the role that it has played in her life. She is working to see the government extend the deadline on the skill games bill. Dr. Turner says she understands the value of higher education. Hence, she has allowed the use of her name, image and legacy for the establishment of the “Dr. Patricia Turner Social Equity Scholarship Fund” to serve Virginia’s most vulnerable yet promising students.
This scholarship is for students who live below the federal poverty line. It will cover all expenses as long as the students make academic progress. With the help of this scholarship program, those who want to pursue further education will do so without worrying about utility bills, the fear of going hungry, and college debts.
This scholarship will be the first of its kind in all of America. Simply by allowing these games to continue will show the world that Virginia cares about its citizens by recognizing the importance of a 4-year college education.
The goal is to continue collecting the skill game tax revenue for one more year. That way, up to 10,000 Virginians will pursue degrees at community colleges or a state supported university. The citizens of Virginia can now make this scholarship opportunity a reality by simply gaining a signature from Governor Ralph Northam.