Roger Chesley

Roger Chesley

Longtime columnist and editorial writer Roger Chesley worked at the (Newport News) Daily Press and The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot from 1997 through 2018. He previously worked at newspapers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Detroit. Reach him at [email protected]


Too many have sacrificed too much for us to sit on the sidelines on Election Day

By: - November 3, 2020

NBA superstar Bradley Beal and other Black players say they’re voting – for the very first time – in this year’s presidential election. The Washington Wizards shooting guard thus joined colleagues who are finally heading to the polls today, or who voted early in their respective states. I’m encouraged by the move, but also incensed […]


The consequences of rugged individualism in a pandemic

By: - October 29, 2020

Americans can be a selfish lot. Not everybody, of course. But too many people couldn’t care less about taking the necessary steps to keep deaths and infections from COVID-19 at bay. It’s not that hard: Stay at home as much as possible. Wear a mask out in public and in buildings. Wash your hands. Avoid […]


Portsmouth: where local dysfunction exposes racial fault lines

By: - October 21, 2020

People in most places would be appalled if the chairman of the court-appointed Electoral Board — which is supposed to guarantee fair and accurate voting — tried to encourage a mayoral candidate to drop out with just weeks left in the campaign. In Portsmouth, the quaint city of just under 100,000 residents in Hampton Roads, […]


As turnout surges, Virginia has largely been spared the electoral shenanigans … so far

By: - October 14, 2020

Virginians obviously didn’t get the memo from pundits that we’re not a swing state in the 2020 presidential election. Residents around the commonwealth have cast ballots in huge numbers, taking advantage of early voting options amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of voters have already avoided the long lines that are commonplace every four years. As […]


A step in the right direction on police traffic stops

By: - October 9, 2020

Too many times, over too many years, Black and brown motorists are pulled over by police for the flimsiest of purported reasons. Officers say it could be for a busted taillight, not using a turn signal, or other minor violations. These can be highly charged, anxious encounters — for law-enforcement officials and drivers alike. But […]


Times have changed, but the disenfranchisement game is the same

By: - September 30, 2020

State officials, a half-century after her momentous voting rights victory, have decided to honor activist Evelyn Butts in her hometown. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources recently announced a marker will rise in Norfolk, noting her importance in ending the poll tax in the commonwealth. It’s not that Butts, who died in 1993, failed to […]


Equity goes way beyond law enforcement

By: - September 18, 2020

Protests this summer nationwide – including here in Virginia – have correctly focused on police brutality against Black and Brown people and the quest for humane treatment. Most interactions with officers, especially for minor crimes, shouldn’t end in death. Another issue dealing with racial inequity doesn’t involve law enforcement, but it still reveals the disparate […]


Virginia needs to stop treating its citizens like bad stepchildren

By: - September 11, 2020

If open-government advocates have their way in Richmond, relatives of crime victims and the news media may finally learn more details about a host of violent incidents – many that are several years old and votes of the State Parole Board will be pulled into the light of day. It’s way overdue. When it comes […]


Access to ballot boxes and other measures will help all voters

By: - September 2, 2020

Voting drop boxes aren’t sinister repositories of fraud. They’re not working overtime to deny candidates their proper electoral victories. That’s true no matter what opponents of greater ballot access contend. Their fevered suspicions aren’t supported by something I call “proof.” That’s why the Virginia General Assembly deserves kudos for passing initiatives in the current special […]


Time for qualified immunity to go

By: - August 28, 2020

A federal judge’s impassioned comments about police overreach provide powerful evidence for Virginia legislators who want to weaken something called “qualified immunity.” The legal doctrine makes it nearly impossible for citizens to win certain civil suits claiming wrongdoing by police officers — often in excessive force incidents.  Here’s how the libertarian Cato Institute, which has […]


Virginia must fight Trump’s corrupt motives for restricting mail ballots

By: - August 21, 2020

Let’s start with his unmitigated gall, his unparalleled obtuseness. Most national leaders, having so thoroughly botched a health emergency that’s killed more than 170,000 Americans and sickened millions of others, would protect citizens trying to vote in a national election. They would recognize that, as president of the United States, they shouldn’t force Americans to […]


‘Truth, trust and transparency’: What Black Americans want from policing

By: - August 18, 2020

Two recent findings on the attitudes of Black Americans toward police — taken amid the national uproar following the slaying of George Floyd in Minneapolis — may sound diametrically opposed. They’re not. The surveys do, however, provide insights into the way Black motorists and pedestrians, usually with dread, approach encounters with officers. Understanding African-Americans’ love-hate […]