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New Virginia Majority Newsletter: March 2023

Thank you for your ongoing support of New Virginia Majority. Here are some updates from our organization this month.

Take Action NOW: Protect Black Communities from Air Pollution

Although the U.S. EPA administrator, Michael S. Regan proposed new national air quality standards for soot pollution earlier this year, the standards need to be stronger in order to protect Black communities who face the highest rates of exposure. Tyneshia Griffin, NVM’s Environmental Policy Analyst, submitted a comment to the Environmental Protection Agency advising them to make air quality standards stricter, especially addressing the harms of coal dust that impacts communities in Norfolk, Virginia. 

At the local level, New Virginia Majority and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club have been working with members of the historically Black Lamberts Point neighborhood to help mitigate the disproportionate impact of soot pollution on areas surrounding the Norfolk Southern Coal Export Terminal, as coal-carrying railroad cars transport coal into the city for export through the community. By setting a standard stronger than proposed, the EPA could reduce the Black mortality rate from soot pollution by about seven times more. Join us in asking administrator Regan to set a stronger soot pollution standard that best protects black communities and resists this legacy of environmental racism!

Surveillance Reform Petitioning in Norfolk

More than 130 residents of two public housing communities in Norfolk signed a petition that NVM organizers and community members presented to the Norfolk City Council and Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority regarding changes needed in the surveillance and policing of their neighborhoods. The petition included requests for installing blue-light emergency phone towers, which allow anyone to press a button and call for emergency services and faster responses to emergency situations along with a 72-hour turnaround for non-emergency requests. “Even if I’m scared to talk to police, we need something that’s going to call them immediately — not just have them push a button and make a noise, and they never come. We need them to actually be responsive and come when it really happens,” NVM member and community activist, Zenobia Wilson, told reporters. 

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International Women’s Day Celebration in Loudoun

On March 8, Loudoun organizers put together a special event for 120 community members to celebrate International Women’s Day. Members and supporters came together for the multiracial, multicultural event to build community and celebrate women of color who are forces of change in Loudoun County. “We deserve to take a moment to reflect on how we value ourselves as women, how our self-esteem is, if we dedicate time to ourselves; because otherwise we are losing our true essence,” Ivin Castro, NVM member and community leader, said about the event.

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In solidarity, 

The Development Team

New Virginia Majority

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