Below are our September updates from New Virginia Majority and three of our Hub Organizations: ACE Collaborative, Virginia Student Power Network, and Tenants and Workers United.
As we get out the vote in the final weeks before the crucial November 7th election – in which every Virginia House and Senate seat, as well as key local races, are up for grabs – we also continue our vital year-round community organizing around issues ranging from access to affordable housing, bringing an end to food deserts, reducing barriers to a quality public education, supporting tenants who face rent hikes and unsafe living conditions, and much more. Read our updates below!
We're less than a month away from a critical, high-stakes election, and we need your help to protect the right to vote.
We are looking for volunteers willing to work as Election Day Peacekeepers on November 8. Peacekeepers will be trained to help minimize disturbances and distractions and safely de-escalate potential disruptions.
As an Election Day Peacekeeper, you will play a crucial role in ensuring our elections are secure, fair, and safe. Sign up soon so you can attend our first training!
Early voting is here! Visit voteva.org to check your registration status, request your mail ballot, find your early voting location, and more.
The political team is continuing its work informing voters about this year's state elections. Check out our list of endorsed candidates and take action with us! Find more opportunities to get involved at mobilize.us/newvirginiamajority. If you know anyone interested in working as a canvasser with us, please share this link: newvirginiamajority.applytojob.com/apply/.
Restoration of Rights
News continues to emerge about thousands of Virginians whose restored voting rights have been revoked due to "technical violations" with an election weeks away. If this is happened to you, email us at [email protected] or click here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tq8hJ0rr09xOPIDIg-AQhXQ75U_VfgVXL2RIdyhM0jE/edit
And, if you haven't gotten your voting rights restored yet, go to restoremyvoteva.org to submit the short application.
NVM Loudoun Chapter
Victory! Loudoun to begin making housing vouchers available
Yesterday, October 5th, Loudoun County made 300 housing vouchers available through the Housing Choice Voucher Program as part of a long-awaited rent relief program for working-class families. Families with mixed status can apply. "This is a great advance for affordable housing, we know that there is much left to do. We must continue to fight for fair and decent housing for all!" said organizer Isamar Ortega.
Congratulations to the team of tenants, community members, and leaders who sat at the table with the housing department, gave public input at county meetings, and participated in actions to fight for affordable housing programs for all!
Loudoun Launches People's Platform
🚨Loudoun County now has its first-ever People's Platform! It calls for:
✅ Workers Rights
✅ Affordable Housing
✅ Racial Justice
✅ Quality Public Education
On September 29th, groups including Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Virginia 512, the NAACP Loudoun branch, the Northern Virginia Labor Federation, the Loudoun Education Association, ATU Local 689, and New Virginia Majority united to launch the platform to build the power of working people and communities of color. Read the news coverage here and check out the people’s platform here: https://www.loudounpeoplesplatform.org
Loudoun Awards NVM Loudoung Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation
On September 19th, New Virginia Majority Loudoun received a Hispanic Heritage Month Proclamation from the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in honor of our work to increase access to affordable housing for Latino communities in Loudoun.
Loudoun members discuss dropout rate with LCPS
NVM members met with members of the school board, county supervisors, and LCPS staff to share concerns about the dropout rate among Hispanic students and how schools can work to better support parents and students to overcome barriers to academic success.
NVM Norfolk Chapter
Organizers Distribute Uniforms, Food, Games At Community Resource Fair
In August, organizers and member leaders hosted a community resource fair and distributed over 600 uniforms to the students and families of St. Paul's. The fair included food, games, and resulted in so much fun! Organizers held conversations around the increasing pressure that the food desert is putting on families. Organizers are currently engaged in the fight for a grocery store.
The State of Norfolk Roundtable
On Tuesday October 17th, community leaders will be gathering for a “The State of Norfolk” Roundtable at Jordan-Newby Library to discuss public safety, housing, environmental justice, and education and gain insights on this critical election and take home educational resources.
Virginia Budget Deal
Virginia lawmakers officially passed a state budget deal. While Governor Youngkin’s original budget proposed almost $1 billion in costly tax cuts that would have disproportionately benefited wealthy people and corporations, the final budget provides $96.2 million in permanent tax cuts while also leaving funds for future investments in education, public health, and social services.
You can read more about the 2023 budget deal through the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Some budget highlights include:
- Renews Virginia’s popular “sales tax holiday” for school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane preparedness and energy-efficient durable goods.
- $906.8 million for taxpayers to receive one-time rebates of $200 for single filers and $400 for joint filers. These are nonrefundable and do not consider family size, which will leave out some of our lower-income community members.
- $155 million in new spending for mental health services, including $58 million to establish crisis receiving centers and crisis stabilization units.
- $34 million for permanent supporting housing and housing for those with serious mental illness.
- $2.5 million for state agencies to facilitate and improve language access.
In the comments, we collectively demanded that in the final regulations the agency should not rely on false solutions that do not effectively mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to address the climate crisis and puts environmental justice communities in the pathway of further health and environmental risk. We await the EPA's response to our comments and their final regulations.
Organizing Against Unsafe Housing Conditions and Rent Increases At Lafayette and Potomac West Apartments
TWU is currently working alongside the tenants of Potomac West Apartments in Alexandria City and Lafayette Apartments in south Fairfax County, who are facing unsafe housing conditions and huge rent increases.
Tenants of Lafayette and Potomac West successfully held press conferences to bring awareness: Potomac West tenants are fighting to be heard by the new management company that purchased the property back in June, and at Lafayette, our organizing efforts are working, as management recently repaired and reopened the pool for the first time in years, fixed the park and responded to maintenance requests for approximately 280 units. However, more work must be done to address the astronomical increases in rent.
We are also working with mobile home residents to secure affordable and safe conditions in mobile home parks, which provide unique opportunities for homeownership for low-income families. TWU also works with communities in eastern Prince William County and are in the early stages of demanding action to create deeply affordable housing for those at the lowest income levels.
Alexandria United Teens (AUT) continues pushing for increased funding for school-based mental health support and holistic approaches to education, and our Homework Help program and Social Justice Club are gearing up to start this school year.
VSPN Visits Area Campuses For Welcome Week
The VSPN staff had a blast visiting campuses this past month at student activities fairs and welcome week events. Organizers with VSPN visited UVA, GMU, VCU, W&M, and UR, and handed out VSPN stickers and pens, interest forms, and talked to folks about what issues they are most impacted by and are passionate about.
Our regional organizers hope to keep up with the youth organizers we connected with by scheduling 1:1s, helping organizers with their campaigns, connecting people to opportunities they have an interest in, inviting folks to our programming, and attending student organization meetings this semester.
Uber and Lyft Drivers Launch Protest At Three Major Airports
On September 13, ACE Collaborative organized a few hundred Uber and Lyft drivers at three major airports in the DMV region, Dulles, Reagan National and Baltimore Washington International, to turn off their apps and not work in protest of declining wages, lack of pay transparency and unjust driver account deactivations. A small group of drivers stationed at the airports also spoke to unaffiliated drivers in the cell phone lots to turn off their app and leave the airport grounds to join the protest.
Drivers have shared stories with ACE Collaborative about how Uber and Lyft have increased passenger fares, while the wages of drivers have decreased. Drivers reported that Uber and Lyft take as much as 60% to 80% of any given fare, and even steal tips. ACE Collaborative is one of the few organizations that are organizing drivers in multiple states and regions. One of the major goals of the campaign is to pass legislation in Virginia, Maryland and DC that would increase and stabilize driver pay, implement pay transparency, and regulate ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft in order to improve the working conditions of drivers in the region.
Thank you for your continued support.
New Virginia Majority
Support the work of New Virginia Majority by donating $3 to our organization. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates.