New Virginia Majority Supports Voting Rights Bills Advancing Through the General Assembly

Richmond, Va. – New Virginia Majority (NVM) has been fighting for the right of all Virginians to be able to vote, and this week Virginia is taking several steps to lead the way on the expansion of voting rights. 

Expanding Absentee Voting Access

  • No-excuse absentee voting (SB111, HB1)
  • Extending timeline for mailed-in absentee ballots to be counted (HB238)
  • Allowing voters to vote absentee by mail permanently (HB207)
  • Allowing individuals in pre-trial detention to vote absentee by mail (HB872)

Modernizing Voter Registration

  • Automatic voter registration (SB219, HB207)
  • Same-day voter registration (HB201)

Voting Rights

  • Establishing state preclearance requirement to protect voting rights (HB761)
  • Amending strict photo ID requirement to include other non-photo options (SB65)

“While there are more steps in the legislative process, we are heartened that these bills are advancing through the General Assembly. These proposals modernize voting in Virginia to make sure everyone who is eligible, gets a chance to make their voices heard at the ballot box,” said NVM co-executive director Tram Nguyen.

“Our democracy is strongest when all of us can participate. When we have a meaningful say in who our elected officials are, and when we have a voice in the decisions that impact our lives, we ensure a government truly representative of the people.” 

For more than a decade NVM has worked to expand the electorate to be more representative of our state -- where all voices can be heard. These bills are a critical first step in the transformation of our democracy to a more inclusive and just one.

To speak with our co-executive director Tram Nguyen or our policy director Kenneth Gilliam

about expanding voter rights, contact Debra Freeman at 757-452-1143 or

dfreeman@newvirginiamajority.org.

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New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website.


Statement by New Virginia Majority on Postponement of Monday's Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Advocacy Day

Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our members.

Based on information concerning armed racist militias, the militarization of the Capitol area, and the likely dispersal of many people with guns, we have decided to postpone our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocacy day. History has shown us that Black and Brown people are the targets of many of these militarized groups, fearful of a more inclusive Virginia.

Our team did an outstanding job to develop protocols and recruit legal observers and marshals. However, we cannot protect our people from individuals committed to acts of violence. Our thirteen years of work has begun the transformation of our state and our decision to postpone will not keep us from continuing to advocate for a Virginia that works for all of us. We are beginning to win on critical issues - criminal justice reform, expanding democracy, immigrant rights, women’s and workers’ rights, and more.

Rest assured we will continue to make our voices known through the halls of the Capitol, and we look forward to organizing many more opportunities for our members to engage with their elected leaders.


Contact: press@newvirginiamajority.org


New lawsuit alleges St. Paul’s redevelopment plan is illegally forcing out residents

New lawsuit alleges St. Paul’s redevelopment plan is illegally forcing out residents

Norfolk, Va., January 14, 2019 – A new federal Fair Housing Act lawsuit filed this week alleges that the city of Norfolk and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, with approval and financing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, have embarked on a redevelopment plan that forces every resident of several public housing developments in the St. Paul’s Quadrant out of their homes.

The complaint alleges that the redevelopment plan as it stands will illegally force residents into segregated housing within the city or out of Norfolk altogether before any replacement housing has been built. Further, the plan fails to provide sufficient affordable housing for their return when the area is redeveloped. The lawsuit alleges that this is another case of gentrification at the expense of the African American residents of the city.

The lawsuit was filed by Hogan Lovells, the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of residents of Tidewater Gardens and Calvert Square, the residents of the St. Paul’s Quadrant, its tenant group, a Norfolk resident long waiting for affordable housing and harmed by the demolition of the three public housing communities, and the New Virginia Majority.

The lawsuit alleges that the city and NHRA’s redevelopment plan is racially discriminatory and that HUD, by financing the plan without requiring necessary changes to assure that the African American residents of the area do not suffer racial discriminations, violated its statutory duty to further fair housing.

Tidewater Gardens, Calvert Square, and Young Terrace are three public housing communities that make up St. Paul’s Quadrant, and collectively comprise 1,674 housing units with about 4,200 residents, half of which are children and nearly all of whom are African American.

“It is very important for everyone out here to have a place to stay. But so far the process has not been fair, which is why we needed to file this case,” said Evonne Bryant, a resident of Tidewater Gardens whose home is scheduled to be demolished in Phase 1 of the Redevelopment Plan.

 

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Fueled by People of Color, Women, Younger Voters, Virginia Flips House and Senate

RICHMOND, Va. - Tonight, voters across Virginia made one thing clear: real power in the state comes from its people. With a remarkable turnout for an off-off election year, Virginians elected a majority of Democrats to the General Assembly. For the first time since 1993, Democrats govern all three legislative bodies. 

“When we engage voters on the issues impacting their lives, we empower entire communities to affect change. In 2019, we knocked on over 500,000 doors, and we talked to voters about protecting their healthcare, and ensuring their children are safe in their neighborhoods and schools, regardless of where they live or where they come from,” said Maya Castillo, New Virginia Majority’s Political Director.  “Voters want to see themselves and their communities reflected in the people they elect to govern Virginia, and were very clear in making that choice at the polls.”  

Voters and organizers like Shana Boston were key to the Democratic victory. “This is my life’s work: going back to people who have had their rights restored to ensure they are registered to vote.” Boston voted absentee and she’s “excited to see the numbers come in, to see our team watch this victory.”

Virginia voters came out to the polls to show that they wanted their governing bodies to take a direction that will move us towards a more inclusive, reflective, and just democracy. A Virginia for all of us will enact legislation to ensure that our families are strong, that our democracy works for us, and that our communities thrive.

To speak with New Virginia Majority co-executive director Tram Nguyen about the organizing work that determined this crucial election, contact Debra Freeman at 757-452-1143 or dfreeman@newvirginamajority.org. 


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New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @NewVAMajority


New Virginia Majority and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Settle Voter Registration Lawsuit Against Fairfax County Registrar’s Office

RICHMOND, Va. – Today New Virginia Majority and Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law favorably settled a lawsuit filed against Fairfax County to seek to reinstate roughly 170 voter-registration applications rejected from students at George Mason University in order to allow them to vote in the upcoming election on November 5. A copy of the consent order is attached. 

The lawsuit filed on Wednesday in Alexandria, Va. stated that Fairfax County’s registrar should not have rejected voter applications from students who used the university’s generic mailing address on their applications without listing their specific dormitories.

The Fairfax County Registrar’s office had previously accepted such applications, and groups conducting voter-registration drives on campus were not informed until this month that students would need to list their actual dormitories.

New Virginia Majority has helped register over 200,000 Virginians, including thousands of students across college campuses, including George Mason University. Co-executive director Tram Nguyen said, “We believe that every eligible voter should have the opportunity to register to vote and have their votes counted. Today's outcome ensures that students whose registrations were denied through no fault of their own, will have an opportunity to register and have their ballots counted in this election on November 5."

To speak with Tram Nguyen, contact Debra Freeman at 757-452-1143 or dfreeman@newvirginamajority.org.

 

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New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook at @NewVAMajority

 


New Virginia Majority Announces Additional 2019 Virginia Elections Endorsements

For Immediate Release
September 16, 2019
Contact: Maya Castillo, mcastillo@newvirginiamajority.org, 520-870-1677

New Virginia Majority Announces Additional 2019 Virginia Elections Endorsements

 
RICHMOND – In an additional round of endorsements, New Virginia Majority is enthusiastically supporting the following candidates for the 2019 Virginia elections -- individuals who bring the honest and diligent representation their districts deserve.

New endorsements for the Virginia House of Delegates are as follows:

Del. Wendy Gooditis, House District 10
Rodney Willett, House District 73
Len Myers, House District 81 

In addition to state level representatives, we proudly endorse:      

Phyllis Randall, Chair at Large, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors

We believe the individuals listed above are best positioned to push the Commonwealth forward with an inclusive agenda that addresses the issues facing our community, including racial justice, democracy, economic justice, access to health care and so much more. We look forward to working with these candidates as elected officials to build a Virginia that is progressive and just.

Previous 2019 Virginia election endorsements are listed here.

 

 

New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable. For more information, visit our website and follow us on Twitter at @NewVAMajority and on Facebook at @newvirginiamajority

 


New Virginia Majority announces 2019 Virginia Election Endorsements

For Immediate Release
August 19, 2019
Contact: Maya Castillo, mcastillo@newvirginiamajority.org, (571) 699-3139.

New Virginia Majority Announces 2019 Virginia Elections Endorsements

RICHMOND – In their first round of endorsements, New Virginia Majority has endorsed the following candidates for the 2019 Virginia State Elections -- individuals we believe are best positioned to push the commonwealth forward with an agenda for the issues facing our community, including racial justice, democracy, wages, redistricting, driver's licenses for all, access to health care and so much more.
The endorsements for the Virginia State House are as follows:
Kelly Convirs Fowler, House District 21
Dan Helmer, House District 40
Sheila Bynum-Coleman, House District 66
Morgan Goodman, House District 55
Kathy Tran, House District 42
Elizabeth Guzman, House District 31
Hala Ayala, House District 51
Schuyler VanValkenburg, House District 72
Shelly Simonds, House District 94
Phil Hernandez, House District 100
The endorsements for the Virginia State Senate are as follows:
Amanda Pohl, Senate District 11
Debra Rodman, Senate District 12
John Bell, Senate District 13
Cheryl Turpin, Senate District 7
Ghazala Hashmi, Senate District 10
The endorsements for the Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys are as follows:
Scott Miles, Chesterfield County Commonwealth Attorney
Buta Biberaj, Loudoun County Commonwealth Attorney
Steve Descano, Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney
Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, Arlington County and the City of Falls Church Commonwealth Attorney
We look forward to working with these candidates as elected officials to build a Virginia that is progressive and just.
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Statement by New Virginia Majority on Mass Shootings Across the Country

For Immediate Release
August 5, 2019
Contact: Stephanie Flores, sflores@newvirginiamajority.org, (201) 736-0511

 

Statement by New Virginia Majority on Mass Shootings Across the Country

We mourn with the families and communities of those murdered in El Paso, Dayton, Chicago, and in communities affected by daily gun violence across the country.

The problem of these violent acts isn’t only about guns. As a country, we are in the midst of mass killings of immigrants, brown and black people, poor people, LGBTQ people, women, and other vulnerable groups, exacerbated by a white supremacist President who routinely incites violence and hatred against our communities. This violence is part of a long and uninterrupted pattern of nativism, white supremacy and patriarchy in the U.S., and right here in Virginia.

It is impossible to separate hateful rhetoric from the mass shootings it inspires and the murderous policies it fuels -- policies that criminalize immigrants, people of color and all vulnerable people, that make and keep people sick, incarcerated, homeless, or isolated.

In the midst of this toxic culture, perpetuated from the highest levels of our government, it is our responsibility to fight bigoted rhetoric, culture, policies and practices wherever and whenever we come across them.

Our communities remain resilient and beautiful even as we grieve. And we will continue doing what we have always done — using this grief to fuel action to support and love one another, rebuild our communities, and dismantle systems that don’t prioritize the safety, health and protection of our communities.

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New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color, in immigrant communities, among LGBTQ people, women, youth, and progressives across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable.


Report: Amazon’s HQ2 will displace 10,000 LatinX and Working-Class VA residents.

Report: Amazon’s HQ2 will displace 10,000 LatinX and Working-Class VA residents.

The Arlandria Neighborhood will be the most impacted by Amazon’s new Headquarters. 

(Alexandria) A new report released today shows that Amazon’s plan to locate their HQ2 in Crystal City brought a 17% increase in area housing sales prices in a matter of months. The report predicts that this will displace up to 10,000 LatinX and working class residents in northern Virginia.

The community-based Tenants and Workers United - Inquilinos y Trabajadores Unidos conducted the Arlandria Income and Population Survey and Findings, a survey of tenant households nearby, to shed light upon the expected impact on housing within the community and to propose a solution to this impending issue. Those most likely to be forced from the area will be it’s long-term residents, coming primarily from the Latinx and immigrant communities.

"I have been part of this community for over 25 years and it is hard to watch our people suffer from skyrocketing costs of rent and displacement since Amazon's announcement " said Evelin Urrutia, Executive Director of Tenants and Workers United - Inquilinos y Trabajadores Unidos. "Amazon's arrival is a crisis for our working class communities. It is time for local and state officials to take action to protect the people they are supposed to represent."

“Virginia and Arlington are massively subsidizing Amazon, which will displace over 3,000 working class Latinx families from Arlandria. The local and state governments as well as private companies need at least five hundred million dollars to mitigate the damage and preserve housing for the working poor,” said Jon Liss, New Virginia Majority’s co-executive director. “Local officials have publicly supported ‘workforce housing’ yet the study shows these efforts will only further displace current communities, and are more likely to support white, home-owning residents in higher income brackets.”

Tenants and Workers United’s analysis makes clear that current solutions from Virginia’s elected officials ignore the impending gentrification of an entire neighborhood.


New Virginia Majority Congratulates Endorsed Candidates on Victories

 

For Immediate Release
June 11, 2019

New Virginia Majority congratulates endorsed candidates on their primary victories

 

We congratulate all three of our endorsed candidates on their victories tonight. New Virginia Majority endorsed Parisa Dehghani-Tafti for Arlington and Falls Church Commonwealth’s Attorney, Steve Descano for Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Ghazala Hashmi for State Senate District 10. We are proud to have backed candidates that raised the bar for what it means to be a  progressive Democrat in Virginia.

This was New Virginia Majority’s first year endorsing candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney. We chose to endorse candidates in this race because we have seen how Commonwealth's Attorneys serve a crucial role in reducing Virginia's dependence on incarceration and minimizing racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We believe Parisa Tafti and Steve Descano are best positioned to serve justice, improve transparency, and make our community safer as Commonwealth’s Attorneys.

We are extremely excited for Ghazala Hashmi’s primary victory this evening and her potential to become the first Muslim-American woman to serve on Virginia’s State Senate. Senate District 10 covers Powhatan County and parts of Richmond and Chesterfield County, is home to Virginians of many races, religions, ethnicities, and abilities and Ghazala is committed to recognizing and serving all of us.

Maya Castillo, Political Director, New Virginia Majority

Thank you to all of the volunteers and canvassers who knocked on thousands of doors and made calls. We thank these candidates for having the courage to run on a bold platform that reflects the needs in our communities. This is a turning point in Virginia. We are excited to continue to support these candidates into the General Election for a Virginia where all of us can thrive.

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New Virginia Majority builds power in working-class communities of color across the Commonwealth. We organize for racial and economic justice through large-scale political education, mobilization and advocacy around dozens of issues. We fight for a Virginia that is just, democratic and environmentally sustainable


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