New Virginia Majority Announces Slate of Endorsements
Today, New Virginia Majority announced a first round of endorsements for the 2021 electoral cycle, including endorsements for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, and House of Delegates. Endorsements include Terry McAuliffe for governor, Hala Ayala for lieutenant governor, Mark Herring for attorney general. The endorsements for the House of Delegates are Alex Askew (House District 85), Dan Helmer (House District 40), Rodney Willett (House District 73), Kelly Convirs Fowler (House District 21), and Kathy Tran (House District 42), and the challengers that are endorsed are Michelle Maldonado (House District 50), Briana Sewell (House District 51), Katie Sponsler (House District 66), and Debra Gardner (House District 27).
Virginia is leading the South, and the nation, on many fronts, including the expansion of voting rights, significant changes to our criminal legal system, and ensuring all Virginians can live free from discrimination as we work toward a Virginia that values all of us. However, there is still work to do to ensure the protection of these accomplishments and to continue to build a more inclusive state that continues to transform the lives of working class communities of color through policy victories.
This year, New Virginia Majority plans on investing $3.2 million on direct voter outreach, mobilizing and education for Black, Latinx and AAPI voters, to ensure their voices and votes are counted.
”Change doesn’t happen on its own. We have made generational progress in Virginia these past several years not only because Black and brown voters have turned out in record numbers, but because they have also organized around issues that most directly impact their lives. As a result, we are seeing firsthand the progress that can be made when working class communities of color come together, organize and vote. To continue our transformational progress, it is imperative that we elect candidates who have a history of engaging with our communities. We are excited to work alongside our community members and partners to elect champions and allies who will fight with us to keep Virginia moving forward,” said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority.
We look forward to working to get our endorsed candidates elected, and will work with other organizations to ensure a more just Virginia for all of us.
New Virginia Majority congratulates Ramin Fatehi on his victory tonight in the Democratic primary for Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney. 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 legal system. Ramin Fatehi is best positioned to serve justice, improve transparency, and make our community safer as a Commonwealth’s Attorney.
“NVM’s strategy is field first - and that is how we win legislative victories and elections. We talk with voters one by one at their doors and on the phone, inviting them into a process that has often neglected them. This is how we transform and grow our electorate into one that is truly representative of the diverse communities who call Virginia home,” said Maya Castillo, political director for NVM.
We are looking forward to supporting him in November. If elected, we are confident that he will continue to enact and expand upon the reforms that Virginians expect from their elected officials.
Earlier today, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd, and this moment is full of mixed emotions -- relief, anger, and sadness, to name a few. While the verdict delivers accountability, a racist criminal and policing system remains intact. George Floyd should still be alive today. His life should not have been taken from him in the first place, nor the lives of countless Black people who have died at the hands of police.
Just in the past six months in Virginia, Ellis ‘Buck’ Frye, Xzavier Hill, Donald Hairston, and Donovan Lynch faced the same execution at the hands of law enforcement. There was no opportunity for due process -- they were all presumed guilty and given a death sentence. How many hashtags with someone’s name attached can we put on our social media before we decide enough is enough?
Certainly, elected officials need to pass laws to hold police officers accountable to these heinous acts. But we cannot sit on the sidelines and wait for legislators to pass bills -- we elected them to work for us, and they need to know where we stand. Taxpayer dollars need to go towards effective and meaningful change. Investing in mental health resources, housing and education, as well as ending qualified immunity and addressing the root causes of the criminalization of marginalized communities are better solutions, not putting more police officers on the street or buying military grade equipment for police departments.
Last summer, thousands of outraged Virginians marched in the street to protest against the countless lynchings of Black Americans, and we cannot allow their deaths to be in vain. Our work does not stop here; until there is a meaningful overhaul of our criminal legal system and law enforcement, our communities will continue to march in the streets and through the halls of power to demand change and justice for all of us.
New Virginia Majority Applauds Governor Northam’s Efforts Towards Voting Rights Restoration
The right to vote and to choose our leaders is a fundamental foundation of this country, and today we applaud Governor Ralph Northam for making strides to ensure that more people who have been caught up in our criminal legal system are eligible to have their rights restored. Today, an additional 69,000 formerly incarcerated Virginians are now eligible to vote.
New Virginia Majority and organizers across the Commonwealth have worked to encourage our elected officials to pass a constitutional amendment that will properly support the formerly incarcerated for over a decade, and the Virginia legislature made the first steps to change Virginia’s constitution by passing SJ 272 and HJ 555.
“Governor Northam’s announcement today is a reflection of this country’s founding principles - a government of, for and by the people,” said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director. “Our democracy is strongest when we all have the opportunity to participate, and our communities are stronger and safer for it.”
Now is the time to make sure that everyone has the right to vote and participate in democracy, regardless of their past mistakes or a deeply flawed legal system.
February 25, 2021
Today New Virginia Majority (NVM) announced its endorsement of Ramin Fatehi for Norfolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.
NVM has worked in communities of color across Virginia over more than a decade and we have seen how Commonwealth's Attorneys serve a crucial role in reducing Virginia's dependence on incarceration and in minimizing racial disparities in the criminal justice system. As a longtime member of the Norfolk community, Ramin Fatehi is best positioned to take on this role and remain accountable to his constituents.
Ramin Fatehi, a Hampton Roads native, has served as a Virginia Supreme Court law clerk and a public defender, and is currently a Deputy Commonwealth Attorney in Norfolk. Fatehi has led the charge in Norfolk to decriminalize and legalize marijuana possession, abolish cash bail and the jury trial penalty, and to make the justice system honor the principle that Black Lives Matter.
“I am proud and humbled to have the support of New Virginia Majority, who has been working tirelessly to change Virginia for the better. From advocating for the restoration of the rights of returning citizens to expanding access to the ballot box and to ensuring that all Virginians are treated with justice and dignity, New Virginia Majority has led the way. I look forward to working together to make Norfolk and Virginia a fairer, safer, and more just place,” said Fatehi.
NVM political director Maya Castillo said, "Ramin Fatehi will prioritize the needs of our community by working to end the criminalization of poverty and the cycles of loss that have historically pushed Virginians into the criminal justice system. We are excited to work to elect him as Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney."
We look forward to working to get Ramin Fatehi elected and to continue to shape Virginia.
Contact: Deb Freeman, [email protected]
Today New Virginia Majority announced its endorsement of Jennifer McClellan for Governor of Virginia.
Virginia is leading the South, and the nation, on many fronts, including the expansion of voting rights, significant changes to our criminal legal system, and ensuring all Virginians can live free from discrimination. However, there are still strides that need to be made. Health care, education, racial equity, climate justice, a global pandemic, and more hang in the balance. Now, more than ever, it is imperative to choose a candidate that will continue to move on issues that will help all Virginians.
“We are seeing firsthand the progress that can be made when working-class, communities of color come together, organize, and vote,” said Tram Nguyen, New Virginia Majority co-executive director. “As a result, we have better policy outcomes that address our communities’ needs, in large part because we have elected leaders who reflect us and who understand our collective experiences. Senator McClellan is the right candidate for this moment. Her experience and steadfast leadership will build upon the progress already being made and result in more transformational change for all of us.”
Over the last decade, New Virginia Majority has expanded the electorate in Virginia to be more reflective of Virginia’s rich diversity, and because of our work, Black and brown voters have turned out in record numbers, giving voice to the most underrepresented among us. As Governor, Jennifer McClellan will work with our communities across the commonwealth, and engage Virginians to continue to drive policy changes that will improve all our lives.
Senator McClellan has partnered with New Virginia Majority for years on several issues, including the School Equity and Staffing Act, working to eliminate the school to prison pipeline, and expanding health care access, most recently directing the state to explore options to extend health care access to undocumented children.
"New Virginia Majority has been a critical partner in the work to secure voting rights and workers’ rights for all Virginians, and that's why I'm so proud to receive their endorsement for governor," said Sen. McClellan. "Together, we will continue to build a more equitable Commonwealth that breaks down barriers and engages every community in Virginia in rebuilding our economy. I'm thrilled to have their support as our campaign continues growing momentum."
We look forward to working to get Senator McClellan elected, and working in tandem with allies to continue to shape Virginia into a state that values all people, no matter who we are, where we come from, where we live, or who we love.
Contact: Deb Freeman, [email protected]
Hoy la Nueva Mayoría de Virginia anunció que apoya a Jennifer Mcclellan para Gobernadora de Virginia.
Virginia está liderando el Sur, y la nación, en muchos frentes, incluyendo la expansión del derecho al voto, cambios significativos en nuestro sistema legal criminal, y asegurar que todos los Virginianos puedan vivir libres de discriminación. Sin embargo, todavía hay pasos que hay que hacer. La atención de la salud, la educación, la equidad racial, la justicia climática, una pandemia y más aún están en la balanza. Ahora, más que nunca, es imperativo elegir una candidata que siga avanzando en temas que ayudarán a todos los Virginianos.
"Estamos viendo de primera mano el progreso que se puede hacer cuando la las comunidades de clase trabajadora y de color se unen, se organizan y votan", dijo Tram Nguyen, codirectora ejecutiva de NVM. "Como resultado, obtenemos mejores resultados políticos que abordan las necesidades de nuestras comunidades, en gran parte porque tenemos líderes electos que nos reflejan y que entienden nuestras experiencias colectivas. La senadora McClellan es la candidata adecuada para este momento. Su experiencia y su firme liderazgo se basarán en el progreso que ya se está logrando y darán lugar a un cambio más transformacional para todos nosotros”.
Durante la última década, NVM ha expandido el electorado en Virginia para que refleje más la rica diversidad de Virginia, y debido a nuestro trabajo, los votantes de comunidades de color han participado en números récord, dando voz a los más subrepresentados entre nosotros. Como Gobernadora, Jennifer McClellan trabajará con nuestras comunidades en todo el estado y contratará a los Virginianos para que continúen conduciendo cambios de política que mejoren todas nuestras vidas.
La senadora McClellan se ha asociado con NVM durante años en varios temas, incluyendo la Ley de Equidad Escolar y de Personal, trabajando para eliminar el camino de escuela-a-prisión, y ampliando el acceso a la atención médica, más recientemente dirigiendo al estado a explorar opciones para extender el acceso a la atención médica a los niños indocumentados.
"La Nueva Mayoría de Virginia ha sido un socio crítico en el trabajo para asegurar el derecho al voto y los derechos de los trabajadores para todos los Virginianos, y es por eso que estoy tan orgullosa de recibir su respaldo para gobernadora'', dijo la senadora McClellan. "Juntos, continuaremos construyendo un estado más equitativo que rompa las barreras e involucre a todas las comunidades de Virginia en la reconstrucción de nuestra economía. Estoy encantada de contar con su apoyo a medida que nuestra campaña sigue creciendo impulso".
Estamos emocionados de trabajar para que la senadora McClellan sea elegida, y trabajar en conjunto con aliados para seguir dando forma a Virginia en un estado que valora a todas las personas, sin importar quiénes somos, de dónde venimos, dónde vivimos o a quién amamos.
February 4, 2021
Debra Freeman, [email protected]
New Virginia Majority Statement on Right To Vote Legislation
The right to vote, to choose our leaders, and to have a say in the decisions that impact our lives is the cornerstone of our democracy and this country. Currently in the General Assembly, there are two options that are moving forward to establish a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for the formerly incarcerated. We are pleased to continue the conversation about SJ 272 and HJ 555 as we now take the first step in the multi-year process to change Virginia’s constitution. The time is now to make sure that one's mistakes, compounded by a flawed criminal legal system, doesn't take away their fundamental right to vote.
If approved by a simple majority in both the House of Delegates and the Senate, the amendments will be re-introduced to the 2022 legislative session. In that session, any amendment approved a second time by the General Assembly will be added to the ballot and voted on in November 2022; if passed, the constitution will be changed.
For over a decade, New Virginia Majority and organizers across the Commonwealth have asked their elected officials to pass a constitutional amendment that will properly support the formerly incarcerated. Christopher Rashad Green, lead organizer for New Virginia Majority said, “After many years of incarceration and disenfranchisement, I am excited about the opportunity for all citizens to participate in the electoral process in Virginia. Being empowered with my voting rights ensures that my voice will be heard through my vote.”
Clyde Young, a recently released returning citizen said, "I want my voting rights so that I can be a part of the process to choose who are our leaders,” and Jesse Forman, who was formerly incarcerated said, "My being able to vote makes me feel like a REAL citizen of Virginia, because before that, I felt like a foreigner."
We are eager to see the Commonwealth turn the page towards a Virginia that reflects all of us - citizens should be able to use their right to vote, and full citizenship means having a voice in government.
New Virginia Majority supports Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg’s omnibus bill HB1888. The bill ensures permanent solutions for Virginians to have greater access to voting, and combines several bills from the special legislative session last summer, including the creation of drop-off locations for absentee ballots and providing an opportunity for voters to fix any issues with their absentee ballots to ensure their votes get counted.
Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority said, “Last summer the General Assembly put in place common sense solutions to protect the health and safety of Virginians, while ensuring that every voter can cast a ballot. Thanks to the leadership of this General Assembly and the hard work of election officers across the Commonwealth, Virginia had a hugely successful election. Permanently codifying these provisions allows every voter to choose a voting method that works best for them, whether in person before or on Election Day, or with a mailed absentee ballot with several options to return their ballot.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2020
Voting Rights Organizations File Lawsuit to Extend Virginia’s Voter Registration After Statewide Voting System Failure
Virginia Civic Engagement Table, New Virginia Majority, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Advancement Project National Office, and Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Call on the Commonwealth to Protect Voting Rights of Impacted Virginians
ALEXANDRIA, Va.– Tonight, a coalition of voting rights groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the Virginia Department of Elections, Commissioner Cristopher Piper, and the State Board of Electionsto extend Virginia’s voter registration deadline after the Commonwealth’s voting systems went down earlier today, the last day that Virginians can register to vote.
The lawsuit was filed this evening by Virginia Civic Engagement Table, New Virginia Majority, League of Women Voters of Virginia, Advancement Project National Office, and Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The groups are seeking to extend the online voter registration deadline for 48 hours after the system is restored and are asking Virginia to undertake a public campaign to help notify Virginians of this change. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signaled he would support a court ordered extension of the deadline at a press conference this afternoon.
The groups are also seeking a one-day extension of Virginia’s early voting period, as the outage also interfered with early voting; some individuals attempting to early vote today were instead only offered the opportunity to fill out a provisional ballot. The groups suggest that, in order to provide adequate relief for impacted voters, Virginia must implement an additional day of early voting and take affirmative steps to ensure that the provisional ballots that were cast today are counted.
“Virginians’ voting rights shouldn’t be hanging by a fiber-optic cable,” said Jorge Vasquez, Power and Democracy Director of Advancement Project National Office. “Extending the registration and early voting deadlines is the only way that Virginia can adequately address the harm this outage has caused to voters. We know the Commonwealth recognizes that this mishap has interfered with Virginians’ fundamental right to vote; we’re calling on Virginia to do right by its voters.”
“The Commonwealth failed the public and it must grant a significant extension to ensure all Virginians are given an equal opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Extending the registration deadline is a common-sense step that can be taken to address the potential disenfranchisement of thousands of eligible people across Virginia. This now marks two presidential election cycles in a row in which the state's registration system has collapsed and we hope that this will counsel in favor of stronger systems and backstops to prevent mass disenfranchisement in the future.”
“All Virginians who are eligible to vote have a right to make their voices heard in our democracy, and the state has an obligation to ensure that all eligible voters have that access,” said Irene Shin, Executive Director of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table. “ We’re not asking for anything more than for the courts and the Board of Elections to fix what was broken today. In order to right this wrong, the Board of Elections must grant an extension of the deadline.
“Our democracy is strongest when we all have an opportunity to participate in our free and fair elections,” said Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of New Virginia Majority. “The system wide failure impacted Virginians across the Commonwealth, preventing people from registering to vote for the first time or updating their registrations, and prevented many voters from casting a regular ballot during in-person early voting. To ensure that every Virginian has an opportunity to participate in our democracy, it is imperative that the court provides the requested relief for those affected. Just as we have done in the past, New Virginia Majority will continue to defend Virginians' access to the ballot box.”
“This is not the first time Virginia has had glitches with its voter registration website during prime times. With more than 5 million eligible voters in Virginia, it is crucial that the system can handle this large volume in voter interest,” said Deb Wake, president of the League of Women Voters of Virginia. “Voters must not be silenced due to technical difficulties. The League is stepping in to make sure voters are given the opportunities they deserve to exercise their right to vote in this important election.”
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.
Advancement Project National Office is a next-generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. Rooted in the great human rights struggles for equality and justice, we exist to fulfill America’s promise of a caring, inclusive and just democracy. We use innovative tools and strategies to strengthen social movements and achieve high impact policy change. Visit www.advancementproject.org/home to learn more.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.
The Virginia Civic Engagement Table is a statewide organization that serves a broad network of partners across the Commonwealth with a concentration in Northern Virginia, greater Richmond, and the tidewater region (which includes Newport News, Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach). Our work is rooted in advancing economic, social, environmental, gender, and especially racial justice, as fundamental values that can end systems of oppression. For more information, visit our website.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, grassroots civic organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. With 100 years of experience, the League is one of America’s oldest and most trusted civic nonprofit organizations.
Richmond, Va. - New Virginia Majority has decided to endorse two candidates for Richmond City Council: Amy Wentz for the 8th District and Stephanie Lynch for the 5th District.
New Virginia Majority political director Maya Castillo said, "New Virginia Majority supports candidates who understand that the current systems aren't working for everyone. We look forward to partnering with Stephanie Lynch and Amy Wentz as they create the Richmond that is possible-- a Richmond where the voices of the most vulnerable are heard and centered."
Amy Wentz, who seeks to represent the 8th District said, “It’s an honor to receive the endorsement of New Virginia Majority. Our campaign is rooted in improving the quality of life for ALL residents in the 8th District and changing how political power works in our favor. As an advocate for my community, I am fighting for working class people so we have access to economic opportunities, housing security, educational attainment and resources that have been denied for too long. Together, we can do great things to uplift underrepresented communities and fight against injustice.”
Stephanie Lynch, who is running for reelection in the 5th District said, “I am honored to have the support of New Virginia Majority. I share NVM's commitment to empowering our most marginalized residents, and over the last 10 months in office I have worked every day to give a voice to the working class communities that I serve. I look forward to continuing this work alongside the incredible activists, advocates, and community members that make up NVM as we fight for a Richmond that is just, democratic and sustainable.”