New Virginia Majority condemns Attorney General Mark Herring performance of Blackface, calls for renewed commitment to racial justice

For Immediate Release

February 7, 2019

Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org  

 

New Virginia Majority condemns Attorney General Mark Herring performance of Blackface, calls for renewed commitment to racial justice

New Virginia Majority is disappointed to learn that Attorney General Mark Herring has engaged in the hurtful, racist performance of blackface. As Virginia commemorates the 400th year of when enslaved African were first brought to Jamestown, it is especially painful to Black people who elected him and view him as a champion. 

Jamaa Bickley King, Board President, New Virginia Majority

As the grandson of civil rights attorney Oliver Hill, I know the importance of leading with integrity-- not just through rhetoric, but by action. I’ve watched Attorney General Herring defend Virginia’s communities of color through his advocacy on removing Jim Crow relics that permanently strip the right to vote from people with felonies. I have seen him defend immigrant families, whether in court against the Muslim travel ban or standing with DACA recipients in the fight for tuition equity. While we condemn his past actions, I believe Attorney General Herring understands now that the color of our skin is not a costume, our struggles are not a performance, and the horrors that we have endured on this land are worthy of more respect than a late night college party. He has been honest about his racist behavior and now he must recommit to dismantling the racist systems that we continue to face in Virginia. 

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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


New Virginia Majority Board Calls for Gov. Northam’s Immediate Resignation

For Immediate Release

Feb. 1, 2019

New Virginia Majority Board Calls for Gov. Northam’s Immediate Resignation

New Virginia Majority’s Board of Directors tonight voted to call for Gov. Ralph Northam’s immediate resignation.

The racist photo on the Governor’s medical school yearbook page reminds us of what we know: the constancy of the Jim Crow-era is alive and well in Virginia.

White supremacy and racism should not be baked into the fabric of American life. As an organization committed to empowering communities of color, we must unequivocally and without hesitation call out, condemn, and root out bigotry and racism wherever we find it - particularly among the most powerful.This is especially true at a time when hate and white supremacy is being fomented at the highest levels. Ensuring that those we elect are committed to racial justice beyond talking points is what it will take to produce real change in Virginia.

Apologies are not enough. We call on Governor Northam to resign and begin the process of truly healing the damage this has caused.

To those hurt and angered by today: let this fuel and intensify our commitment to transform and organize fiercely for a better Virginia.

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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


New Virginia Majority Statement on Today’s The Virginian-Pilot Report

For Immediate Release

February 1, 2019

New Virginia Majority Statement on Today’s The Virginian-Pilot Report 

New Virginia Majority strongly condemns the grotesque display of racism and bigotry reported today in The Virginian-Pilot showing a picture of two men, one in blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood, on the medical school yearbook page belonging to Gov. Ralph Northam. 

This photo is a painful and shocking reminder of what we all know and see daily - here in Virginia and nationally: racism is baked into the fabric of American life, both the violent and public displays such as in 2017 when the KKK rallied in Charlottesville, and in the systemic and less visible but equally violent ways that devastate our communities. It is our job to unequivocally and without hesitation call out, condemn, and root out bigotry and racism wherever we find it - particularly among the most powerful.

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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


$15 Minimum Wage increase advances out of committee

For Immediate Release
January 14, 2019
Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org757-478-1792 (call or text)

 

$15 Minimum Wage increase advances out of committee

We are encouraged that SB 1200, sponsored by Sen. Rosalyn Dance, advanced out of committee today. SB 1200 would increase Virginia’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2021.

Tram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director, New Virginia Majority

We need to give working people opportunities, so that they don’t have to make the hard choice between food on the table or a roof over their head. One way to ensure the success of people who live and work in Virginia is a minimum wage that allows them a decent standard of living. The minimum wage bill is long overdue in the Commonwealth and will help pave the way to a more prosperous and equitable Virginia.

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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


Statement on advancement of anti-sanctuary legislation SB1156

For Immediate Release
January 14, 2019
Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org757-478-1792 (call or text)

 

Statement by New Virginia Majority on advancement of SB 1156

 Today SB 1156, an anti-immigrant bill sponsored by Sen. Richard Black, advanced out of committee. Anti-immigrant legislation such as SB 1156 pose a risk to public safety and enshrine discrimination. At a time when many Virginians are struggling, our elected representatives must focus on authentic justice for working families — good jobs, quality public schools, and affordable housing.

“Legislation like SB 1156 open our localities to legal liability and make intolerance the law of our Commonwealth,” said Tram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director of New Virginia Majority. “Virginia should pursue policies that make us more, not less, welcoming to newcomers. We won’t stop working to make Virginia fulfill the promise of its residents to be a just, welcoming and democratic place."

Localities currently have some discretion on how they engage with federal immigration agencies like ICE. SB 1156 would prevent localities from exercising reasonable and appropriate discretion in how they interact with immigrants and immigrant detainees. As we work to create better pathways to citizenship, we oppose legislation that target and criminalizes immigrant communities and weaken public safety.

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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


New Virginia Majority endorses Jennifer Boysko for State Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 30, 2018
Contact: jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org​

New Virginia Majority endorses Jennifer Boysko for State Senate

New Virginia Majority (NVM) proudly endorses Jennifer Boysko in the special election for the 33rd State Senate seat to replace outgoing State Senator Jennifer Wexton. Jennifer Boysko is a longtime ally of NVM and a proven advocate for working families, public education, transportation access, and voting rights. We believe Boysko will continue to strengthen our communities and push Virginia forward with her progressive agenda in the State Senate just as she has in the House of Delegates.

Maya Castillo, Political Director, New Virginia Majority
As Delegate of the 86th district, Del. Boysko has a track record of using her voice to advance rights and protections for undocumented people and new Americans, currently and formerly incarcerated people, and the LGBTQ community.

We are eager to spread the word throughout the 33rd district.

Jennifer Boysko, candidate for Virginia State Senate
I am thrilled to have the endorsement of NVM. As someone who has been involved with NVM for over a decade I am proud of the work we have accomplished to build an economy that works for everyone, no matter where you're from, the color of your skin, where you pray, or who you love. I look forward to continuing our efforts in the Virginia General Assembly focusing on expanding access to drivers licenses and protections for working families.

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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.

 


Statement by New Virginia Majority on record turnout in 2018 midterm election

For Immediate Release

November 6, 2018

Media interested in speaking with first-time voters, people of color, canvassers, formerly incarcerated voters, or one of our co-executive directors, contact: Jasmine Leeward, press@newvirginiamajority.org, 757-478-1792

Statement by New Virginia Majority on record turnout in 2018 midterm election

A critical mass of Virginians harnessed their political power in record midterm turnout

Tonight is a victory because our communities turned out to vote in huge numbers to make our voices heard loud and clear. In Virginia, the turnout rate was XX percent higher than our last midterm election. As the Commonwealth’s largest people of color-led civic engagement organization, New Virginia Majority works to achieve transformative justice that improves the lives of communities of color in Virginia.

New Virginia Majority is a leader in the movement for transformative change. Since 2015 we have registered more than 200,000 Virginians and in 2016 we succeeded in restoring voting rights to thousands of formerly incarcerated people in Virginia.

Tram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director of New Virginia Majority, said, “Virginia voters have shown a new direction for America, embracing issues that matter to working class people of color, and rejecting hate and bigotry. New Virginia Majority’s deep organizing in communities across the state helped propel this historic victory. We have built a strong base of Black, Latinx, Asian American and young voters who are building political power to change a system that's not working for them. Extremist conservative candidates have been served notice that their days are numbered in the Commonwealth. The Democratic Party must now remember--and govern--for the marginalized communities who made this happen. The new maxim for national political trends should now be, 'As Virginia goes, so goes the country.’

Jewel Farley, organizer with New Virginia Majority, said “The turnout numbers for this midterm election show that people are ready for change. For the last six months, I have sat outside of social services buildings, barber shops, clothing stores, and soup kitchens registering voters, helping people get their rights restored, and reminding them to vote in every single election. I’ve had long conversations with mothers, public sector workers, teachers, and people without homes explaining to them how voting impacts their lives and their families. I love to see that light bulb come on and people start to understand that we fight for rights by exercising them. I know that the work I do is at the heart of making Virginia better for my community.”

With every election, no matter who wins or loses, we will always continue the deep organizing around the most urgent issues facing us: protecting our voting rights, criminal justice reform, immigrant justice, economic opportunity, and more.

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New Virginia Majority builds the power of marginalized communities to change the political systems that aren’t working for us. We organize within Latinx, African American, Asian American Pacific Islander and youth communities, centering the leadership and demands of working class women of color, to vote and mobilize to end mass incarceration, build just economic policies, protect immigrants and preserve the environment.


New Virginia Majority introduced new map to "unpack" Black voters in House districts

For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 27th, 2018
Contact: Jasmine Leeward, jleeward@newvirginiamajority.org, 804-250-6514

 

New Virginia Majority introduced new map to "unpack" Black voters in House districts
New map is designed to remedy racial discrimination, maximize black
Representation

 

Richmond, VA-- On Thursday morning, New Virginia Majority (NVM) introduced an alternative redistricting map to maximize minority voting power. Earlier this year, a federal panel made up of district and appellate judges ruled that the House violated the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause by prioritizing race and packing black communities into districts to dilute their voting power. New Virginia Majority believes the only way to remedy the blatant racial discrimination that took place is to ensure a new map maximizes the voting power of minority communities. NVM’s map disregards partisan political data used to rig maps in favor of incumbents and protect those currently in power.

"This racial discrimination by our lawmakers, designed to preserve their own power at the expense of their constituents, is unacceptable," says Jamaa Bickley King, board chair of NVM. "In fact, I am one of those voters whose voice at the ballot box was diminished. While various plans have been put forward, we at New Virginia Majority believe that the only way to remedy the blatant racial discrimination that took place is to ensure a new map maximizes the voting power of minority communities."

NVM retained TargetSmart, a national data firm, to construct this new map that prioritizes Black voting power.

The map was drawn according to the principles and criteria that should drive any redistricting process: Respect for communities of color and communities of interest, contiguous districts, and respect, where possible, for geographic and political boundaries.

As this map is a response to the court’s invalidation of 11 districts, it does not draw new lines for the entire state but focuses on remedying the discrimination in Richmond, Southside, and Hampton Roads.

View maps at bit.ly/NVMmapsubmission

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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


Alexandria Sheriff Moves to Reduce Collaboration with ICE, But More Is Needed: Alexandria Jail Must Sever Ties With ICE

For Immediate Release: July 10, 2018

Contact: Mia Taylor, mtaylor@tenantsandworkers.org, 571-269-8107
Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, simon@justice4all.org, 703-720-5605

 

ALEXANDRIA, VA: Alexandria Sheriff Dana Lawhorne’s recent commitment to reduce collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is a positive step forward, but more changes are needed in order to live up to the City’s Statement on Inclusiveness.

Sheriff Lawhorne announced yesterday that for immigrants serving a sentence imposed by a judge, his jail will no longer honor ICE requests to hold them past their scheduled release dates.  For immigrants ordered released on bond, or eligible for release after time served, the jail will only hold them for 16 hours for ICE (or up to 24 hours in extenuating circumstances), no matter what day of the week. Sheriff Lawhorne will also institute timekeeping policies and regular weekly audits to make sure no one is held beyond the time allowed under this new policy.

Previously, the jail would honor ICE requests to hold both pretrial and post-conviction immigrant detainees for up to two business days past their scheduled release dates, not including weekends and holidays. In 2017, the Alexandria City Jail turned over 105 people to ICE, up nearly double from 2016.  More than half of those were merely awaiting trial and had not been convicted of a crime. Alexandria also allows ICE to use its jail as a short-term holding facility for immigrants arrested anywhere at all, a practice which will not change after yesterday’s announcement.

“Thank you, Sheriff, for your willingness to engage with the community and revisit your practices. We are encouraged that you describe this as a ‘first step.’ And it is a step in the right direction,” said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, legal director of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s Immigrant Advocacy Program. “But 16 extra hours in jail for immigrants is still 16 hours too long. Immigrants should be treated no differently than citizens: after they post bail, they should be allowed to walk out the front door.”

“There is no law that compels the jail to transfer people to ICE,” said Mia Taylor, organizer with Tenants and Workers United.  “Local law enforcement should not be enforcing the laws of a broken federal immigration system.”

“We are hearing a tremendous outpouring of concern from our friends and neighbors in Alexandria,” said Jonathan Krall from Grassroots Alexandria. “The jail is one place where we have the power to make a change.”

On June 18, Alexandria’s other jail, the Northern Virginia Regional Juvenile Detention Center, announced that, effective September, it will stop renting beds to the federal government to detain unaccompanied immigrant children.  But with yesterday’s announcement, the Alexandria Adult Detention Center will continue to act as a short-term holding facility for ICE, both for immigrants arrested by local police in Alexandria and for immigrants arrested by ICE anywhere else.

ICE has come under fire for inhumane tactics including racial profiling, warrantless entry into homes, and the breaking up of families. The time has come for Alexandria to entirely sever ties with that agency.

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Tenants and Workers United builds power in low-income, immigrant communities of color to improve the quality of our lives in Northern Virginia. We organize and support people to be agents of change in their own lives by addressing the issues they care about.

Legal Aid Justice Center is a statewide Virginia nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the voices of low-income communities and root out the inequities that keep people in poverty.  We provide legal support to immigrant communities facing legal crises, and use advocacy and impact litigation to fight back against ICE enforcement and detention abuses.  Our ‘De-ICE Virginia’ campaign seeks to sever the ties between local law enforcement and ICE.

Grassroots Alexandria promotes local, non-partisan, long-term conversations, community education and action towards positive solutions by those who are moved to act on their conscience.

Read more

New Virginia Majority Statement on Medicaid Expansion

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Contact: press@newvirginiamajority.org, 804-250-6514

Today, Virginia voted to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid, giving nearly 400,000 Virginians access to affordable, life-saving healthcare. This victory belongs to each and every mother, grandmother, student, home healthcare worker, and community member who have been pushing for Medicaid expansion for over six legislative sessions. We are excited to join all the states who have expanded Medicaid and made thousands of families healthier. This victory would not have been possible without the countless calls and demonstrations from the community demanding that legislators prioritize this issue.

“As a mother of an autistic child, I know just how important Medicaid is for many things here in Virginia. Medicaid helps fund not just our schools but also our special education programs here in Virginia,” said Monica Hutchinson, organizer for New Virginia Majority. “This expansion will have a ripple effect. Not only will hundreds of thousands of Virginians receive the care they deserve, but our schools will also receive extra money in their annual budgets. Today was a huge victory for the people in Virginia.”

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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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