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.

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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

 


New Virginia Majority Announces Alexandria City Council Endorsements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 21, 2018

New Virginia Majority has endorsed the following candidates for Alexandria City Council -- candidates we believe are best positioned to push the city forward with an agenda that includes the issues that we care about most, such as affordable housing, quality public schools, healthcare and more.

The endorsements are as follows:

Canek Aguirre, Alexandria City Council

Will Bailey, Alexandria City Council

John Taylor Chapman, Alexandria City Council

Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Alexandria City Council

Mo Seifeldein, Alexandria City Council

We look forward to working with these candidates as elected officials to build a progressive and just Alexandria.

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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.

 


Richmond Police Department Agrees To Publicly Release Policing Data In Response to Pressure from Community

Data to be rolled out monthly starting February 1 in an effort to strengthen police accountability

RICHMOND, VA-- After many months of grassroots organizing by New Virginia Majority along with coalition partners Legal Aid Justice Center, Advancement Project, and Southerners on New Ground (SONG), the Richmond Police Department (RPD) has agreed to publicly release police data each month starting on February 1. The initial data will include information on RPD use of force and the number and type of complaints made to RPD. RPD will also publish information on the race and gender of community members who experienced use of force and/or filed complaints, what neighborhoods the incidents occurred in, as well as how these cases were resolved. In recent meetings, coalition members continued to push RPD to release similar information on stops and arrests.

"I feel empowered by the communities that pushed for this much needed transparency in the police department. We really do have a voice at all levels of our community and this win is proof. I appreciate Chief Durham and the Richmond Police Department for meeting with us, listening to our concerns, and making an effort to deliver on our asks." – Todd Lee, member of New Virginia Majority

“We understand initiatives such as body cameras, data transparency, and civilian review boards will not necessarily overhaul police culture, however, it is our duty to do everything in our power to make sure officers sworn to protect all and serve all are held accountable for their actions. This victory would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of the Richmond community who have stood unafraid and shared their stories of abuse by the police and their radical visions of what community policing should look like.” – Assaddique Abdul-Rahman, Community Organizer, New Virginia Majority

"Lack of transparency yields mistrust from communities, especially communities of color and LGBT folks who are heavily policed. At SONG we believe that reform around data transparency and police accountability is a necessary step in living in a world free from fear." – Micky Jordan, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) organizer

"Across Virginia there is a lack of publicly available information about who is policed and what that policing looks like. This black box around law enforcement activity not only undermines community trust but prevents open, constructive conversations about problems that do exist and, more importantly, potential solutions." – Kimberly Rolla, Attorney at Legal Aid Justice Center's Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program

“While local communities across the country, have been organizing in the face of police murder and misconduct, most efforts have fallen short of creating meaningful transformation communities can believe in. Organizing efforts in Richmond that have procured an agreement from the Richmond Police Department to release key data, is the first step in being able to identify any problematic practices and outcomes that impact the most vulnerable communities in Richmond.” – Angelo Pinto, Advancement Project

This data roll out is a significant first step towards Police Chief Alfred Durham’s vocalized interest in establishing RPD as a strong model for police accountability. We look forward to continuing conversations with Chief Durham and RPD as we fight for justice in our communities.

[PDF of release here]

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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

Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, working class and rural and small town, LGBTQ people in the South. We believe that we are bound together by a shared desire for ourselves, each other, and our communities to survive and thrive. We believe that Community Organizing is the best way for us to build collective power and transform the South. Out of this belief we are committed to building freedom movements rooted in southern traditions like community organizing, political education, storytelling, music, breaking bread, resistance, humor, performance, critical thinking, and celebration.

The Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) fights injustice in the lives of individual Virginians while rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty through litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing.   LAJC’s Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program works to end the criminalization of poverty in Virginia by exposing and addressing the connections among policing, poverty, race, and injustice.

Advancement Project 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.

 


Residents Call for Police Accountability at Community Forum

Residents Call for Police Accountability at Community Forum

Richmond residents share stories of police misconduct and push for Civilian Review Board


Richmond, VA--
On Tuesday, November 14th, about 50 community members gathered at Richmond Public Library Main Branch in support of the police accountability campaign. The community is calling for a city-wide Civilian Review Board with subpoena power to  investigate violations of the police code of conduct and to build trust and transparency between the community and law enforcement. Members from the Legal Aid Justice Center presented data on Richmond Police Department’s (RPD) policing practices. Multiple community members shared personal stories of Richmond Police Department misconduct; particularly instances of harassment, racial profiling and discrimination.

“Recently, I was pulled over because my 3rd brake light was out,” said Todd Adams of Richmond. “A routine traffic stop resulted in my friend, myself and my entire car being searched for drugs, guns, and alcohol. Needless to say they found nothing. These practices of harassment without cause has  diminished trust between the police and community it is sworn to protect.”

Complaints against RPD are investigated by an Internal Review Board- creating a culture of “self-policing” that lacks transparency and credibility. Heavily policed communities, communities of color, low-income communities, and the LGBTQ community, are calling for a fair standard of accountability to bring attention - and an end - to individual and systemic police abuses that harm our communities.

“We need better police accountability in Richmond,” said As-saddique Abdul-Rahman, Community Organizer for New Virginia Majority. “Richmond residents, particularly in poor Black communities, share similar stories of discrimination at the hands of law enforcement sworn to serve and protect all and it’s up to the community to address it.”

 

New Virginia Majority will continue to hold meetings throughout the community to raise awareness and support for increased police accountability.

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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 2017 General Election Results


Statement by New Virginia Majority on 2017 General Election Results

This is the new majority.

The results of tonight’s historic election -- 3 statewide races and at least 15 House of Delegates seats -- represent an undeniable rejection of Trump and Trumpism and the emergence of a new majority that will transform this state and country in the decades to come.

We congratulate Gov.-elect Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov.-elect Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring, and all of our endorsed candidates who are part of this turning point in Virginia’s history. 

We especially congratulate Danica Roem on her historic win as one of the first transgender state legislators in U.S. history as well as Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman, the first Latinas, and Kathy Tran, among the first Asian American women, elected to the House of Delegates.

Make no mistake. Tonight’s victory will be claimed by many. But it belongs to our communities — people of color, immigrants, working people, women, LGBTQ people, students, youth, and more -- who, in the face of relentless, vicious attacks, have been the driving force for progress in Virginia. Our communities turned out to vote in huge numbers to make our voices heard loud and clear: Hate won’t win here. Hate lost.

We will continue to do the deep organizing around the most urgent issues facing us: healthcare, education, criminal justice reform, immigrant justice, and more.

We celebrate tonight’s victory. Now the real work begins. Let’s get started.

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Statement on Gillespie Ad Attacking Rights Restoration Process

Gillespie’s newest racist ad continues to stoke fear and demonize swaths of Virginians in a sorry attempt to score votes

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Community searches for Norfolk Southern CEO James Squires

ADVISORY for Saturday, September 16th

Lambert’s Point community launches  #WhereIsSquires to meet with coal dust CEO

(Norfolk, Va.) -- On Saturday, September 16th, Lamberts Point community will continue their “search” for Norfolk Southern CEO James Squires in an effort to meet with him and discuss the coal dust that is harming predominantly Black communities in Lambert’s Point. The launch of the search comes after multiple failed attempts to get Squires attention to meet with people directly affected by the coal dust.  Community members will post the flyers calling for people to send a picture if they have a Squires sighting, as well ways get involved in the campaign

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New Virginia Majority Announces 2017 Endorsements

New Virginia Majority has endorsed a slate of candidates who we believe are best positioned to push the state forward with an agenda that is inclusive of all Virginians, no matter who they are and where they live.

The endorsements are as follows:

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