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Virginia Organizing Lists Demand for State Leaders to Make Amends for Racist Actions; Calls for Investigation of Sexual Assault Allegations Against LG Justin Fairfax

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Two press releases this morning from Virginia Organizing, “a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization dedicated to challenging injustice by empowering people in local communities to address issues that affect the quality of their lives.”

VIRGINIA ORGANIZING LISTS DEMANDS FOR STATE LEADERS TO MAKE AMENDS FOR RACIST ACTIONS

Charlottesville, Va.—The State Governing Board of Virginia Organizing has called on Senator Tommy Norment, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Governor Ralph Northam to make amends for their past racist actions.

Virginia Organizing Chairperson Del McWhorter released the following statement and list:

“Recent revelations regarding the past racist actions of some of our state government’s highest officials—including Senator Tommy Norment, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Governor Ralph Northam—have deeply shaken and angered people across the state of Virginia. We look to our political leaders to represent the highest ideals of justice, equity, and respect for all; nothing less is morally or politically acceptable. If these past racist actions express these men’s current commitments, attitudes, or unconscious affiliations in any way, we believe they have no place in public office. There is no room in democratic government for white supremacy.

“Simply asserting that the past is the past will not dispel our sense of betrayal and alarm. We need to see concrete evidence of genuine commitment to racial justice, to confronting and righting the wrongs of the past, and to dismantling the institutional forms of white supremacy that still pervade our government and civic life.

“To that end, we call upon Governor Ralph Northam to work with his administration and members of the General Assembly to

  • Go beyond ‘sensitivity training’ to attend and require the cabinet and executive branch staff to attend a Dismantling Racism workshop.
  • Suspend the Dillon Rule to allow localities to remove monuments that honor the Confederacy from public spaces, or simply decree that such monuments be removed.
  • Stop the construction of a natural gas compressor station in the historic African-American community of Union Hill in Buckingham County to begin to address the glaring issue of environmental racism.
  • Champion funding for restorative justice in our public schools (to help dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that hurts so many of our children, especially African American boys, students with disabilities, and gender non-conforming girls).
  • Fund and hire a police profiling data collections officer for the state police.
  • Work with localities to fund and establish efficient and effective public transit systems connecting low-income communities and communities of color with job sites and educational and technical training sites.
  • Work with public and private agencies to expand and upgrade affordable housing.
  • Listen to and work with the Legislative Black Caucus in the General Assembly to identify and address any and all manifestations of racism and white supremacy in government.
  • Conduct and make public a full audit of administrative appointments to reveal the racial, ethnic, and gender make-up of administrative positions at every level and redress any inequities that come to light.
  • Work hard to meet the standards requiring a percentage of state contracts to be awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • Fund and staff agencies to enroll all qualified Virginians in our newly expanded Medicaid program.

“We call upon Senator Tommy Norment to work with the legislature and the Governor to

  • Attend and press for all members of the legislative branch to attend a Dismantling Racism workshop.
  • Champion funding for restorative justice in our public schools.
  • Champion funding for a police profiling data collections officer for the state police.
  • Champion funding for efficient and effective public transit systems connecting low-income communities and communities of color with job sites and educational and technical training sites.
  • Pass legislation to expand and upgrade affordable housing.
  • Listen to and work with the Legislative Black Caucus in the General Assembly to identify and address any and all manifestations of racism and white supremacy in government.
  • Repeal or suspend the Dillon Rule to allow localities to remove monuments that honor the Confederacy from public spaces, or simply decree that such monuments be removed.

“We call upon Attorney General Mark Herring to

  • Attend and require all staff members of the Attorney General’s offices statewide to attend a Dismantling Racism workshop.
  • Make good on his promise to Virginia Organizing to call together chiefs of police across the Commonwealth to work together to end racial profiling and police practices that fail to protect and often harm communities of color, members of sexual minorities, and people with disabilities.
  • Support and work toward hiring a police profiling data collections officer for the state police.

“In addition, we call upon the Virginia Military Institute, Eastern Virginia Medical College, and all other Virginia institutions of higher education to account for expenditure of student fees and other monies for the production of racist publications and to make restitution to any students, tax payers, or donors whose money was used for racist publications without their knowledge or consent.

“Our anger and sadness at writing and releasing this statement are beyond words. This is not where we hoped any of us would be in 2019. Virginian Organizing believes, however, that real change can happen. Let us work together to take this horrific series of events as an opportunity for a lasting victory over white supremacy and the other forms of exploitation and domination that have historically plagued our Commonwealth.”

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VIRGINIA ORGANIZING CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS AGAINST LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR JUSTIN FAIRFAX

 

Charlottesville, Va.—The State Governing Board of Virginia Organizing has called for a full investigation of the sexual assault allegations brought against Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax.

Virginia Organizing Chairperson Del McWhorter released the following statement:

“Although recent revelations of past racist actions on the part of Senator Tommy Norment, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Governor Ralph Northam have captured the attention of the citizenry, white supremacy is not the only evil that plagues our nation and the Commonwealth. Alongside it, and often bound up with it, is the evil that is sexual domination and exploitation of women by men. Virginia Organizing stands against sexism, sex discrimination, and sexual exploitation and violence in all their manifestations.

“Over the last few weeks, two women have accused Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax of sexual assault. Virginia Organizing takes these allegations very seriously. We, along with the Lieutenant Governor and the accusers, call for a full and fair investigation of those accusations.

“We support the initiatives of the General Assembly, Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, and the broader community to find means for carrying out such an investigation in as expeditious a manner as possible to bring justice for all involved.”