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Video: Delegates Cia Price, Lashrecse Aird, Lamont Bagby, Jeff Bourne, Jay Jones “Setting the Record Straight”

"When we are talking about Black suffering, there is something in some people's minds that would just shut down to remain comfortable"

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Check out this video from last night, in which Virginia Delegates Cia Price, Lashrecse Aird, Lamont BagbyJeff Bourne and Jay Jones spent an hour or so “setting the record straight.”  There’s a ton of interesting stuff, so definitely watch the entire thing, but here are a few highlights:

  • Del. Bourne, who patroned the Qualified Immunity reform bill which passed yesterday after being rejected this past Friday, said: “Qualified immunity is on to the Senate, which is what we wanted, because just a few short months ago, we were we were we were cast as the place where good criminal justice reform went to die – the House of Delegates. So we’re sending them some good stuff and let’s go see we’re going to see what the Senate has to has to do with it and what they have to say about it…It is a shame that we had to go through all all these legislative and procedural gymnastics to get to a place where at least the House believes that law enforcement officers who cause harm to people and violate their constitutional rights can at least get a hearing on the merits and… law enforcement cannot be shielded by a judicially created defense.”
  • Del. Jones said “The message you send on this vote [on Qualified Immunity] is a real clear signal to communities of color, where do you stand with us and how do you feel about our issues and things that are important to us… I think there were people who we expected to be a part of this conversation who were silent, who had a chance to step up and be with us, but I think that their silence speaks volumes. And you know I talk a lot about being proactive as opposed to reactionary, and I think this is one of those times when you’ll see people who sort of waited for us to see how it was going to work out, kind of jump on the bandwagon a little bit.”
  • Del. Bourne: “There are a lot of issues that come before the General Assembly every year that that have an impact on Black and Brown communities that we represent. But there are a handful, probably every five years, that are monumental and extremely consequential. And every conversation I’ve ever been in about one of these issues, Black voices have pled and begged and and just poured their hearts out about the impact that it has on these on the communities that we represent. And you see…people will put their heads down, people will nod like they’re paying attention and agree. But when it comes time to actually do something they do what’s comfortable for them. And the two…that come to mind most recently are 1) the redistricting vote and 2) these these these criminal justice police reform issues. We have to nitpick until the nth degree on issues that are going to affect Black communities…But when we’re talking about Metro funding or transportation or whatever…issues that we all vote for, because we understand. But I’ve said this a lot; every base group for the Democratic Party over the last 10 months has won. Labor has won. We’ve done a lot of great things for our working families. Our LGBTQ+ family has has done amazingly well with the Virginia Values Act. We have done a lot for our immigrants and non-native communities. But every time the Black community’s issues…the number one issue that we raise, it’s like, ah well you know, can we do this, can we do that, can we water it down, can we can we wait? We’ll take care of your next go-round. Well, you know what, that song is getting old and played out.”
  • Del. Aird: “Not only is it issues that they are comfortable with, but…I am really tired of hearing issues that will protect me being re-elected. And in this moment there is no room for that. We have people in our communities whose lives are at stake and if you are here and you vote in support of those issues, you should have no problem being re-elected, because everyone should care about issues that impact Black and Brown communities. But if all you can look at is polling numbers and how you think that this issue will impact your polling then perhaps you might need to find something else to do.”
  • Del. Price: “We have allies within the Caucus…But when we are talking about Black suffering, there is something in some people’s minds that would just shut down to remain comfortable. But there are some…there are a few that we can have those conversations with. And I want to at this moment say thank you because, we can’t do this alone – there are only 23 of us…we can’t pass…our bills by ourselves.
  • Del. Bagby: “I really really really really really thought that we weren’t going to be able to get as much done, but collectively everyone played their position. All these different bills, folks didn’t fight over the bills they said, I’m doing this, I’m doing no knock [warrants], I’m doing Juneteenth, I’m doing evictions. It’s so much to do, because in every corner of the Commonwealth, in every segment of the Commonwealth, people that look like us are negatively impacted, so there was so much work to do when the door was open, and so I appreciate those individuals that have gone out and protested in whatever form they they felt necessary…”
  • Del. Bourne called out Del. Steve Heretick (D) – albeit not by name – who voted against Bourne’s Qualified Immunity reform bill, noting “the fact that we still have some folks who represent areas that would would pull a stunt like they did with Senator Lucas and still vote against these criminal justice reforms and the monument issues…”
  • Del. Price commented on the redistricting amendment: “Because redistricting was brought up, I definitely want to say – since we are setting the record straight – that
    the proposed constitutional amendment should be voted down; we encourage you to vote no on number one. I’ll put a link in where you can find out more information, because that amendment does not end gerrymandering, but House Bill 1255 did. And I had been working with advocates and fighting for criteria for which redistricting must meet for the districts. So it’s like, we were drawing our own lines and so at least have some rules to it, right? So this would make political, racial and prison gerrymandering illegal – and that went into effect July 1. So if anybody tells you that gerrymandering is legal in Virginia, send them my way, because House Bill 1255 stopped that. So that was my first one. And the conversation that ensued around redistricting, it was really interesting to me, because some of the folks – talking about how how narratives get flipped and gaslighting – some of the folks that are responsible for the racially gerrymandered districts that got thrown out by the Supreme Court and had to be redrawn by the Special Master are now the ones that are being hailed as gods of fair and independent redistricting. And I was in those back rooms and I remember how some of those folks that want to…say that they’re our allies, when we were trying to get districts that gave Black people equal votes, they were trying to pick up political wins. So they were trying to trade racial gerrymandering for political gerrymandering, for their own comfort, for their own election. And now you telling me it’s a good idea to put eight of us at the table to continue to draw those lines as it would put into the constitution and that is a hard no for me.”
  • Del. Jones: “Every time we pass one of these bills every time we we are moving the ball forward. I feel like we’re taking a brick out of out of the proverbial mass incarceration prison that has been built by the people on the other side of the aisle for decades. And there are people who are sitting in there still who built that prison and every time we are pushing this ball forward, we’re making these gains, it’s like we’re dropping a brick on their head, and I love love love love watching their faces as it happens, because they can’t stop it and you can see it that it burns them up, because they have created this system that has oppressed people forever…We have a chance to really undo a lot of the ills of this society.
  • Del. Aird: “All Democrats are not created equal. There is a clear spectrum that we are talking about….this is what we are describing on this call. You have members that are prepared to do the work that impact our communities, that’s all about progressive issues. But you have a lot of members that are still present today that would like to be not talking about these issues, that have a base that supports them not talking about these issues, and they are roadblocks every step of the way and will continue to be as we are trying to bring about criminal justice reform and a number of other issues that impact black and brown communities.”