From the Virginia NAACP:
Virginia NAACP Releases Its 2023 Legislative Agenda
RICHMOND, VA – Today, the Virginia State Conference NAACP (Virginia NAACP) released its 2023 Legislative Agenda for the Virginia General Assembly 2023 regular session. In a virtual press conference, Virginia NAACP President Robert Barnette joined Virginia NAACP Political Action Chair Gaylene Kanoyton and other NAACP leaders to discuss legislation the NAACP would support and oppose in the state legislature. Tyee Mallory was also introduced as the Virginia NAACP legislative coordinator for the 2023 session.
The Virginia NAACP will be closely watching legislation that increases mental health access for youth and young adults, public school funding, and gun safety legislation, in addition to the priority areas below.
The Virginia NAACP legislative priorities can be found online at: https://naacpva.us/2023VirginiaNAACPLegislativeAgenda.
Press can download a copy of the press conference here https://naacpva.us/VirginiaNAACPPressConference2023LegislativeAgenda
The Virginia NAACP will continue to advocate for the highest standards of learning, safety and equity in Virginia’s public schools which includes:
- Protecting and expanding funding for Virginia’s public schools;
- Funding and requiring at least one nurse in every school building in the Commonwealth;
- Expanding broadband access across Virginia by investing in rural and low-income communities to
- ensure a standard of internet access, quality, and affordability;
- Requiring recurring cultural-competency training as part of the teacher certification process, with
- standards determined by a diverse group of education, civil rights, and community leaders;
- Defend the teaching of America’s true history including Black history and reject all attempts to remove
- curriculum due to political pressure;
- Establishing a grant fund for school systems to hire mental health professionals and reallocating state
- funding of school resource officer (SRO) programs;
- Encourage each administration to commit to and prioritize funding to Virginia’s HBCUs.
Advocate for legislation that will result in the elimination of the racial and ethnic inequities that exist within our healthcare system that undermines communities of color, their life opportunities and their ability to contribute fully to the common good.
Advocate for legislation that allows for all Virginians to have access to affordable housing, protections from evictions, relevant and timely information on tenant/landlord rights and responsibilities and to be free of discriminatory practices. Housing is a basic human right.
Environmental and Climate Justice
The VSC NAACP believes that environmental and climate justice is a civil and human rights issue. Legislation must ensure that our communities are equipped to actively engage in decision-making processes, must be intentional to rectify systemic impacts, and must ensure a just transition to clean, sustainable, and healthy communities through community building initiatives such as sea resiliency, advancing food justice, smart growth tools, affordable transportation systems, energy efficiency, and emergency management.
Race and Justice
Advocate for smarter, results-based criminal justice policies to keep our communities safe, including treatment for addiction and mental health problems, judicial discretion in sentencing, and an end to racial disparities at all levels of the system. Furthermore, we support sensible gun laws. Common Sense gun legislation will have a significant impact on reducing gun violence and saving lives. Comprehensive background checks on the sale of firearms, limitations on purchasing firearms and prohibition of selling and transporting assault weapons are necessary legislation to keep Virginians safe. Advocate for legislation which eliminates racially disparate treatment of Black youth and other over represented youth which have lasting and negative consequences and contributes to an intergenerational cycle for individuals and problematic outcomes in the community.
Workforce, Labor and Economic Empowerment
Advocate for policies and legislation which enhances the capacity of Black Virginians and other underserved groups through financial economic education; individual and community asset building initiatives; providing safe and affordable housing, diversity and inclusion in business hiring, fair hiring and protection practices, and inclusive procurement; and monitoring financial banking practices.
Voting Rights and Political Representation
The Virginia NAACP is advocating for enhancements that will increase voter access in Virginia. First, begin pre-registration at age 16 which will increase voter registration of 18-29 year olds; and automatic restoration of voting rights to the formerly incarcerated.
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ABOUT THE VIRGINIA NAACP
Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is focused on being the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocating for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACPVA.org.