Thoughts on the Two Year Anniversary of Charlottesville
Earlier today, I released the following statement with my colleague and House Democratic Caucus Chair, Delegate Charniele Herring:
“Two years ago, white nationalists descended upon Charlottesville and brought terror and hateful ideology to our Commonwealth. Many brave Virginians stood up to this disgusting rally rooted in racism – they stood up for diversity, for tolerance, for inclusivity. Heather Heyer lost her life standing up to white supremacy, and many more lives have been forever altered through physical and mental trauma. Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates and Lt. H. Jay Cullen also died responding to the rally, and we honor their bravery and their memories.
“White nationalist terrorism is on the rise, and the rally in Charlottesville was a glaring example. Yet so many of our Virginia communities experience the effects of this racism, anti-Semitism, and domestic terror in their daily lives. As a Commonwealth, we have to examine how we can protect our communities from white nationalist terror, including through hate crime and gun safety legislation. Virginia history is complicated and often dark and painful, but white supremacy has no place in our Commonwealth’s future.”
El Paso and Dayton
While today marks the anniversary of a difficult day in Virginia’s history, I am also saddened that I am writing about not one but two mass shootings that have taken place in our country, within less than 24 hours of each other. In the past two years alone–I have written about more mass shootings than I can count, including a few right here in Virginia. Each time, I urge my colleagues to take action and while many of them are ready to act, my request falls on deaf ears of far too many others. As I have said countless times, doing nothing is not an option.
I also remain shocked that just over a month ago, the Republican majority displayed a blatant abdication of duty when they adjourned our special legislative session on gun safety just 90 minutes after we gaveled in. However, I remain ready to fight for the Governor’s eight common sense gun safety bills, which were referred to the Crime Commission and I hope you will join me too. That is why I am reposting the information from the upcoming meeting to ensure that you have the opportunity share your voice through the Crime Commission as well.
Share your views with the Crime Commission
The Crime Commission has scheduled two meetings in August to discuss and review the Special Session. Both meetings will take place in the House Committee Room of the Pocahontas Building, 900 East Main Street, Richmond, Virginia, 23219 and are open to the public.
On Monday, August 19th (10:00 AM), the agenda will consist of a variety of presenters from agencies and organizations. Tuesday, August 20th (12:00 PM) will allow for public comment (members of the general public will be able to speak starting around 3:00 PM, click here for more details). Following that, patrons will then present their bills.
Additionally, you can submit written comments to the Crime Commission via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to:
Attn: Written Comments
Virginia State Crime Commission
1111 East Broad Street, Ste. B036
Richmond, Virginia 23219.
Please note that all written comments will be shared with members of the Crime Commission. Additional details regarding the deadline for submitting written comments will be announced following the August 20th Crime Commission meeting.
Virginia Legislative Black Caucus Event at Lumpkin’s Slave Jail in Richmond
I was honored to join the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in Richmond on July 30th to commemorate the arrival of the first enslaved Africans (400 years ago) and to contextualize the beginning of our democracy. The ceremonies at the State Capitol and at the Lumpkin’s Slave Jail site were inspiring. Thank you to my colleagues, Delegate Lamont Bagby, chair of the VLBC, and Delegate Delores McQuinn for organizing such a moving event. I was honored to address the crowd.
After my remarks and those of my colleagues, we all went to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. There, we viewed the exhibit, “Determined: The 400-year Struggle for Black Equality.” If you are ever in Richmond, I highly recommend you see it. The exhibit focuses on, “the long history of black Americans as they have fought for freedom, equal justice, and access to opportunities.” Find out more by clicking here.
National Conference of State Legislatures Award
Last week, I was in Nashville for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Annual Legislative Conference. While there, I was truly honored to be recognized with a National Conference of State Legislatures ”Women in Politics Making a Difference” Award. Each year, honorees are selected for making an impressive impact “through perseverance, collaboration and, most importantly, pursuing their dreams.” I am really humbled and appreciative for this recognition.
Medicaid Expansion Milestone
Two weeks ago, Governor Northam announced in Fairfax County that Virginia had hit a new Medicaid Enrollment milestone. Now, more than 300,000 Virginians are covered. The fact is, Medicaid Expansion works. I have said time and time again that last year’s vote to expand our program in Virginia was one of the proudest and most important votes I have ever taken, but it is a shame we did not act on this sooner. You can read my thoughts about this important milestone in this week’s Burke Connection by clicking here.
Road Improvements Coming to the 41st District
More road improvements are coming to our community and our county as a whole. VDOT will be retrofitting, replacing, repairing or installing sidewalk ramps within VDOT’s right of way throughout Northern Virginia so that these roads and sidewalks will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These sidewalk ramps have been categorized and prioritized based on their existing condition.
One of the big improvements coming to our district is at the intersection of Shiplett Boulevard and Burke Lake Road. These will include: ramp upgrades, four new pedestrian crosswalks and flashing yellow arrows in both directions of Burke Lake Road. As always, if you have suggestions on roads that need improving, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
House Page Program Opens
Each year, the Speaker of the House of Delegates appoints students ages 13-14 years old from across the Commonwealth to serve as House pages during the regular session of the General Assembly. These young people assist members in the House of Delegates, as well as the House Clerk’s staff and other legislative staff in the countless daily duties required for the successful operation of the House during the Legislative Session.
The online application to serve as a Page in the House of Delegates during the 2020 Legislative Session is open and closes Tuesday, October 31 at 5:00 pm. The application may be accessed at the bottom of the Capitol Classroom Page information section on the Virginia General Assembly website or by clicking here.
Each completed application requires a personal endorsement from the applicant’s Delegate. Therefore, it is the applicant’s responsibility to contact me to request this endorsement if they live in the 41st District. I hope I will receive many applications from our area. Interested students may contact me by emailing email@example.com.