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Garrie Rouse | profile | all galleries >> protests USA >> Local Virginia Actions >> Virginia People's Assembly (1/10/09) tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Virginia People's Assembly (1/10/09)

Excerpted from the Richmond Jobs with Justice web page (www.richmondjwj.org/vapeoplesassembly/) ...

Across Virginia, poor and working people are hurting. Companies are laying off workers. Homeowners are facing foreclosures. Pensioners are seeing their retirement funds shrink. College and university tuition is rising. Times are tough, and all the “experts” say they’re only going to get worse.

Virginia’s 2009 budget is now facing a deficit of between $2.5 and $3.5 billion. The General Assembly, which convened on January 14th, is talking layoffs of state workers, reduced funds for cities, town and counties; cutbacks in health, education, cultural programs; and raising fines and user fees.

What it won’t be talking about is making the banks and corporations foot the bill for the economic crisis. In Virginia, corporations pay the second-lowest income tax in the country, while working people pay the second-highest. Now we are being told that we must pay the price for the financial crisis caused by the wealthy.

The halls of the General Assembly are filled with well-paid lobbyists looking out for the interests of the rich and powerful. But who will speak for us?

Each year, the various unions, community organizations and nonprofits pick a different day to lobby the General Assembly. Separately, none of us have the money, votes or numbers to make much of a difference. This year, we will hardly matter at all – unless we unite, support each others’ issues and speak with one powerful voice.

The Virginia People’s Assembly can be that voice.

On Saturday, Jan. 10 2009, people from across the state gathered in Richmond. There were representatives from unions, community and student groups, faith-based organizations, the anti-war movement, prisoner rights advocates and more, representing all of Virginia’s regions, races and nationalities. We talked about issues that matter to us … jobs, housing, education, peace and justice for all and developed a People’s Agenda to present to the General Assembly.

How You Can Get Involved:

• Endorse the Call for a Virginia People’s Assembly
• Lobby your General Assembly representatives in person or via email on the issues
• Come to the continuation meetings and bring people with you
• Volunteer to work with a Focus Group

This call for a Virginia People’s Assembly was initiated by the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality and Richmond Jobs with Justice. An Organizing Committee for a VPA has been formed. Dozens of other activists have endorsed the Call. Focus Groups have been formed to reach out to unions, students, the immigrant community, the anti-war movement, prisoner rights activists, environmentalists and more.


Organizing Committee for a Virginia People’s Assembly:

- Breanne Armbrust, Organizer & Labor Leader, Richmond Jobs with Justice

- Lillie (Ms. K) Branch-Kennedy, Founder & Executive Director, Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (R.I.H.D.)

- Bro Duron L. Chavis, Founder, Happily Natural Day / Black Freedom Weekend; Vice President, Prosser-Truth Division #456, UNIA-ACL

- King Salim Khalfani, Executive Director, Virginia State Conference NAACP

- Ana Edwards, Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality

- Allen Layman, President, Virginia Public Service Workers Union / UE Local 160

- Dennis Orton, Organizer, Black Workers for Justice

- John Steinbach, Community Outreach Coordinator, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras (Mexicans Without Borders)

- Sis. Janet B. Taylor, Lady President, Prosser-Truth Division #456, UNIA-ACL /Trustee, Prisoners and Families for Equal Rights and Justice

- Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Richmond Defender
Lillie (Ms. K) Branch-Kennedy (I)(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Lillie (Ms. K) Branch-Kennedy (I)
(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Breanne Armbrust (I)(Richmond Jobs with Justice)
Breanne Armbrust (I)
(Richmond Jobs with Justice)
Breanne Armbrust (II)(Richmond Jobs with Justice)
Breanne Armbrust (II)
(Richmond Jobs with Justice)
Breanne & Ms. K
Breanne & "Ms. K"
Jameel Abed (I)
Jameel Abed (I)
Jameel Abed (II)
Jameel Abed (II)
Jameel Abed (III)
Jameel Abed (III)
Lillie Branch-Kennedy II(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Lillie Branch-Kennedy II
(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Cherie Seise (I)(United Students Against Sweatshops)
Cherie Seise (I)
(United Students Against Sweatshops)
Cherie Seise (II)(United Students Against Sweatshops)
Cherie Seise (II)
(United Students Against Sweatshops)
Saladin Muhammad (I)(Black Workers for Justice)
Saladin Muhammad (I)
(Black Workers for Justice)
Saladin Muhammad (II)(Black Workers for Justice)
Saladin Muhammad (II)
(Black Workers for Justice)
Saladin Muhammad (III)(Black Workers for Justice)
Saladin Muhammad (III)
(Black Workers for Justice)
Breanne Armbrust (III)(Richmond Jobs with Justice)
Breanne Armbrust (III)
(Richmond Jobs with Justice)
VPA participants (I)
VPA participants (I)
VPA participants (II)
VPA participants (II)
Rachel Mehl providing translation
Rachel Mehl providing translation
Sis. Janet Taylor (I)(UNIA-ACL)
Sis. Janet Taylor (I)
(UNIA-ACL)
Sis. Janet Taylor (II)(UNIA-ACL)
Sis. Janet Taylor (II)
(UNIA-ACL)
John Steinbach (I)(Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
John Steinbach (I)
(Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
John Steinbach (II)(Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
John Steinbach (II)
(Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
assembly participants
assembly participants
Rachel Mehl
Rachel Mehl
Ana Edwards (I)(Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project)
Ana Edwards (I)
(Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project)
Breanne Armbrust (at mic) & Ms. K (seated)
Breanne Armbrust (at mic) & Ms. K (seated)
Aaron Samsel(People United)
Aaron Samsel
(People United)
Kenneth Nigren
Kenneth Nigren
Tom Palumbo (I)(Veterans for Peace)
Tom Palumbo (I)
(Veterans for Peace)
Rain Burroughs (CodePink) & Tom Palumbo
Rain Burroughs (CodePink) & Tom Palumbo
Ann Williams & Rev. Gash
Ann Williams & Rev. Gash
Rev.  J. E. Gash(Active Hand Ministry)
Rev. J. E. Gash
(Active Hand Ministry)
Lillie Branch-Kennedy (III)(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Lillie Branch-Kennedy (III)
(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Jumaani Mali
Jumaani Mali
Christie Burwell(Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project)
Christie Burwell
(Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project)
Ricardo Juarez(Coord. Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
Ricardo Juarez
(Coord. Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
Immigrant Rights focus group
Immigrant Rights focus group
Immigrant Rights focus group
Immigrant Rights focus group
Ricardo Juarez & Vreni
Ricardo Juarez & Vreni
Vreni (People United)
Vreni
(People United)
Ricardo Juarez(Coord. Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
Ricardo Juarez
(Coord. Mexicanos Sin Fronteras)
Shafeah M'Balia(Black Workers for Justice)
Shafeah M'Balia
(Black Workers for Justice)
Shafeah M'Balia(Black Workers for Justice)
Shafeah M'Balia
(Black Workers for Justice)
Kenneth Pinkard (I)(VP, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400)
Kenneth Pinkard (I)
(VP, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400)
Allen Layman(Pres. UE Local 160)
Allen Layman
(Pres. UE Local 160)
Allen Layman & Kenneth Pinkard
Allen Layman & Kenneth Pinkard
Kenneth Pinkard (II)(VP, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400)
Kenneth Pinkard (II)
(VP, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400)
Lillie Branch-Kennedy (IV)(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Lillie Branch-Kennedy (IV)
(Exec. Dir. for RIHD)
Dieyah Rashid(Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality)
Dieyah Rashid
(Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality)
Tom Palumbo (II)(Veterans for Peace)
Tom Palumbo (II)
(Veterans for Peace)
Phil Wilayto(Editor,  Richmond Defender)
Phil Wilayto
(Editor, Richmond Defender)
Connie Moss(Virginia Antiwar Network)
Connie Moss
(Virginia Antiwar Network)
Adria Scharf(Exec. Dir. Richmond Peace Education Center)
Adria Scharf
(Exec. Dir. Richmond Peace Education Center)
Callie Jackson-Walker
Callie Jackson-Walker
Ana Edwards (II)(Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project)
Ana Edwards (II)
(Chair, Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project)
Sheri Bailey(Juneteenth Committee)
Sheri Bailey
(Juneteenth Committee)
unanimous approval for the People's Agenda (I)
unanimous approval for the People's Agenda (I)
unanimous approval for the People's Agenda (II)
unanimous approval for the People's Agenda (II)
unanimous approval for the People's Agenda (III)
unanimous approval for the People's Agenda (III)