Category Archives: News

Virginia NAACP Launches Campaign to End Qualified Immunity In Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 11, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT
Da’Quan Love, Executive Director
804-972-3310
press@naacpva.org

Virginia NAACP Launches Campaign to End Qualified Immunity In Virginia

RICHMOND – Today, the Virginia NAACP announced a renewed commitment to finally ending qualified immunity for law enforcement officers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. After investigating multiple officer-involved incidents over the past five months, the Virginia NAACP has had enough and is demanding real change.

“We watched with horror the so-called traffic stop in Windsor,” said Virginia NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr., referring to the now widely-circulated video clip of Caron Nazario, a Black Army second lieutenant who was pulled over in Windsor, Virginia. Despite being in uniform, Nazario immediately had guns drawn towards him by two town police officers.

In the clip, Nazario is frightened, stating that he is “honestly afraid to get out.” The officer then responds: “Yeah, you should be.” President Barnette reacted: “The fact that an officer who is supposed to ‘protect and serve’ felt embolden enough to state this is the root of the problem. This isn’t the first officer we have seen without fear of consequences for their actions.”

The issue of improving interactions between Black Virginians and law enforcement has been at the forefront of the Virginia NAACP’s advocacy and policy agenda this year. Just last week, the Virginia NAACP announced a renewed effort to find ways to ensure justice and transparency in officer-involved shootings.

In the wake of this recent incident, the Virginia NAACP hopes Virginia officials will use this as an opportunity to make real change. “While we applaud the immediate reactions of Virginia’s government officials, we believe that now is the time for Governor Ralph Northam to call a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to pass House Bill 2045 sponsored by Delegate Jeff Bourne to finally end qualified immunity,” said Virginia NAACP Executive Director Da’Quan Marcell Love. He went on to say: “The Virginia NAACP strongly believes that the Commonwealth must end qualified immunity NOW. Black Virginians can’t wait until next January.”

Expressing a renewed sense of urgency, the Virginia NAACP has issued a call to its more than 100 local units to begin fundraising immediately to support this advocacy campaign’s lobbying efforts. A campaign website has been launched at https://ENDQIVA.org to accept individual contributions.  

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.

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VA. NAACP and STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communications
cgomer@oag.state.va.us
AG HERRING AND VIRGINIA NAACP LAUNCH EFFORT TO REFORM
HANDLING OF OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS IN VIRGINIA
Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and the Virginia NAACP are
launching a collaborative effort to identify and help implement reforms
to the way the Commonwealth of Virginia and its law enforcement
agencies handle investigations into officer-involved shooting deaths. The goal of the effort is to ensure the most possible transparency, impartiality, and public confidence in investigations into officer-involved shooting
deaths.
“Investigations into officer-involved shootings should be handled by
independent, unaffiliated agencies in order to avoid conflicts of interest, and to maximize the public’s confidence that justice will be served and
the matter will be handled in the most honest, objective, and transparent way possible,” said Attorney General Herring. “Self-investigation of such a serious matter can understandably lead to doubt or skepticism about
the outcome, which can in turn lead to mistrust and damaged
relationships between agencies and the communities they serve. In
recent years, different states have pursued unique and innovative
strategies for handling these matters, and I intend to engage my
colleagues around the county and the Commonwealth to build a
consensus around a stronger process that promotes transparency,
impartiality, and public trust.”
“I thank President Barnette and the Virginia NAACP for their leadership
on this issue and their unwavering commitment to ensuring justice,
safety, equality, and opportunity for all Virginians.”
Attorney General Herring has worked to promote safe, fair, and just
policing as part of his broader efforts to reform Virginia’s criminal justice system. He launched the OAG’s largest ever training initiative on 21st 
policing skills like implicit bias awareness, de-escalation, and cultural
competency. He has also advocated for higher training standards for
officers, as well as stronger accountability mechanisms to decertify
officers who do not meet the Commonwealth’s standards. He has
advocated for independent investigations of officer-involved shootings as a standard practice, and worked with legislators to secure authority for
the Attorney General to conduct “pattern or practice” investigations that can identify and stop illegal or unconstitutional policing, making Virginia one of the few states to enact this important accountability measure.# # #


VA NAACP MEETING WITH STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 7, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT
Da’Quan Love, Executive Director
804-972-3310
press@naacpva.org

Virginia NAACP Statement Following Meeting with Virginia Attorney General

RICHMOND – Today the Virginia NAACP announced a collaborative effort between the Virginia Attorney General and the Virginia State Conference NAACP to craft policy solutions that will address the Commonwealth’s response to shooting deaths involving police officers. This effort resulted from a meeting held Monday with Virginia NAACP leaders, Attorney General Mark Herring, and his staff.

“The Virginia NAACP urged the Attorney General to take a holistic approach to identify tangible solutions that address this growing problem here in the Commonwealth,” said Robert. N. Barnette, Jr., President of the Virginia NAACP. “Virginia must have a well-defined policy that ensures impartial investigation, transparency of facts, and reassures Virginians that justice will be served in fatal cases involving law enforcement officers.”

As a civil rights advocacy organization, the Virginia NAACP plans to remain focused on identifying long-term policy measures that its more than 100 branches can advocate for on the local and state government levels. In working with the Attorney General’s office, the Virginia NAACP hopes to bring state agencies and community leaders together to bring meaningful policy recommendations that lead to systemic change.

The meeting was convened at the request of the Virginia NAACP following the tragic shooting death of Xzavier Hill by a Virginia State Police officer. At the urging of the Virginia NAACP, Attorney General Herring committed to continue reviewing the authority his office has to investigate the matter. President Barnette indicated that the Virginia NAACP was continuing its own investigation saying, “We look forward to subsequent meetings with the Attorney General in the coming weeks.”

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 VSCNAACP.org.

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VA. NAACP URGES STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO GRANT DEADLINE EXTENSIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 2, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT
Da’Quan Love, Executive Director
804-972-3310
press@naacpva.org

Virginia NAACP Urges State Board Of Elections To Grant Deadline Extensions

RICHMOND – Virginia NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. issued the following statement regarding the recent inaction of the State Board of Elections:

“The Virginia NAACP is growing concerned with the appearance of disparate treatment of candidates of color by the State Board of Elections with regards to the extension of deadlines. The fact that the recently disqualified candidates were of color who sought to challenge incumbent legislators adds to our concerns. 

The Virginia NAACP calls upon the State Board of Elections to grant deadline extensions in the same manner it has consistently done in the past. Finally, the Virginia NAACP calls upon the State Board of Elections to immediately release the demographic data of candidates who they have granted or not granted deadline extensions in the past five years.” 

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 VSCNAACP.org.

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RULING ON CHARLOTTESVILLE STATUES!

Charlottesville Wins Favorable Ruling from Virginia Supreme Court on Statues

Charlottesville Opens in new window

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2021

Charlottesville City Council remains committed to resolutions adopted in 2017 announcing its intent for the statues to be removed and looks forward to working with the City Manager to accomplish that goal


CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – This morning, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Charlottesville, and delivered an opinion upholding the legality of City Council’s 2017 resolutions announcing its intention to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from City parks. In the case of Payne v. Charlottesville, the Court unanimously found that the Charlottesville Circuit Court erred by prohibiting the disturbance of the statues and in ordering the City to pay the plaintiffs attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $365,680.60.

“This is an important case for the Charlottesville community and the rest of the Commonwealth,” said Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles. “The City was very fortunate to have Acting City Attorney Lisa Robertson representing the interests of our community. She has labored extensively over the past four years and I am thrilled she has won all of us this victory in the highest court in Virginia.”

Lisa Robertson presented the City’s legal arguments to the Virginia Supreme Court on November 6, 2020.

“The team in the City Attorney’s office did an amazing job; this court decision will positively impact so many lives,” said Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker. “I want to express gratitude to Zyahna Bryant, Dr. Wes Bellamy, and Kristin Szakos for igniting the sparks that started this local mini-revolution. We are forever indebted to the community for their steadfastness and perseverance over the past five years. For all of us, who were on the right side of history, Bravo!”

In 2017, Charlottesville City Council adopted multiple resolutions announcing its intent for the statues to be removed from the City’s downtown parks, and asking the City Manager’s office to present options for how removal could be accomplished. City Council remains committed to the intentions stated in those resolutions and looks forward to working with the City Manager to accomplish its goals.

“I and my administration will work diligently to plan the next steps, in coordination with City Council,” added Boyles. “We also look forward to engaging our community in the redesign of these park spaces in a way that promotes healing and that tells a more complete history of Charlottesville.”

Media Contact
Brian Wheeler
Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville
434-970-3129
wheelerb@charlottesville.govVirginia Supreme Court Opinion

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STATEMENT BY VIRGINIA BEACH NAACP PRESIDENT


Virginia Beach NAACP

PO BOX 61114

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23462

 Email: vbnaacp@gmail.com

 March 28, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

The Virginia Beach Branch NAACP is distressed regarding the recent shootings on March 26, 2021. We are faced with unanswered questions and the lost lives of Mr. Donovan W. Lynch and Ms. Deshayla E. Harris. After watching the press conference by Chief Paul Neudigate, we are not surprised of the revelation that the body camera of the officer involved in the death of Mr. Lynch was not activated. Disciplinary actions surrounding an officer misconduct should not be withheld from the public under the pretext. “It’s a personnel issue.” This has been the case in the past. Transparency of police disciplinary is required now. The City embarked on the Body-Worn Camera Project of 450 body worn cameras and 250 in-car dash cameras to be distributed to officers as a tool to gather evidence, provide information about police interactions, increase accountability, and strengthen the relationships with the community. In this incident, the department has failed on all accounts. The $5.5M implementation investment on body-worn cameras is worthless when officers do not turn the camera on for recording. Mr. Lynch is not here to tell his side! The officer involved has no reason to be forthcoming about any facts that places him in an adverse light. The Virginia Beach Branch NAACP continues to call for a Citizen Review Board with full investigative and subpoena powers. We are seeking: (1) the Use of Force Continuum with at least 6 steps with clear levels of escalation, (2) the ability to review officer misconduct information and disciplinary histories (via Open Records Act), (3) the ability to review the police department’s records of disciplining or charging officers with misconduct, and (4) and finally, a statewide review board for police officers who use deadly force-tied to officer recertification credentials. We are watching and listening for the department’s inquiry into this shooting and expect a thorough and expeditious report. The community is waiting! We will not stand by silently while an African American citizen has been shot down in this ‘Resort City’!

Regards,

Dr. Karen Hills Pruden, President

VA. NAACP MEETS WITH PRESIDENT OF BLUEFIELD COLLEGE

March 19, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT
Da’Quan Love, Executive Director
press@naacpva.org

Virginia NAACP Issues Statement After Meeting With Dr. David Olive, President of Bluefield College 

BLUEFIELD, VA – The Virginia NAACP released the following statement after Da’Quan Marcell Love, Executive Director of the Virginia State Conference NAACP met with Dr. David Olive, President of Bluefield College yesterday:

“We are encouraged by our meeting with Bluefield College President Dr. David Olive,” said Da’Quan Marcell Love, Executive Director of the Virginia NAACP. “As part of our campus visit yesterday, we engaged in a productive conversation with Dr. Olive, and met separately with student-athletes. Our investigation into the numerous complaints of discrimination and heightened racial tensions on and off campus will continue, and we expect to release an additional statement in the coming weeks.” 

Yesterday’s meeting was part of the Virginia NAACP’s ongoing investigation prompted after receiving complaints of discrimination from students, faculty, and alumni of Bluefield College.

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 VSCNAACP.org.

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Virginia NAACP Reacts To Governor Ralph Northam’s Updated Eligibility Criteria For Restoration of Voting Rights

RICHMOND – Following Governor Ralph Northam’s restoration of voting rights for more than 69,000 Virginians, Virginia State Conference NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. said: “While the Virginia NAACP is encouraged that the governor has restored the rights of over 69,000 Virginians, many of whom are Black and Brown, we remain steadfast in our campaign to secure and protect voting rights for all.”

Referencing Senator Mamie Locke’s bill SJ272 which would amend Virginia’s Constitution to include an explicitly-protected right to vote, President Barnette went on to say “Virginia must remove the racist, Jim Crow laws which are at the root of the problem that needs to be addressed.”

Further, President Barnette challenged the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial candidates, saying “Every candidate for Governor of Virginia should publicly state their position on passing Senator Locke’s Constitutional Amendment and voting rights so that Black and Brown voters can make informed decisions this election cycle.”

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 VSCNAACP.org.

Twitter: @NAACPVirginia Facebook: NAACPVirginia Instagram: @NAACP.Virginia

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COVID-19 UPDATE


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Campaign to Get COVID-19 Vaccines Out in Communities of Color

Over 1,200 black and brown people have been vaccinated so far due to this campaign spearheaded by the African American Pastors’ Council.  Thank you for your help.
Let’s keep it going…Join the Community Campaign to Get COVID-19 Vaccines Out in Communities of Color

  1.  See the attached flyers and complete an interest form for yourself and/or someone you know, especially an older person or someone who does not have access to a computer.
  2. Sign-up to volunteer to make phone calls or work on the day of vaccine events.  Email Seirra Winn: smwinn@sentara.com or call 434-984-6220 and leave a message.
  • COVID VACCINE INTEREST FORM

First, Middle, Last Name: ______________________________

Birth Date: ________________________

Address (Not PO Box): __________________________________________

City: _________________ Zip Code: ___________

Gender: ___ Male ___ Female ___ Other: ____________

Race (Check all that apply):

___American Indian/Alaskan Native       ___ Asian         ___ Black or African American

___Hawaiian Native or Other Pacific Islander           ___ White         ___ Other

Are you Hispanic/Latino? ___ Yes       ___ No

Home Phone: __________________    Cell Phone: ___________________

Email address: __________________

What phase are you in?

___ Phase 1A: Frontline Healthcare Workers

___ Phase 1B: Employees of Essential Workers

___ Phase 1B: Individuals Age 65+

___ Phase 1B: Individuals Ages 16-64 with High Risk Medical Conditions

I consent to receive vaccination information or reminders by (Check all that apply):

___ Text Message           ___ Email

Return forms to your church/community organization contact person

Or to:

Sentara Starr Hill Health Center

At the Jefferson School City Center

233 4th Street NW, Second Floor Room 255A

Charlottesville, Virginia 22903

By email to:  Setour Dillard, RN, Integrated Care Manager, sadillar@sentara.com

Virginia NAACP Encouraged By Passage of Expungement Reforms While Disappointed With Remaining Systemic Barriers for Black Virginians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT
Da’Quan Love, Executive Director
press@naacpva.org

Virginia NAACP Encouraged By Passage of Expungement Reforms While Disappointed With Remaining Systemic Barriers for Black Virginians

RICHMOND – Virginia State Conference NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. issued the following statement following the passage of House Bill 2113 and Senate Bill 1339:

“The Virginia NAACP is encouraged by the passage of expungement reforms passed by the Virginia General Assembly that now head to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk for his signature. 

While we celebrate today’s milestone of progress, the Virginia NAACP remains firm in its position that there should be no additional barriers to obtaining automatic expungement once an individual qualifies: no court fees, no petitions, no attorney fees, no hearings.

Until Virginia removes the systemic barriers that will continue to disproportionately impact Black Virginians following this law’s enactment, the Virginia NAACP will not rest or be silent.”

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 VSCNAACP.org.

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