All resolutions posted here were passed by the 2014 Virginia Peoples Assembly on January 4, 2014. Please share and encourage support for these calls to action, support and endorsement.


1 - Action Plan for the 2014 VPA

Proposed by the 2014 VPA Organizing committee

     Whereas: The Virginia General Assembly will hold its 2014 session beginning on Wednesday, Jan. 8;

     Whereas: The 2013 and previous General Assemblies enacted a series of reactionary new laws, including those restricting voting rights, women's reproductive rights and those increasing the already unjust nature of Virginia's criminal justice system; and

     Whereas: the 2014 General Assembly will once again consider passing a budget that grossly underfunds schools, health services and wages and benefits for public workers, while taxing working people at a higher rate than the wealthy and corporations; and

     Whereas: The essentially undemocratic nature of the General Assembly with its biased districting system severely restricts the ability of poor and working people and communities of color to have their economic, social and political concerns addressed in a meaningful way; and 

     Whereas: No significant positive political change has ever occurred in this country without the mass mobilization of the people; and

     Whereas: The Virginia People's Assembly is a body that strives to more democratically represent Virginia's poor and working people, communities of color, women, unions, members of the LGBTQ community, antiwar activists, students and youth, the elderly, people with disabilities and other neglected;

Therefore, be it resolved that: The Virginia People's Assembly, meeting at its sixth annual conference this day in Richmond, Virginia, does hereby call on all our members, friends, allies and supporters to gather at Capitol Square in Richmond at 11 am on Wednesday, Jan. 8, and raise our concerns in a visible and 

Be it further resolved that: The Virginia People's Assembly does hereby call on all our members, friends, allies and supporters to attend GA committee hearings examining bills that have been endorsed at this year's conference and promote the passage of these bills in the most vigorous way possible; and

Be it further resolved that: The Virginia People's Assembly pledges to continue to work for our declared goals of Jobs, Peace and Justice throughout the coming year, both inside and outside the legislative process, with an emphasis on building the mass struggle through education, organizing and struggle.

This 4th day of January, 2014, at the final Plenary Session of the Virginia People's Assembly.


2 - Resolution to support an Alternative Vision Plan and Sacred Ground Memorial Park in Shockoe Bottom 

Whereas, Shockoe Bottom’s Black history, while poorly documented, is at least as significant to the history of the United States as many other places that have received substantial public and private support for their proper memorialization,

Whereas, by collectively examining many ideas we can begin the process of reclaiming and properly memorializing this land, made sacred by the suffering and resistance of the people whose lives were sold to produce the tremendous profits that were the foundation for building the United States of America;

And whereas, the Black and African-descended community and their friends and allies have the will and the means to defend now what could not be defended before,

Be it resolved that we hereby declare
  • Our unequivocal opposition to the construction of a sports stadium in Shockoe Bottom;
  • Our right to the increase of knowledge - including but not limited to historical and archaeological research - that must inform all development and construction going forward in Shockoe Bottom;
  • That no one person or organization has the right to decide what should be done with these memorial sites in Shockoe Bottom and that Richmond's Black, African-descended community has the first right to determine how this Sacred Ground will be utilized, respected and memorialized, including through continued scholarly and community educational work;
  • That a defined Sacred Ground Memorial District, known by that or another name to be decided as a result of a real community discussion, will be developed as a site to explore, explain and properly memorialize Shockoe Bottom's massive history as the second-largest slave-trading district in the United States.
  • And that a diverse community-based committee should be established for its governance and oversight.

Presented by the Sacred Ground Historical Reclamation Project of the Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality, Endorsed and Passed by the Black Communities Issues Workshop, 4 January 2014


3 - Resolution in Support of HB 32 to Establish an $8.50 Minimum Wage in Virginia

Whereas: In Virginia, 123,000 workers – 6.8 percent of all hourly workers in the Commonwealth – are paid the federally mandated minimum wage of just $7.25 per hour; and

Whereas: Only five other states – Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas – have a greater percentage of their citizens earning at or below the minimum wage, making Virginia 45th out of the 50 states in this category; and

Whereas: The majority of low-wage workers are women, young, African-American or Latino and single earners who work not for pocket change but to be able to pay for the basic necessities of life; and

Whereas: Despite being one of this country's richest states, Virginia does not have its own minimum wage but instead follows the federal minimum; and

Whereas: Nineteen other states plus the District of Columbia have a higher minimum wage than Virginia; and

Whereas: Workers earning the minimum wage in Virginia are forced to rely on government-sponsored programs in order to survive, which basically means the government is forcing taxpayers to subsidize the employers who refuse to pay their workers a living wage; and

Whereas: According to the Living Wage Calculator developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an hourly living wage today in Richmond, Virginia, would be $10.39 for a single worker, $20.23 for a worker with one child and $25.23 for a worker with two children; and

Whereas: We are inspired by the emerging national movement among fast-food and other low-paid workers demanding the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour;

Therefore be it resolved that: The 2014 Virginia People's Assembly endorses House Bill 32, being introduced in the 2014 Virginia General Assembly by Delegate Joe Morrissey, which would establish a minimum wage in Virginia of $8.50 an hour, to take effect July 1, 2014; and

Be it further resolved that: The Virginia People's Assembly calls on all its members, friends, allies and supporters to attend General Assembly hearings on this bill and speak out in support of its passage.

Endorsed and Introduced by the Labor: Organizing the Unorganized Workshop


4 - Resolution to End U.S. Wars & Redirect Military Spending

Whereas: The United States is now in what amounts to a permanent state of global war; and

Whereas: This war is not being fought in defense of the people of the United States but rather in order to establish U.S. domination in the world with the goal of maximizing the profits of U.S. corporations and financial institutions; and

Whereas: These wards in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and other areas have resulted in great suffering to millions of people; and

Whereas: We recognize that our enemies are not the poor and working people of other countries, especially those countries presently or formerly oppressed, colonized and exploited by Western powers; and

Whereas: The U.S. military budget has doubled in the last 12 years, resulting in massive and increasing cutbacks in vitally needed social programs here at home; and 

Whereas: According to the National Priorities Project, as of Jan. 4, 2014, the cost of U.S. wars since 2001 have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $1.5 trillion, or an average of #11,26 million every hour; and

Whereas: Standard military spending on preparations for wars is approximately ten times as high as war spending; and

Whereas: The cost of these wars to Virginia taxpayers has been $45.5 billion; and 

Whereas: In 2014 Virginia taxpayers will pay $15.24 billion in federal taxes for the military; and

Whereas: If spent here at home, these Virginia tax dollars could provide health care coverage for 1 million low income Virginians, pay for 100,000 elementary school teachers, provide VA medical care for 100,000 military veterans and provide university scholarships for 100,000 students and still have a half-billion dollars left to address environmental concerns; 

Therefore, the Virginia Peoples Assembly calls on the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama to end all U.S. wars overseas and redirect the money that funds those wars to meet human needs here at home as well as provide reparations to the societies those wars have damaged in other countries.


5 - The Democracy Restoration Act

     Whereas, the right to vote is the fundamental right in any Democracy and the chief obligation of citizenship; and

     Whereas, the sacrifices people endured in pursuit of these rights have included the loss of life, liberty, and their ability to pursue happiness; and

     Whereas, the Commonwealths of Virginia and Kentucky and the states of Florida and Iowa are the only four states in the nation in which people with past felony convictions (returning citizens) are disenfranchised for life unless their rights are restored through gubernatorial intervention; and

     Whereas, over 300,000 people with past felony convictions are currently disenfranchised in Virginia; and

     Whereas, felon disenfranchisement is a relic of the Jim Crow era, enforced along with the poll tax and literacy tests explicitly to disenfranchise African-American males and African-American females are the largest growing felon population, one in five of whom cannot vote today in Virginia due to this injustice; and

     Whereas, allowing people to vote after release from prison encourages participation in civic life and instills a sense of community that motivates law-abiding behavior; and

     Whereas, under the Constitution of Virginia and Virginia Law there are no clear standards or process by
which the Governor may choose to restore rights; and

     Whereas, the Voter Empowerment Act (S. 123 and H.R. 12) co-sponsored by Virginia Representatives Gerry Connolly, James P. Moran and Robert Scott (among others), is pending action in the U.S. Congress that would restore the right to vote in Federal elections to all returning citizens upon release from prison, and would affect about 5 million people nationally,

Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) urges Governor-Elect McAuliffe to
issue a blanket restoration of voting rights to all returning citizens who have completed their prison terms; and

Therefore, Be It Further Resolved that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) urges the passage of a Virginia constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to all returning citizens who have completed their prison terms; and

Therefore, Be It Further Resolved that the Virginia People’s Assembly urges all members of the Virginia delegation to the U.S. Congress to co-sponsor and vote for the Voter Empowerment Act and the
Democracy Restoration Act to restore the right to vote in Federal elections for all returning citizens upon release from prison.

Submitted by: Progressive Vote (Progressive Democrats of America)


6 - Voting Rights (Alice Paul and Fannie Lou Hamer Resolution)

     Whereas, the 15th Amendment guarantees citizens the right to vote regardless of race, color or previous condition of servitude and the 19th Amendment guarantees all American women the right to vote, which cannot be denied or abridged; and

Whereas, American women have historically experienced denial of their voting rights because of their sex, race and/or national origin; and

     Whereas, the right to vote for women, senior and people of color will be disproportionately denied and abridged due to name changes throughout their life cycle, barriers to proving or verifying identification, decreased access to polling places due to age or disability and increased restrictions placed upon absentee ballots, weekend and early voting

     Whereas, the sacrifices people endured in pursuit of these rights have included the loss of life, liberty, and their ability to pursue happiness; and

     Whereas, the U.S. Supreme Court has many powers, but not the right to rescind the inviolable protections of any Constitutional Amendment; and

     Whereas, more than 20 states have introduced legislation intended to limit, deny and abridge voting rights;

Therefore, Be It Resolved that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting the right to vote to every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides and that Congress shall have the power to implement this article by appropriate legislation and

Therefore, Be It Further Resolved that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) calls on Congress to uphold the 15th and 19th Amendments by remedying the recent Supreme Court decision, Shelby County v. Holder which strikes down Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act; and

Therefore, Be It Finally Resolved that the Virginia People’s Assembly will continue to create awareness in the media about the significant impact on women, seniors and people of color who are disproportionately  affected and will work in coalition in Virginia with organizations working to push back against this denial of rights for women, seniors and people of color.

Submitted by: Progressive Vote (Progressive Democrats of America)
Women Matter Use Your Power


7 - Vigorously Support Three-State Strategy for Ratifying the ERA 

     WHEREAS, it has been 91 years since Alice Paul authored the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which simply states, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”; and

     WHEREAS, Justice Antonin Scalia has plainly stated that the 14th amendment does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has plainly stated the US Constitution does not contain a clause which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex; and

     WHEREAS, since 1972, when it was passed by Congress, the ERA is urgently needed now more than ever to combat continued efforts to roll back gains in women’s economic rights. In 1972 when the Equal Rights Amendment was first passed women earned .76 cents to a man’s dollar. Today 40% of wage disparity is due directly to gender discrimination; and

     WHEREAS, single women and their children live in poverty. According to the National Poverty Center, “Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic.”

     WHEREAS, 35 states ratified the ERA and legal opinions support the conclusion stated in the 2012 Congressional Research Study that just three more states are needed as “the Constitution imposes no time limit for ratification of amendments, and passage of the Madison Amendment 203 years after it was first proposed supports the determination that Congress can choose any time frame for deciding amendments;” and

     WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia has ratified the ERA in the Virginia Constitution; and

     WHEREAS, the political climate has deteriorated since 1972, with more state legislatures controlled by legislators less sympathetic to women, thereby making it less likely for the ERA to be expeditiously ratified if the three-state strategy is not successful; and

     WHEREAS, there are bills in Congress to remove the deadline on the 1972 ERA in support of the three-state strategy (SJ Res 15 – 34 cosponsors and HJ Res 43 – 104 cosponsors); and

     WHEREAS, women have been able to sway national elections with their clout and should expect to see tangible results for the advancement of women’s rights from politicians who have benefited from that support; and

     WHEREAS, without the ERA gains made for and by women remain vulnerable, politically negotiable and constantly at risk;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) place its full support behind the three-state strategy as the preferred ERA strategy to ensure expeditious ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment supporting call-in days, petitions and other means to educate the public regarding women’s unfinished business with the US Constitution; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) vigorously pursue grassroots, political, and media strategies, in support of the three-state strategy to achieve Constitutional economic equality regardless of sex by supporting efforts to ratify the ERA both in Virginia and on the Federal level.

Submitted by: Progressive Vote (Progressive Democrats of America)
Women Matter Use Your Power


8 - Support for H.R. 1000, the Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act

     WHEREAS, there is an ongoing jobs crisis in which mass unemployment continues to take its toll. At any given time during the Great Recession and its aftermath in the United States about 25 million people are officially unemployed or underemployed. Another 16-18 million full-time workers earn less than the poverty level, leaving 44 million people and their families casualties of the jobs crisis. As of November 2013 Virginia had an “official” unemployment rate of 5.4% with 227,935 unemployed workers. The real level of unemployment is over twice as high. People who want jobs but are not looking are not counted in official statistics nor are people working part-time because they can't find a full-time job; and

     WHEREAS, large banks and other Wall Street firms in conjunction with major corporations engaging in outsourcing and non-productive speculative practices, created an economic crisis from which our country still has not recovered, causing unemployment, foreclosures and homelessness, stagnate or declining wages, increasing income inequality, hunger and insecurity in many families, bankruptcies, a decline in health care access, cuts in badly needed public services and quality education for our children; and

     WHEREAS, most of the recovery that has taken place since the collapse of the economy thus far has benefited the top 1%, not the 99%; and

     WHEREAS, even before the Great Recession, millions were unemployed, underemployed and underpaid; and

     WHEREAS, America’s roads need repair, our bridges are corroding, our children need more teachers, parents lack affordable childcare, seniors lack elder care, millions lack adequate healthcare, affordable housing is under siege, and we must modernize and green our society; and

     WHEREAS, all of these needs can and should be met by the federal government; and

     WHEREAS, this was done during the Great Depression of the 1930s when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs put millions of the unemployed to work doing useful jobs that have made a lasting contribution to our nation- roads, bridges, schools, libraries, housing, parks, arts, culture and much more; and

     WHEREAS, the full employment movement and all its affiliates and supporters need to support the passage of legislation that guarantees a living-wage job to all whom want one. A step in that direction is Rep. John Conyers (D- MI), H.R. 1000, the Humphrey Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act. It would create a national jobs program, including 3.1 to 6.2 million jobs, and 1 to 2 million additional jobs indirectly over the first two years, in affordable housing, rural and urban community rehabilitation, energy conservation and weatherization, infrastructure repair, education, human services, and first response teams; and

     WHEREAS, privatization, deregulation and outsourcing are tools for union busting and a major source of job loss; and

     WHEREAS, Federal legislation is needed to create jobs and we need to organize and demand for it now.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) urges all members of the Virginia delegation to the U.S. Congress to co-sponsor and vote for the Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act; and

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) urge all its affiliates and friends to endorse, lobby and mobilize for the passage of the Humphrey Hawkins Full Employment and Training Act; and

THEREFORE BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) and all its affiliates mobilize against all schemes that embrace the privatization, deregulation and outsourcing of jobs and in support of legislation that would employ millions of jobless workers here in the United States at decent pay and for the improvement of the quality of life through repair ad expansion of our physical and social infrastructure.

Submitted by: Progressive Vote (Progressive Democrats of America)


9 - Let Teachers Teach

     We call on the Virginia General Assembly to reexamine Virginia public school assessments and the system of accountability for which they form the basis, and to improve the current accountability system so that it encompasses balanced assessments, increases local instructional flexibility, allows for expedited test retakes, and more accurately reflects what students know, appreciate and can do in terms of the rigorous standards essential to their success, enhances the role of teachers as designers, guides to instruction and leaders, and nurtures the sense of inquiry and love of learning in all students.

Submitted by Freeda Cathcart, candidate for Roanoke City Council and Co-Founder of Let Teachers Teach. For more information contact Friends of Freeda Cathcart, PO Box 2089, Roanoke, VA 24015, Freeda@gmail.com.


10 - Working Peoples Resolutions

1) Be it resolved that we, the Virginia Peoples Assembly, support the struggles of all working people in the "commonwealth" of Virginia, recognizing that in our State wealth is not common. We will lock arms with our Brothers and Sisters regardless of color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, mother country and class to call for an end to wage theft and the exploitation that exists at the hands of employers in our communities. We will be a part of the fight for livable wages, justice at work, the right organize a union, and against retaliation and discrimination. "An Injury To One Is An Injury To All"!

2) Be it resolved that we, the Virginia Peoples Assembly, support the elimination of "Right To Work" from the State Code of Virginia. We find that the law has little to do with the rights of workers. By its mere existence in our State it has kept Virginia workers in poverty wages and retirement out of our reach. Furthermore, we will fight any attempt to add "Right to Work" to the Constitution of the State of Virginia.

3) Be it resolved that we, the Virginia Peoples Assembly, support the elimination of the ban on collective bargaining for public sector workers down to the city and county level in Virginia. Virginia and our Sister-State-In-The-Struggle, North Carolina, are the only two states that have outlawed bargaining this far down through the government system. Since its roots are based in Jim Crow Segregation laws and since we are most certainly opposed to slaver and segregation, we do not support a law that further burdens workers of any industry.


11 - Reproductive Rights

Be it resolved that we, the Virginia Peoples Assembly, support a person's right to make reproductive health choices. As such, we will not stand by and allow any person's ability to exercise that right to be limited or completely eliminated by legislation through the Federal, State or Local government.


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