The Fredericksburg Chapter of Virginia Organizing has been active since 2009 and has won several local victories.
Early on, the chapter organized with residents of a local neighborhood to get railroad cars carrying hazardous material parked outside of residential areas.
The chapter also won a campaign to get people of color included in the mural in the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors meeting room to more accurately represent the population of the county.
In the fall of 2016, the Fredericksburg Chapter wrapped up a campaign on the school-to-prison pipeline. We changed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Spotsylvania School Board and the Sheriff’s Department to outline more specific responsibilities of school resource officers in order to ensure accountability in their treatment of students of color. This MOU became a model for the Commonwealth’s Department of Education.
Next, the chapter worked to push for solutions to the housing shortage in our area by calling for a Housing Trust Fund.
The chapter also has a history of working on statewide issues. Over the years we have held a funeral march for Medicaid expansion, met with Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell, and even delivered a wreath to Speaker Howell’s office in order to push him towards Medicaid expansion for all Virginians.
In February 2017, the chapter held a 70-person march and rally in downtown Fredericksburg where community leaders spoke about the importance of the Affordable Care Act for their city and marched to urge Congressman Rob Wittman not to repeal it. Leaders rose up to show that government sponsored health care has had a positive impact on our communities and has provided coverage for many who otherwise couldn’t afford a health insurance plan.
The chapter also has a strong history of working on immigration. Latino community leaders worked with other chapters across the state to pressure the Attorney General to issue a statement discouraging local police departments from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. In the early months of 2017, the chapter partnered with other Latino community organizations to hold Know Your Rights workshops for undocumented immigrants who fear potential deportation. These workshops gave information on their rights and self protective ways to interact with police or ICE agents.