The Portsmouth Chapter began in January 2016 and is one of the largest chapters of Virginia Organizing. Their first campaign was to reduce suspensions as a way of stopping the school-to-prison pipeline. Suspensions in Portsmouth Public Schools have since been cut in half. The school board voted to make the changes permanent through the Code of Conduct.
The Portsmouth Chapter has been busy at work for a few years on mental health. We implemented mindfulness in Portsmouth Public Schools. We got a few people on the Citizen Advisory Board at Maryview Hospital. We got City Council to publicize the 988 number and to put more money toward Marcus Alert and Portsmouth Behavioral Health.
In the meantime, every month Portsmouth writes Letters to the Editor. We talk to our elected officials on the local and statewide levels. We participate in really powerful Virginia Organizing statewide events such as the annual Power Analysis and Grassroots Gathering. We keep up our communication skills with leadership trainings such as a one to one workshop or a letter writing workshop. We help with fundraising and we have fun!