Virginians Gather for Broken Hearts Day at the Capitol
Virginia Organizing Calls on General Assembly to Put Partisanship and Ideology Aside to Work Towards Real Solutions
RICHMOND—On Valentine’s Day, 100 Virginia Organizing supporters from Abingdon to Arlington made their way to the Capitol to express their disappointment with the General Assembly’s emphasis on partisanship and ideology instead of kitchen table issues like the economy and education.
“Virginians voted for legislators who promised to work on jobs and the economy and instead have focused on far-flung legislation like restricting voting rights, lifting the one gun per month limit, restricting gay adoptions and drug testing public assistance recipients,” said Sandra Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing.
Wearing stickers that said, “The Virginia General Assembly Broke My Heart,” participants distributed empty heart-shaped boxes of candy to all 140 legislators. Inside, in lieu if candy, was a note saying, “Disappointed? So are we! We want a General Assembly that works for All Virginians.” The candy boxes were distributed with aletterand factsheet explaining the specific policies of concern.
“I’m disappointed that instead of working on jobs, the legislature is working hard to restrict voting rights. I grew up in a Virginia in which all of my relatives paid a poll tax each year to vote. I see voter ID bills as another tax, only this time the expense is incurred by all poor and vulnerable citizens – white, black and brown. It’s a travesty that our elected representatives are engaged in voter suppression instead of job creation,” said Janice “Jay” Johnson, board member of Virginia Organizing.
The group then marched to the Bell Tower for a rally bearing broken heart signs that emphasize the dichotomy between what Virginians want from the General Assembly and what they are receiving. One sign highlighted the controversial personhood bill being considered by the House of Delegates as the rally went on, “We wanted: jobs for people, We got: personhood.”
With chants like “Turn Around, Better Run, The General Assembly’s Packin’ Guns” and a rendition of the Supreme’s classic “Stop in the Name of Love,” the Broken Hearts Day proved an unusual and light-hearted critique of a deeply controversial legislative session.
“Rather than focusing on working for Virginia families that are concerned with jobs and the economy, conservatives have focused on initiatives that hurt more than help. As long as the Virginia General Assembly has priorities that are out-of-whack, we will continue to remind them that they work for everyone,” added Johnson.
Virginia Organizing is a statewide non-partisan grassroots organization that brings people together to create a more just Virginia.