I joined the Portsmouth Chapter of Virginia Organizing two years ago because a friend of mine told me I could get help for my son there. He was suspended and threatened with expulsion from high school after a group of boys attacked him in the cafeteria. The school administration was trying to ruin his life for something that was not his fault.
I found out that was a typical example of the school-to-prison pipeline.
I got the help I needed, and my son attended his Junior Prom and is graduating early. But I didn’t stop participating in my chapter just because I got what I wanted. I went on to help get the Portsmouth School Board to revise its student code of conduct to help other children.
Virginia Organizing also worked for years for health care for all. I’m signing up for the new health care coverage we all worked so hard to win. I haven’t been able to see a doctor since my son was born 17 years ago! It’s a relief knowing that he’ll be able to get health care coverage when he turns 19, too.
I also want to work on environmental justice issues and know it’s important to fight climate change. Because I live in Portsmouth, I’ve had flooding in my yard for years, and other problems I’ve had to go to City Council to try to solve. We need to make sure our elected officials respect our rights.
Virginia Organizing works on all of these issues, but for me it’s a very personal thing. If it wasn’t for the connections I made in my chapter, I wouldn’t have known how to fight for my son and all of the students involved in similar injustices. There’s a lot I want to see change in my community!
I hope you will join me in continuing to support this organization that makes real change for real people.