Virginia Chapter
National Organization for Women

Join Us    Donate to VA NOW     Donate to PAC     Sign up for Email

News

Thursday, August 13th is Black Women’s Equal Pay DayThat means Black women had to work all of 2019 and until this day in 2020 to catch up to what white, non-Hispanic men earned in 2019 alone. Black women earn 62 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Or we can look at it another way: it takes 1 year plus an additional 226 days for Black women to get equal pay.
 
As allies for racial justice, our immediate challenge is to spread awareness of this injustice. Join NOW and our allies in the campaign to raise awareness of the pay gap and its negative effect on Black women and families. We invite you to the Facebook live discussion at 10 am Thursday on race and economic theft with national experts and advocates. 
 
You may also want to take part in a twitter storm Thursday, from 2 to 3 pm. See the toolkit with tweets and other media.
 
The statistics show the deep reach of institutional racism as it affects the ability to earn a living. On average, Black women are paid 38% less than white men. Lower earnings for Black women means less money for their families, especially since more than 80% of Black mothers are the main breadwinners for their households. When they’re paid less, it impacts their ability to buy groceries, pay for childcare, afford rent and tuition … all the costs that go into supporting a family.
 
Black women are subject to biases for being women and biases for being people of color. We see this double discrimination in the pay gap. Not only are Black women on average paid 38% less than white men, they are paid 21% less than white women.
 
Too many people don’t know that Black women are paid less. More than 30 percent of Americans are not aware that, on average, Black women are paid less than white men. And 50% of Americans—as well as 45% of hiring managers—think Black women and white women are paid equally.
 
People are overly optimistic about the state of Black women. About half of white men think obstacles to advancement for Black women are gone, but only 14% of Black women agree. 
 
Moreover, nearly 70% of people who are not Black think that racism, sexism or both are uncommon in their company—yet 64% of Black women say they’ve experienced discrimination at work. 
 
Any way you look at it, there’s a pay gap for Black women. Even when you control for factors like education, experience, location, and occupation, the pay gap still exists. And the gap actually widens for Black women with more education.
 
The pay gap that Black women face amounts to almost $870,000 lost over the course of a typical career. Each woman’s extra annual earnings would pay for: 
• Three years worth of groceries 
• Twenty-two months worth of rent 
• Two and a half years of child care
• Or the full cost of tuition and fees for a two-year community college.
 
As allies for racial justice, our immediate challenge is to spread awareness of this injustice.
Thanks to everyone who helps in raising awareness.

Meeting Recording: You can listen to and see the meeting by clicking on this link and inserting the password

undefined://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/uN5YFZP1-kdIbJXytUXAcZc4FZz5eaa813cX_aFbmRwPj4RspuhXTjcAAu42BSW3&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNGdY-DWSPEhV2xgeBoBPq7_vPAfaw">undefined  
Password: 5l.382#e

Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
“New Era of Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing” 
undefined://civilrights.org/wp-content/uploads/Policing_Full_Report.pdf&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNGzKOpXUEvdbd3Qdw1cJCsVxENTyg">undefined

Toolkit for “New Era of New Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing” 
undefined://toolkit.civilrightspolicing.org/&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNEZNFxJd9nlGEAhsL1c4WtvpQAckA">undefined

VA Legislative Black Caucus  Priorities for the Special Session
undefined://bluevirginia.us/2020/06/virginia-legislative-black-caucus-priorities-for-special-ses&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNGMnPKyXVxbPoYQQ4z932yYBz0inQ">undefined

NextGen America - undefined://nextgenamerica.org/&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNGL-HXPtuYfCDaYCLqHFnpbSQQjSw">undefined 
NextGen America is working to turn out people under the age of 35 who are less than likely to vote or who are not currently registered to vote. These young people are hard to find, expensive to mobilize, and have a reputation of not being particularly interested in politics. For those reasons, traditional political campaigns leave them out – but we have the expertise to find young people, bring them into the political process, and make them lifelong voters.

Voto Latino 
1) The website link to get involved on the handout: undefined://votolatino.org/get-involved/&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNFB4ZUT_ewcpx25SqSRNzIxabBjDw">undefined 
2) VL's voter registration: The registration toolkit with sample posts and graphics 

Covid-19 Crisis  and Women and People of  Color
We Demand More Coalition
undefined://nwlc-ciw49tixgw5lbab.stackpathdns.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/We-Demand-More-Final2.pdf&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNHcXNAHYTA_UTBD_L4VkMe-2ivGuQ">undefined

Economic Policy Institute 
undefined://www.epi.org/publication/black-workers-covid/&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNHZ3V55aHvQWLeJRmgFPOoXVyNi_Q">undefined

Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System, Article in Washington Post- 6/10/2020
undefined://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/opinions/systemic-racism-police-evidence-criminal-justice-system/&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNFKyyPz0uzjxlGo8dKO5191ZTk73g">undefined

Information on Qasim Rashid, Candidate in 1st District for US Congress
Website:  undefined://www.rashidforva.com&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNFw2xu5115_y1eFvmKtNdFKl3DABQ">www.rashidforva.com 
Campaign Managers: ayodele@rashidforva.com 
Candidate’s email: qasim@rashidforva.com

Information on Cameron Webb, Candidate in the 5th District for Us Congress
Website:  undefined://www.drcameronwebb.com&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNFPrcwsafqYCigiRlLfGacqKzVm2g">undefined 
Ben Young, Campaign Manager info@cameronwebb.com

8/1/2020  NOW Book Club -undefined://www.facebook.com/events/576355426585835/&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNE3CDFdfksBG_BEcg57Uty2KX1yDg">undefined -We are excited to introduce our NOW to NOW book club, where we will be joining other NOW branches across the country to discuss books and the issues that are impacting us. Our first title is Gloria Steinem's "My Life on the Road" which we will be reading with the San Gabriel NOW chapter. The meeting date is set for August 1st, time tbd!
Register at undefined://sgvwnow.org/feminist-lit-bc/?fbclid%3DIwAR01L1xfkSEK_gX0qofQEt5sEDocvODh-zoj5wqTye94jB0vkkMdU1MLL5s&source=gmail&ust=1595829732547000&usg=AFQjCNE3oAM08cEBuFaD86JMzEcaYO9lTg">undefined

By allowing virtually any employer or university to opt-out of the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that contraception be covered by insurance plans without out-of-pocket costs, the Court is leaving millions of women out in the cold—and endangering their health.

More than 61 million women currently have ACA coverage of birth control, many of them low-wage workers, people of color, LGBTQIA+ workers, and others who cannot afford to absorb higher costs.  Access to birth control is integral to the health and livelihood of many, and its coverage is especially critical as we navigate the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unintended pregnancy can be deadly—it’s closely correlated with infant mortality, maternal mortality, and increased risk of domestic violence homicide. By giving the green light to the Trump Administration’s expansion of the so-called “conscience” exemptions to the ACA, the Court’s decision iscreating a health-care disaster,putting the reproductive health of millions at risk.

This decision reaffirms the commitment of NOW activists to take back the Senate and elect more feminists to office. We will be watching this case as it goes back to lower courts, and will be reminding voters this November that the makeup of the Supreme Court has everything to do with their reproductive rights.  Today’s decision is by no means the end of this story.

“We the undersigned groups unite to ask that the Democratic Party reaffirm key proposals included in the 2016 platform — including ending the Hyde Amendment — and use this year’s platform drafting process as an opportunity to build upon those policies. We ask that the party outline a bold and inclusive vision for the future of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice in this country. Access to reproductive health care services, including abortion, is central to justice and economic advancement and should not be contingent on a person’s income, insurance coverage, citizenship, or where they live. Further, sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice intersect with other issues that the party is invested in, including gender equity, racial justice, and economic justice, making our mission-critical and urgent. We seek to not only undo the harm caused by the previous administration but strive for a more just future for all.”

For more details about the policy proposals and principles that these leading organizations wish to see implemented, visit the Blueprint for Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

“Given the Trump Administration’s attacks on coverage and the Hyde amendment remaining in the FY21 Appropriations bills, the 2020 platform must make a commitment to ending all coverage bans, including the Hyde Amendment. Additionally, the pandemic highlights the need for accessible telemedicine, including abortion care. We hope to see a commitment to expanding medication abortion care in the platform. And, as the nation rises up against police violence and white supremacy, this year’s platform must center Black, Indigenous, and people of color as the most impacted by restrictions on abortion access, the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, state violence, and racism in health care. We are reimagining the post-pandemic world where each of us can get the care we need, including abortion care; make a living wage; and live free from violence.” – Destiny Lopez, co-director of the All* Above All Action Fund

“Reproductive freedom is fundamental — and yet our rights to make our own personal decisions about what is best for our lives and our futures continue to face unprecedented attacks from anti-choice extremists at the behest of the Radical Right. It’s clear that those hostile to our freedom will do whatever it takes to advance their agenda of power and control, no matter the cost, including exploiting a pandemic to ban abortion. That’s why Democrats must be unequivocal in standing up for reproductive freedom by fighting to expand access to abortion including through telemedicine, securing nondiscrimination policies in health care, and ending anti-choice policies like the Helms Amendment and the discriminatory Hyde Amendment, which perpetuate barriers that communities of color and those with low incomes disproportionately face in accessing time-sensitive and needed care. Reproductive freedom is for every body, full stop, and the Democratic platform must reflect this critical truth and do all it can to make it a reality.”  – Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America 

“The 2020 Democratic Party platform must commit to comprehensive improvements that provide access to a full range of reproductive health care. This includes expansion of telemedicine for abortion care, medication abortion, contraceptive coverage, and expansion of critical services such as prenatal care. They must commit to explicitly opposing all kinds of coverage bans (including the Hyde Amendment), ending forced sterilization, and prioritizing maternal health in the Black community. As our coalition partners have articulated, the party platform must address the need for racial equity and make a significant effort to center the lives of Black and Indigenous women and LGBTQIA+ populations, who are most impacted by political attempts to restrict abortion and reproductive care. Moving forward, the Democratic Party must make a commitment to proactively seek justice for these communities, whose support has been taken for granted for far too long.” – Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW)   

“For almost four long years, the Trump administration has mounted an offensive against our bodily autonomy and freedom, and against the fundamental right of women and girls to live, learn, and work with safety, dignity, and equality. Our country is at a tipping point, reckoning with generations-old systems of oppression that have created the moment we are in today: battling racial injustice at every level of society, and clearing the rubble from a devastating global pandemic. If the Democratic Party wants to lead the American people from relief to recovery to prosperity – to truly create a brighter future for this country – its platform must center the right to abortion, access to equitable health care, and the needs of people of color and LGBTQ+ communities. Now is the time to create a more just world that ensures people have access to the reproductive health care they need when they need it, and without discrimination, barriers, or stigma.” – Fatima Goss Graves, president of the National Women’s Law Center Action Fund

“Since day one, the Trump administration has undermined access to sexual and reproductive health and undercut our health safety net, with a devastating impact on Black and brown people, women, immigrants, and families with low incomes. The Democratic Party has an opportunity to present a better, bolder, and more inclusive vision to the American people when it comes to health care access and reproductive justice, and recommit ourselves to the values that guide us. Planned Parenthood Action Fund and our partners stand together in the belief that health care is a right, not a privilege, and the Democratic Party must fight for equitable access to affordable, quality sexual and reproductive health care — for every individual’s control over their economic futures, and bodily autonomy.”- Alexis McGill Johnson, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“As the Trump administration continues to display its utter contempt for the lives and well-being of people around the world, it’s more vital than ever for the Democratic Party to stand up for the rights of women and families. For too long, harmful restrictions on reproductive health care like the global gag rule and the Helms Amendment have denied people around the world full access to the services they need. The Democratic Party should stand proudly for health, empowerment, and rights for people everywhere and call for repeal of these dangerous restrictions.” – Brian Dixon, senior vice president, Population Connection Action Fund

“Women, especially Black and brown women, are the bedrock of the Democratic Party. The needs of our communities need to be central to the party’s platform and vision. And that includes the full spectrum of basic health care needs. Access to abortion, including medication abortion and abortion later in pregnancy, needs to be protected and expanded. Birth control and gender-affirming procedures need to be available to all who need it. Restrictions and coverage bans, like the Hyde Amendment, must be repealed. The Trump administration has wreaked havoc on our basic right to bodily sovereignty and respect, pushing its extremist anti-woman white supremacist agenda. The brunt of these attacks, by intention, falls on the backs of Black, brown, Indigenous, and low-income people. That is unacceptable. There is a fierce urgency now as our communities weather a devastating pandemic, horrific state violence, maternal mortality, and fight against the weight of centuries of economic and political oppression. Now is the time for the Democratic Party to walk alongside our communities in advancing reproductive health for all.” – Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director, UltraViolet Action

July 8, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia has eliminated a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits, becoming only the seventh state in the country to do so, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Wednesday.

Herring said the project to test rape kits — some decades old — began in 2015. Since then, 2,665 rape kits have been tested, 851 new DNA profiles have been uploaded into a national DNA database and 354 “hits” have been sent to law enforcement agencies for further investigation.

Rape kits are used to collect DNA and other physical evidence from rape victims.

“Eliminating this backlog means that a wrong has been righted, that justice is closer for more survivors and that Virginia is a safer place,” Herring said during a news conference.

In November, Herring announced that a Spotsylvania man has been charged with sexually assaulting a minor after being identified through the initiative to test untested rape kits. Herring said the man was charged after the DNA profile from a 2012 rape kit was uploaded to the national database and identified him as the source.

Herring said when he first took office six years ago, he was shocked to learn the state had a backlog of nearly 3,000 untested rape kits.

Along with eliminating the backlog, the state Department of Forensic Science developed an electronic tracking system so victims and law enforcement agencies are able to check the status and location of rape kits.

Debbie Smith, a Williamsburg woman who was raped by a masked intruder in 1989, said that after her perpetrator’s trial, she was shown a storage area filled with untested rape kits. She said she was heartbroken when she looked at all the kits because she knew “that each one of those women were feeling the same feelings I felt before my assailant was identified.”

“These kits can contain powerful DNA evidence that can identify unknown perpetrators, long unsolved cases, prevent rapists from claiming future victims, and it can even exonerate the innocent,” said Smith, the founder of Hope Exists after Rape Trauma, Inc., a nonprofit foundation, to help victims of sexual assault.

The Associated Press does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, but Smith has been a longtime public advocate for rape victims.

The state used two grants totaling $3.4 million to eliminate the backlog. The first grant of $1.4 million was used to test nearly 1,800 kits that had been collected before 2014. The second grant of $2 million was used to test about 900 kits collected been 2014 and 2016.