2014 Full Program

2014 Virginia People’s Assembly for Jobs, Peace & Justice

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014
Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike
Richmond, VA 23223

Program for the 2014 Virginia People’s Assembly

8-9 am: Registration

9-9:30 am: First Plenary Session  (Sanctuary)

Ana Edwards, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality – Introduction of Lead Interpreter and Overview of the day’s goals
Jamshid Bahktiari, VCU Living Wage Campaign – Organizational details

9:40-10:30 am: Workshop  (Sanctuary)

“Breaking Barriers, Building Power: “Building relationships with each other to build a stronger movement
(English/Spanish translation available)
Carolina Velez, Richmond Field Coordinator, Wayside Center for Popular Education
“A space for participants to share their personal stories and organizing work experiences, reflect on how we build movement and find ways to work supportively across cultural differences between individuals and communities.”

 10:40-11:30: Workshops & Panels

 Labor: Organizing the Unorganized  (Sanctuary)
(English/Spanish translation available)

Coordinator: Donald Minor, Organizer, UFCW Local 400
Charles Brown, WalMart worker
Jennifer Garvin-Sanchez, VCU Adjunct Professor
Richmond immigrant factory worker
McDonald’s fast food worker
Statement from a VCU worker who is a member of the VCU Living Wage Campaign

Food, Gardens & Community Survival  (Fellowship Hall)

Duron Chavis, Founder, Happily Natural Day,  & John Lewis, Founder, Renew Richmond
An interactive talk on the use of urban agriculture as a tool for poverty mitigation, food sovereignty and community empowerment.’

Women of Color Fight Back for Reproductive Justice  (Youth Assembly Room)

Coordinator: Vanessa Coleman, Medical Student; Member, Collective X
“Join us for this workshop which will explore the efforts of women, including transwomen of color, in the struggle for autonomy over their own bodies against colonial, state, medical and other forces. This will be an interactive and inspiring workshop that will use a very diverse array of historical and modern case studies as well as an practical component.”

11:40-12:30 pm: Workshops & Panels

Black Community Issues  (Sanctuary)

Ana Edwards, Co-Founder, Defenders, & Vinny Weeks, Organizer, All As One)
“The Black Community Issues Panel will offer a range of critical issues affecting Black communities of Virginia (education, housing, jobs, social justice, culture, etc.) and how they are being addressed from within. The discussion portion is intended to help establish what issues will benefit from endorsement, support and/or engagement by VPA participants over the next year.”

 LGBTQ Issues  (Fellowship Hall)

Coordinator: SONG

“Join Southerners On New Ground (SONG) for an interactive workshop and discussion about community mapping and movement-building. We will be exploring ways to connect local organizing work to historical and broader social movements and struggles. This workshop will center the experiences and voices of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer communities and explore the connections between LGBTQ struggles and other racial and economic justice work.”

12:45-1:45: Lunch   (Fellowship Hall)

Prepared by Richmond Food Not Bombs

Menu:  Black bean soup with sour cream & cheese, rice, greens, fruit, cobbler, Russian carrot salad, cornbread

 2-3 pm: Rally (Sanctuary)

(English/Spanish translation available)

Chair: Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, Trustee, Prisoners & Families for Equal Rights & Justice
Introduction of the interpreter
Welcoming comments by the Rev. Rodney Hunter, Pastor, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church
Introduction of the Keynote Speaker: Daquan Love, President Youth & College Division of Virginia State Conference NAACP; Member national NAACP Board

Keynote Speaker: The Rev. William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of Moral Monday Protests

3:10-4 pm: Workshops & Panels

Prisoners & Prison Conditions  (Sanctuary)

(English/Spanish translation available)
Coordinator: Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender
Introduction of the interpreter
The Case of Ashley Williams – Baquiva Jones, sister of Ashley Williams
Campaign to Free Jermaine Doss – Felicia Doss, Jermaine’s sister
Detention of Virginia Immigrants – Catalina Nieto, Detention Watch Network
The War on Drugs – Kwame Binta, November Coalition
Conditions in the Richmond City Jail – Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender

Accessing Affordable Healthcare  (Fellowship Hall)

Coordinator: Roland Winston, LGBTQ Community Advocate

Presentation by Sara Cariano, M.S.W., M.P.H, a healthcare Navigator with Enroll-Virginia, “a nonprofit, nonpartisan entity that assists individuals and small businesses to obtain health insurance including commercial health coverage through the federally facilitated health insurance marketplace, to qualify for applicable tax subsidies, and to comply with the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and avoid penalties for failure to do so. The program is paid for by a federal grant (Funding Opportunity Number CA-NAV-13-001 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) and administered by the Virginia Poverty Law Center.”

 4:10-5 pm: Workshops & Panels

Prison Reform  (Sanctuary)

Coordinators: Lillie “Ms. K” Branch-Kennedy, Executive Director, R.I.H.D. and Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, Trustee, Prisoners & Families for Equal Rights & Justice

“2014 Virginia People’s Assembly (VPA) prison reform initiative to host the Mobile Justice Tour “Mass Incarceration versus Successful Reentry in Virginia. What’s working, what’s not!” The MJT is a 10-city tour of Virginia raising awareness around justice issues that affect people with criminal records and the incarcerated, and providing on-site direct services, with focus on three key issues: sentencing reform to end mass incarceration, civil rights restoration for citizens with felony convictions, removing questions about an applicant’s criminal background from initial employment forms in Virginia. Mass Incarceration & Successful Re-Entry: Even as crime has decreased in Virginia, the state’s drug violation policies, as well as its approaches to sentencing and parole, have led to a mass incarceration crisis of crowded jails and prisons. During the VPA, the MJT will advocate for legislative solutions including a reduced focus on drug offenses, increasing the threshold for Virginia’s grand larceny felony (to account for inflation) and reinstating parole.”

Followed by meetings with people seeking assistance with getting their civil rights restored.   (Youth Assembly Room)

Confronting the Empire: International issues  (Fellowship Hall)

Coordinator: Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender; Member, Coord. Comm., United National Antiwar Coalition

“The U.S. Military’s Expanding Role in Africa” – Ana Edwards, Member, Steering Committee, Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality; Member, Continuations Committee, Black Left Unity Network (BLUN); Member, Coordinating Committee, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

“Latin American Resistance Movements” – Maria Luisa Rosal, School of America (SOA) Watch

“Crisis in the Congo” – W. Neal Holmes, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, Virginia State University; Member,  Richmond Branch of Friends of the Congo

“The U.S./Iran Conflict: Is it Nuclear or Imperialism?”– Simin Royanian, Founder, Women for Justice & Peace in Iran

“Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden & U.S. Government Surveillance” – Ray McGovern, Antiwar Activist & former CAI analyst

“The Domestic Cost of Military Spending” – Adria Scharf, Director, Richmond Peace Education Center

“The Abolition of War – David Swanson, Author, Radio Host & Antiwar Activist

Supporting & Protecting Public Workers  (Youth Assembly Room)

Coordinator: Freeda Cathcart, Candidate for Roanoke City Council; Co-Founder, Let Teachers Teach

“When Freeda Cathcart ran for the 17th House of Delegates last fall, she discovered that Virginia’s teachers and children are under distress from the punitive administration of the SOLs (Standards Of Learning). She also discovered that Virginia’s First Responders don’t have the security that they used to have. Come to this session to learn how you can support and protect Virginia’s Public Workers.”

5:10-6:30 pm: Final Plenary Session  (Sanctuary)

Voting on Resolutions

Co-Chairs:   Camila Borja, Organizer, VCU Living Wage Campaign

Phil Wilayto, Editor, The Virginia Defender

 6:45-7:45 pm: Dinner  (Fellowship Hall)

Prepared by members of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church

Menu: Spaghetti, with meat or vegetarian sauce; fried chicken; vegetarian bean chili; garden salad, dessert

8-9:30: Multi-Cultural Evening  (Fellowship Hall)

Co-Chairs:Bentley, 13ainbridge Collective

Janet “Queen Nzinga” Taylor, Trustee, Prisoners & Families for Equal Rights & Justice

Artists:   Tanya Gonzalez – Mexican Dance
Mujeres Indigenas Mixtecas – Embroidery Display
Iman Shabazz – Spoken Word
Isabella Bustamante Velez – Colombian Dance
Jonathan Villatoro – Spoken Word

 Thank you for participating in the 2014 Virginia Peoples Assembly!


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