What is the VPA?
The Virginia People’s Assembly is a multi-issue, multi-racial network, independent of political parties, that promotes the general goals of “Jobs, Peace, Justice.” The VPA tries to influence the legislative process while building a united movement for fundamental economic, social and political change. The VPA upholds the right of oppressed peoples to self-determination and promotes full rights for women, immigrants and the LGBTQ community. We recognize the connection between domestic and foreign policies and resolve to both struggle for justice here at home and oppose wars abroad.
This is the description adopted at a statewide planning meeting held June 23, 2012, at the Wayside Center for Popular Education in Faber, Va.
In the fall of 2008, the Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality and Richmond Jobs with Justice initiated an Organizing Committee for a Virginia People’s Assembly – a statewide gathering of representatives from all of Virginia’s diverse communities, movements, organizations and issues. The goal was to promote networking among people working for the general goals of Jobs, Peace and Justice.
The VPA also allows activists to learn about bills coming up in the General Assembly that affect the lives and well-being of Virginia’s working people, people of color, women, immigrants, youth, the elderly, veterans and more.
And the VPA promotes the longterm building of a multi-racial, multi-issue working-class movement independent of the politicians and the corporate interests that fund and control them.
That first People’s Assembly was held in Richmond on Jan. 10, 2009, when close to 90 delegates met to discuss their issues and craft a People’s Agenda of common demands. On Jan. 14, the opening day of the Virginia General Assembly, we rallied and marched on the General Assembly Building, bringing the issues of working-class Virginians to the politicians and the media.
Since then, VPAs have been held each year on the Saturday in January before the opening session of that year’s General Assembly. The 2016 VPA will mark 8 years of this dynamic and developing effort.