16 January 2018


Momentum is building for the outdoor Rally for Prison Reform to be held from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Bell Tower on Capitol Square in Richmond, Va.

As of Jan. 16, more than 150 people have indicated on Facebook that they will be attending, with more than 800 “interested.” Among those who plan to attend are Delegate Alfonso Lopez, 49th district, and Delegate Lashrecse D. Aird, 63rd District. Carpools are being organized from cities across the state, including Blacksburg, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Gloucester, Norfolk and Prince William County.

The rally was Initiated by the Virginia Prisoner of Conscience Education Network (VAPOC), an organization of prisoners in the state prison system, and is being organized by the Coalition For Justice (Blacksburg) and the Richmond-based Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality.

The goal is to communicate to Virginia lawmakers that Virginians care about prisoners and no longer support criminal justice policies that punish excessively, unfairly and expensively.

Following the scheduled speakers (see below), there will be an open mic for former prisoners and relatives of prisoners to speak.

To learn more, please visit the Virginia Prison Reform Rally page on Facebook.

To endorse the rally, send the name of your organization with contact information to: justicebburg@gmail.com.


Co-Chair: Margaret Breslau - Coalition for Justice
Co-Chair: Joseph Rogers of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality
Statement from Virginia Prisoner of Conscience (VAPOC)Statement by Jerry Mendoza- Villata, Member, VAPOC, representing immigrant prisoners, read by Aileen Rivera, Va. Defenders
Statement by Hassan Shabazz - Member, VAPOC, read by his brother
Wahid Shabazz, Founder & Dir., A Firm Foundation, Inc.
Statement from the Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee
(VAPAC), representing prisoners at the Red Onion State Prison
Arielle Goldman - Together We Will RVA
Bekura Waliah Shabazz - First Alliance Consulting Group
Kimberly Jenkins-Snodgrass - Interfaith Action for Human Rights
Janet "Queen Nzinga" Taylor - Virginia Defenders; Rastafarian and longtime supporter of Virginia Rastafarian prisoners
Lynetta Thompson - Former President, Richmond Branch NAACP
Henrietta Trotter - ​Representative, ​Family of Jermaine Doss, wrongfully incarcerated prisoner from Norfolk
Darryll X - Formerly incarcerated Board Member, Resource Information
Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD)
Stephanie Younger - Angela Davis' Black Girl Coalition
Representative - Raise Up / Fight for $15

ENDORSERS: (in formation) A Firm Foundation, Inc.; Abu Unity Foundation - Newport News; Coalition for Justice - Blacksburg; ​Democratic Socialist of America, Richmond Branch; Family of Jermaine Doss, wrongfully incarcerated prisoner from Norfolk; First Alliance Consulting Group LLC. - Chester; Industrial Workers of the World, Richmond Branch; Interfaith Action for Human Rights - Washington, D.C.; Leaders of the New South - Richmond; New Virginia Majority; Raise Up VA; Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged (RIHD) - Statewide; Together We Will RVA - Richmond; Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice, and Equality; Virginia Prisons Accountability Committee (VAPAC); Young Virginia Votes Center - Richmond; Stephanie Younger, Angela Davis' Black Girl Coalition

05 November 2017


CLICK HERE for the Autumn 2017 issue


Does RVA have a Master Plan to Push out the Poor?

Special 4-page section: Shockoe Bottom, Confederate Statues & the Demand for Accountability 

Property owner says East End post office to reopen very soon 

Did Stoney & Durham hype the danger of the neo-Confederate "rally"?  

plus Labor, Immigrant, Prisoner & Antiwar News

& much more!

03 October 2017


The newly formed Coalition for Accountability held a MARCH FOR ACCOUNTABILITY on Tuesday, Oct. 10, the 217th anniversary of the execution of the great slave rebellion leader Gabriel at the Town Gallows in Shockoe Bottom.

We multiply our individual strengths by supporting each other in our various struggles and call for ACTION and ACCOUNTABILITY from our city leaders!

The march began at 6 p.m. at the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue and headed to the Devil’s Half Acre in Shockoe Bottom, where community leaders addressed the current issues facing our people today:

Take Down the Confederate Statues
& Build the Shockoe Bottom Memorial Park!
Fix the Schools!
Expand Public Transit!
Hands Off Public Housing!
Fight for $15!
Hands Off Immigrants!
LGBTQ Rights!
No Pipelines!
Serve the People!

For a full report, see the Autumn 2017 issue of The Virginia Defender.

13 September 2017

Join the Defenders Sept. 16 in Richmond to protest white supremacy!

NO to White Supremacy! 
Confederate Heritage IS Hate! 
Take down all the Confederate statues NOW!

On Saturday, Sept. 16, a Tennessee-based organization called the New Confederate States of America (CSA II) plans to hold some kind of gathering at or near the Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. The group’s stated purpose is “standing up to protect the General Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia from being taken down or destroyed.”

The organizers claim that “This rally is a Heritage ~ Not Hate Rally.” Right. Waving Confederate flags near a Lee statue so soon after Charlottesville in a city that is half-Black is clearly meant to be a declaration of white supremacy and must be opposed.

Many Richmond progressive groups have called for protests, some on Monument Avenue, some in other parts of the city. We support all expressions of anti-racism.

For our part, we will be as near to the Lee statue as possible, with signs, banners and chants denouncing white supremacy and calling for the Confederate statues to be taken down.

(For more details, see the Facebook event page "Join the Defenders Sept. 16 to protest White Supremacy!"

Richmond today is facing many daunting problems, from the sorry state of our public school buildings to plans to demolish public housing to the shrinking of public transit to a 25% poverty rate to the epidemic of street violence. And in one way or another they all are the result of the culture and institutions of white supremacy. If we are going to be able to address these challenges, we should at least be able to remove the city’s most offensive symbols of racism.

Please join us this Saturday!

14 August 2017

Report on Charlottesville & Richmond
From The Virginia Defender

On Aug. 12, some 500 fascists gathered at Charlottesville's Emancipation Park. Many came prepared for battle, with helmets, shields, body padding and visible weapons, including guns. Thousands of defiant protesters massed in the surrounding streets. Shouted insults morphed into throwing water bottles, then more dangerous projectiles, then fistfights. Pepper spray and some kind of tear gas left many people choking and gasping for air, but the protesters kept up their presence mere feet from the fascists.  READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

NOTE: Since this report was written, the organizers of the planned Sept. 13 rally at Richmond’s Lee monument have withdrawn their permit request; Gov. McAuliffe has suspended the granting of any permits for rallies at the statue; and Richmond Mayor Stoney has said that removing the five Confederate statues on Monument Avenue will now be considered. The struggle continues.

Defender VIDEOS of the events:

Fascists gather for rally inside Emancipation Park
Facists use tear gas outside Emancipation Park
Defenders rally the crowd to “Hold the Line!"
State Police Officer admits they are not protecting the people