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Showing posts from 2018
The Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality is an organization of Virginia residents working for the survival of our communities through education and social justice projects. 

The Defenders recently celebrated 15 years of community organizing and activism! We began in June 2002.  Many of us had relatives in the Richmond City Jail or state prisons and were concerned about the physical conditions of these institutions. As we worked around these issues, we learned more and more about the connections between jails, jobs, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, class, political representation, and war. We began organize and hold public forums on these issues, so we could develop more to show the connections between local and international events.

We have The Virginia Defender, a statewide, quarterly newspaper; two websites ( and; and three Facebook pages, for the Defenders organization, newspaper and radio program. Our…

DFJE: International Forum on Zimbabwe with Netfa Freeman

The Virginia Defenders held a public forum on what the U.S. is doing in Zimbabwe. ​Our guest presenter was​ Netfa Freeman, former program coordinator of an agricultural project in Zimbabwe. He works for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. but was not speaking on their behalf. He also produces Voices With Vision: Not for the Politically Faint of Heart, a radio program on WPFW 89.3 FM and podcast via iTunes and Google Play Music.

The forum took place Monday, April 2, 6:30-8 pm at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike in Richmond’s East End.

​As Che once put it, we here in the U.S. live in the Belly of the Beast. That being so, we have a responsibility to know about and oppose what the 1% and its government is doing in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe. It’s not enough to only work on bettering our own lives, if we  ignore what our tax dollars and our young people in uniform are forced to do in other c…

Hundreds rally at State Capitol for prisoner rights

The Virginia Defender Staff Report

RICHMOND, VA -- In the largest show of support for Virginia prisoners in memory, more than 300 people turned out Jan. 20 for the Virginia Rally for Prison Reform on Richmond’s Capitol Square.

They came by chartered buses and carpools from Blacksburg and Roanoke, Prince William County and Fredericksburg, Suffolk and Hampton Roads, as well as from the Richmond area. One of the largest contingents was from the NAACP chapter at Norfolk State University.

Many were former prisoners or relatives of prisoners. Some represented prisoner advocacy groups. Others were individuals drawn to the event by the crying need for reform in the Virginia prison system. Several newly seated state legislators were in attendance.

One especially unique feature was that the rally was initiated by a prisoner organization, Virginia Prisoner of Conscience (VAPOC), whose members spread the word among their relatives and friends on the outside. Logistics were handled by the Coalitio…