As people of faith in the Commonwealth of Virginia we long for an ordering of our communities that promotes justice and brings us into closer proximity to the shalom God desires for all creation.
The upcoming August special session of the General Assembly (GA) which begins August 18 offers us a unique opportunity to join our voices with those most impacted by the injustices in our criminal justice system and advocate for meaningful change.
The Public Policy Witness and Dismantling Racism: Building Beloved Community ministries of the Presbytery of the James ask our congregations to:
- Take time before the session to listen to the voices of those most impacted by harmful flaws in our legal code.
- Consider the proposed legislative actions recommended by organizations working most closely with impacted communities (See Resources).
- Commit to advocating for the changes that align with the commonwealth of God inaugurated by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- Take action by contacting your representatives (by email, phone, or letter) BEFORE THE AUGUST 18 Special GA session letting them know your position(s) on bills being considered.
Two issues which our ministries would like to be addressed do not have bills attached to them. They concern the plight of Virginia’s young people at the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center. The center ranks #1 in the number of COVID cases in juvenile detention centers nationwide. This fact highlights the very real need for change in order to assure our young peoples’ best care. If you would like to join in this effort, consider contacting your representative(s). Start with this draft letter.
The Dismantling Racism ministry has been working closely with the Virginia Poor People’s Campaign and invites everyone to send a letter they have drafted in advance of the special session alerting representatives to their broad moral vision. Subscribe to updates from the Virginia Poor People’s Campaign.
We believe that God is at work in these challenging times. The cracks in our justice system have been exposed. We have an opportunity (especially if you are isolating at home) to correct some grievous wrongs, all to the glory of God.
In the faith,
Dismantling Racism and Public Policy Witness Ministries
Presbytery of the James