December 11, 2019
I am pleased that when the General Assembly organizes for business in January that Delegate Delores MQuinn (left) wil be chairperson of the Transportation Committee, Delegate Roslyn Tyler (right) will chair the Education Committee, and I will chair the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Start with a Clean Slate
  • Virginia Report
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar 

Start with a Clean Slate
Taking down Confederate monuments is but one part of a continuing story in Virginia as the Commonwealth tries to come to grips with its racist history. The story is in no way a pretty one. Africans who were brought to the colony as enslaved people were kept in bondage with cruelty and repression. They were stripped of their names and given names that had no meaning to them. Slaves were for the most part not taught to read and their ability to congregate together was severely restricted. They were overlooked in the Declaration of Independence and considered only three-fifths of a person in the Constitution. When Virginia plantations no longer found their labor needed with the depletion of the soil in the state, slaves were sold into the deep South with their families being broken up. The Civil War brought emancipation, but repression of Black people continued with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, and Jim Crow laws. It was not until the Civil Rights Act of 1965 that African Americans started to realize what equal protection of the laws really meant.

During this history the General Assembly of Virginia passed laws that make those of us interested in the state’s history hang our heads in shame at the racism they embodied. Earlier this year Governor Ralph Northam appointed The Commission to Examine Racial Equality in Virginia Law to take a look at the language and intent of legislative actions in The Acts of Assembly and the Code of Virginia . The interim report issued this past week was shocking to those of us who study this issue for its sheer volume as well as for the stark language it uncovered of racism in the laws. Take a look for yourself at Racial Inequity Report .

Passed as recently as 1956 was a law, part of Massive Resistance, that provided that “no child shall be required to enroll in or attend any school wherein both white and colored children are enrolled.” The Commission found that “Virginia policymakers engaged in deliberate and coordinated legislative strategies to deny equal educational opportunities to black students…” There are numerous examples of laws including the poll tax that were intended to keep black people from voting.

Though most of the laws identified by the Commission are outdated and have no legal effect, they remain in the law. The Interim Report states that “the Commission believes that such vestiges of Virginia’s segregationist past should no longer have official status.” Laws that have been found to be unconstitutional or otherwise been invalidated should be repealed to ensure that they “could not be revived with a change of law or interpretation by a different leadership or court.” 

The Commission found that “white and nonwhite Virginians face starkly disparate outcomes in health, educational attainment, financial stability, and access to justice. Any assessment of their disparities must take into account Virginia’s haunting legacy of coordinated, intentional, and official acts of forced segregation and overt racism.” The past is for recording in history books and not in official laws of today. The General Assembly meeting in January must take the important step of wiping the slate clean! 
Delegate Plum Seeks Your Input into Priorities for the
2020 General Assembly Session
Virginia Report 
Tune in to Ken's television program, Virginia Report, on  YouTube. Ken interviews state and local leaders who are making news by making a difference. 

Watch Delegate Plum's interview with Commissioner Richard Holcomb of the Department of Motor Vehicles explaining REAL ID.
How to Donate Food this Holiday Season
Fairfax Food Council’s Diane Charles and Food for Others Executive Director Annie Turner discuss food insecurity in Fairfax County and how healthy food donations, especially during the holiday season, help the community combat hunger. More information is at Hunger in Fairfax .
Virginia Department of Health Warns of
Fake Vital Records Websites
The Virginia Department of Health Office of Vital Records has received complaints from customers who have mistakenly ordered and paid for vital records application forms from third party websites. These online services have no affiliation with the VDH Office of Vital Records or any state government entity. These unaffiliated websites are also charging consumers unnecessary and inflated fees for vital records, and this trend appears to be a nationwide problem. Learn more at Vital Records Scam Sites .
What can I do? Civic Involvement
How do I support upcoming bills?
Bills are beginning to be filed for the upcoming General Assembly session. Keep track of all the legislation for the session at Legislative Information System. You can look up bills by subject, by member, bill number, etc. and follow the progress of legislation throughout the session. 
Calendar of Events
Wednesday, December 11, 8:00 p.m., Progress Virginia Webinar . General Assembly basics will give you all the information you need on how the General Assembly works from who’s in charge to how bills are passed in both chambers of the legislature. Register here .

Thursday, December 12, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., South Lakes High School Winter Band Concert, at South Lakes High School in Reston. The concert will feature the SLHS Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble ( SLHS Band).

Friday, December 13, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., The Commonwealth Institute for Fiscal Analysis' 6th Annual Policy Summit, at Omni Richmond, 100 South 12th Street, Richmond. Join leading policy experts, community partners, nonprofit leaders, grassroots organizers, and other advocates from around the state to engage with and learn from others on critical issues facing Virginia and how we can collectively pursue a prosperous future for all. Agenda for the day is at Policy Summit. Registration and costs are at Tickets.

Friday, December 13, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Town of Vienna Mayor & Town Council Holiday Reception, at Town Hall, 127 Center Street S, Vienna. No RSVP necessary. ( Holiday Reception)

Saturday, December 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided.

Saturday, December 14, noon to 8:00 p.m., Herndon WinterMarkt, at Town Hall Square, 730 Elden Street, Herndon. Styled in the European traditions of Germany's original and most famous WinterMarkts. Free entertainment. Food and craft vendors, gluhwein and German beer available for sale. Visit WinterMarkt for more information.

Saturday, December 14, 4:00 p.m., Reston Community Orchestra Holiday Concert "Nuttin Like the Nutcracker," at Aldrin Elementary School, 11375 Center Harbor Road, Reston. Concert is free--suggested donation levels and other details are at Holiday Concert.

Tuesday, December 17, 7:00 p.m., The Reston Chorale's Annual Messiah Singalong and Coat Drive, at Chapel of St. John Neumann Catholic Church,
11900 Lawyers Road, Reston. Tickets and more information are at Reston Sings!

Wednesday, December 18, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Winter Wonderland Fundraiser for Affordable Housing, at 2222 Colts Neck Road, Reston. Enjoy a festive evening of mingling, wine tasting, raffle, and lavish desserts! All to support Fellowship Square - a nonprofit which provides affordable housing and services for seniors with very limited incomes and resources. RSVP