2020 has been a year of reckoning and has brought to the forefront systemic racism and inequities that have plagued our society and oppressed Black Virginians for centuries. COVID-19 has exacerbated these inequities, resulting in growing disparities in education, the economy, health care, housing, and our criminal justice system.
Virginia’s next Governor must be ready to tackle these inequities head on with bold, progressive policies to support and lift up every Black Virginian. That means addressing the historic lack of access to capital and promoting Black home and business ownership, breaking down barriers that prevent communities of color from generating wealth, addressing environmental injustices, supporting older members of Black communities and ending disparities in health care, education and our criminal justice system.
He will continue to invest in key areas to professionalize law enforcement agencies and improve accountability – through training and accreditation, community policing, and increased community engagement like citizen review boards.
Terry is committed to reimagining our K12 education system in Virginia and ensuring that every child has access to an equitable, world-class education, and part of that process is drastically increasing the diversity of our educator workforce. We know that having a diverse workforce benefits all students, especially students of color.
Rebuilding our economy also means creating new pathways to business ownership for Black Virginians and rebuilding minority-owned businesses that have been hit the hardest during this pandemic. This will be especially important as Virginia considers legalizing marijuana, as communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by its over-criminalization and deserve to benefit from this new business sector.
Terry also recognizes that we have to expand access to affordable health care and end disparities that have led to poor health outcomes for communities of color, including unacceptable rates of maternal mortality for Black women.
Access to affordable housing also has to be addressed, as well as pathways to home ownership, for communities of color. Having a safe and affordable place to live are fundamental to a person’s ability to live, learn and succeed. For too long lack of safe, affordable housing has been a barrier to the economic prosperity of Black communities. It has to be addressed.
Terry has a proven track record of upending the status quo that has for too long left communities of color behind. As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, he reversed a racist Jim Crow law that disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Virginians and restored voting rights to 173,000 Virginians — more than any Governor in history — despite being sued by Republicans. Terry also issued a record 227 pardons, including for many Virginians who received excessive and unjust sentences.
Terry bolstered Small Women and Minority-Owned (SWaM) businesses by creating a SWaM micro-loan program.