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Elevating Women in Politics, from Galax to Gainesville

A LETTER FROM OUR PRESIDENT                        February 2022


2022 has brought a unique set of challenges. I think most activists would have expected we would be farther along on the ERA. We also are increasingly vigilant against Texas-style abortion restrictions. Despite voting rights gains in recent years, they too are in danger of being rolled back.

I recently gave remarks on being an “everyday hero” and a hero’s superpowers. I think that the qualities of being able to shift paradigms, reject the status quo, and play the long game will be critical superpowers to increase women’s political participation.

We must become comfortable with shifting paradigms. In order to advance our movement there will be changes. A year ago, we were in a much different situation. A year from now, it will likely be even more different. Based on trends, what can we predict now about the future to help us make the shift?

Rejecting the status quo is essential. I have learned that many people like to hold on to what feels comfortable. We can’t create a better community if we continue to operate as usual.

Playing the long game is the smartest way to accomplish our goals. What does an ideal Virginia look like to you? What steps must we take to get there? 

Everyday we use these superpowers as we manage our own lives and lead in our communities. 

With you working with us as an everyday hero, the NWPC-VA has made monumental steps towards an ideal Virginia. We have shifted the paradigm on what it means for women to run in difficult districts. We will support, mentor and train aspiring candidates along with our endorsement. The status quo says women of different ethnic backgrounds have too many differences to work together. From our inception, we have proven that our common cause is too important to let racial and ethnic differences divide us. 

We are the heroes we have been waiting for. We are in this for the long haul, and our collective superpowers will ensure that together, we will move Virginia toward a bright and more equitable future. 


Krysta Jones, 2021-2022 President

National Women’s Political Caucus-Virginia



During GA2022, NWPC-VA has been championing three bills: the Unsolicited Lewds Bill: HB 334/SB 493, the Implicit Bias Training Bill: HB 1105/SB 456, and the Family Caregiver Tax Credit Bill: HB 291. An update on the status of each bill follows.

  • Unsolicited Lewds Bill: HB 334 and SB 493/Sexually explicit visual material to another; civil action for dissemination of images, penalty: With the bipartisan support of co-patrons Senators McClellan, Boysko, and Vogel, this bill passed the Senate 40-0 in mid-February. Upon crossover it was assigned to Subcommittee #2 within the House Committee for Courts of Justice. On Feb. 23, it passed out of the subcommittee on a unanimous vote and will be in front of the full Courts of Justice committee soon.  Next stop: the House floor!

  • Implicit Bias Training Bill: HB 1105 and SB 456/Practitioners, licensed; continuing education related to implicit bias and cultural competency: In January, the House referred this maternal health bill, championed by Dora Muhammad from the Interfaith Center, to the Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, then to Subcommittee #3, consisting of Delegates Walker (Chair), Head, Orrock, Robinson, Hayes, and Tran. The Subcommittee recommended continuing to 2023 by voice vote, which the Committee did on Feb. 10.

  • Family Caregiver Tax Credit Bill: HB 291 and SB 266/Creates a nonrefundable tax credit for family caregivers: This bill, whose chief patron is Delegate Sam Rasoul, first made it out of the Committee on Finance with several amendments in January but then was referred to the House Committee on Appropriations. On Feb. 15 it was left in Appropriations.

In addition, we would like to draw your attention to the following important education-related bills. The question of what and who should and should be taught in Virginia public schools has been front and center this session as a continuation to the controversy drummed up during our November election. While some regressive education-related bills were left in committee at Crossover, such as Del. LaRock’s HB 1032 which banned “any explicit material” in school libraries and Sen. Jen Kiggans’ “divisive concepts” SB 570, those noted below passed the House. They were referred to the Senate Public Education Subcommittee. Both bills were on the docket for Feb. 24. We believe both were defeated in committee, but there was no official update in LIS when we went to press. We include the following summaries to inform members regarding the recent regressive trends in education policy.

In one of his first acts in office, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order banning “divisive concepts,” including Critical Race Theory, from Virginia public schools. This bill, sponsored by Del. Dave LaRock (R, Loudoun County), echoes that executive order and would make it unlawful to teach students that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another,” or that “the Commonwealth or the United States is fundamentally racist or sexist,” or “an individual, by virtue of the individual's race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously,” among the 8 listed “divisive concepts.”

This bill is an attempt to ban Virginia public schools from teaching about structural racism and takes aim at equity initiatives adopted by some school districts which have focused on the concept of privilege among students. Furthermore, Critical Race Theory is law school-level discourse and not taught in K-12 schools. A helpful explanation of the theory can be found in this discussion among three Columbia University Law School professors.

*Please note that this bill is part of a movement in statehouses around the country with proposed legislation to ban teaching “divisive concepts” in Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.* A proposed New Hampshire bill, a revision of a McCarthy-Era law, takes the ban a step further to ensure teachers retain “loyalty” and don’t push “subversive doctrines.” 

This bill, sponsored by Del. Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach), misrepresents current admissions processes at the commonwealth’s 19 Governor’s schools and aims to deprive local school boards of the tools needed to achieve diversity at the schools. It proposes that admissions abandon experiential review processes (of students who have GPAs of 3.5 or higher) and revert back to “traditional academic success factors,” such as standardized tests. It prevents the collection of any demographic information, making it difficult to identify underrepresentation in total applications, application rates, and admission rates. Some recent research has shown that standardized tests can be biased against low-income and minority families. Such tests are not objective measures of merit, and students’ talents and abilities are not fixed. Advocates for the bill include members of the Coalition for TJ, an activist group that has consistently opposed meaningful admissions reform in magnet schools and has sued Fairfax County Public Schools over pro-diversity changes. This bill would serve to reinforce inequities in Virginia education, rather than work to eliminate them. 

The aforementioned bills are counter to NWPC-VA’s dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The bills promote regressive and restrictive points of view. Please see the Calls to Action section for how to advocate against these bills and similar legislation. Also regarding education, check out this op-ed on Gov. Youngkin’s “school choice” project co-authored by NWPC-VA member Denise Murden.



Greetings members! The 2022 membership discount has been extended through March!  A regular, new, or renewed membership will be $77 ($22 off the standard $99 membership fee) until 11:59 pm on March 31, 2022! So far, we’ve had a total of FORTY new and renewed memberships this year!

To join or renew, visit the “Join Us” section of our website. Scroll down to the red asterisk (Membership Level) and select the button of your choice. We also would be delighted to receive contributions for gift memberships for students and/or those in economic need.

Please note, it has come to the board’s attention that some members are being sent dues renewal notifications from our old platform, Action Network. NWPC-VA currently operates off of the Wild Apricot platform. PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE AND DO NOT RENEW THROUGH ACTION NETWORK!

If you have already renewed through Action Network (including automated debits), please contact VP of Finance Robbin Warner at Thank you for your cooperation while we work to eliminate this issue.




This month NWPC-VA spotlights the work of Dora Muhammad, Congregation Engagement Director for the Virginia Interfaith Center. Some members may remember her from NWPC-VA’s VLAW Summit in January, where she advocated for HB 1105, the Implicit Bias Training bill, and more equitable maternal health care. 

Ms. Muhammad is also an author, documentary photographer, and founder of the AWARE Project (Advocacy for Women's Activism, Rights and Empowerment). By intersecting community and municipality, faith with advocacy, and the arts with policy awareness, she creates a dynamic synergy offered to inspire the humanity in others with an unmatched passion to improve the quality and dignity of life for vulnerable and marginalized populations. She has a BA in Journalism and Documentary Photography, a Master’s in Public Administration, and she studied international law and human rights. She received a Certificate in Theology and Ministry from the Princeton Theological Seminary. Now based in Virginia, she is a Harlem native and daughter of Indo-Caribbean immigrants from Trinidad. Learn more about her current campaigns on her website.


What is the Women’s Health Protection Act?


The Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) is a federal bill that would expand access to abortion nationwide. The US Senate will vote on it, S.1975, on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 28. Its summary reads as follows: “To protect a person’s ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide abortion services.”

Among the restrictions the WHPA would curb are the 24-hour waiting period, mandatory ultrasounds, TRAP laws, and any other law that intentionally makes it harder for people to access abortion care. Learn more about the bill here:



Advocate for the Women’s Health Protection Act in Congress Before Feb. 28, call Senators Warner and Kaine and ask them to vote in favor of this bill to protect abortion access and a woman’s right to choose. You can find sample scripts and texts here. Follow the hashtags #ActForAbortionAccessand #WHPA as well as Pro-Choice Virginia and the Center for Reproductive Rights on social media for the latest updates.


Save the ERA! There is still time to reach out to the DOJ and our US Senators!                                                                                                  In January 2020, Virginia was the last of three states to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The Archivist of the United States failed to add the ERA to the Constitution as the 28th Amendment, and its status as law, which should have taken effect last month, is now in limbo. Virginia, Nevada, and Illinois sued to compel the federal government to recognize the ratification. In January,13 amicus briefs were filed in the DC Circuit. However, the new GOP Attorney General Jason Miyares withdrew Virginia from the suit earlier this month. The federal government’s brief is due March 4.

What to do now: 

  1. Before March 1, advocate for President Biden to express his support for the ERA in his State of the Union Address. On social media, use the hashtag #SOTU4ERA. You can also sign the League of Women Voters’ petition (bundled with other issues) here.
  2. Send a letter to the Department of Justice before March 4 when the US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit begins hearings on the ERA.
  3. Call Senators Warner and Kaine and thank them for their support of SJRes1, and to encourage their colleagues to pass it.

Lobby for Women’s and Family Issues at the General Assembly 

–Unsolicited Lewds Bill: HB 334 and SB493: Sexually explicit visual material to another; unlawful dissemination, penalty.                    Take action: This bill promises to come up for the House Committee for Courts of Justice vote the week of Feb. 28. Email the committee members: Delegates Bell (Chair), Adams, L.R. (Vice Chair), Kilgore, Leftwich, Campbell, J.L., Ransone, Campbell, R.R., Freitas, Ballard, Williams, Anderson, Watts, Herring, Hope, Bourne, Simon, Keam, Sullivan, Delaney, Scott, D.L. Let them know that passing this bipartisan bill creates accountability for sexual harassment in the digital sphere and closes the cell phone sized loophole for all Virginians. Make sure you reach out to your delegate as well, in anticipation of the full House vote. Sample scripts can be found in our toolkit.

–“Divisive Concepts” Bill: HB 787 Public elementary or secondary school students; moral and character education, etc.                   Take action: On Feb 15, this bill passed the House 50-49 mostly along partisan lines. It was referred to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Education and was scheduled on the docket for Feb. 24. We believe this bill was defeated in committee, but there was no official update in LIS when we went to press. Please contact your representatives and tell them that you generally object to politically-motivated attempts to ban educators from teaching about historical injustices or contentious topics in our country’s history. You can also follow the latest developments on the ACLU of Virginia’s website.

–Governor's Schools Admissions Bill: HB 127 Academic year Governor's Schools; certain practices prohibited, permitted, and required.                                                                                              Take action: This bill passed the House 50-48. It was assigned to the Senate Subcommittee on Public Education and was scheduled on the docket for Feb. 24. We believe this bill was defeated in committee, but there was no official update in LIS when we went to press. To follow the latest developments on Governor’s schools admissions, check the Virginia Education Association’s website.


Learn about Book Banning and Censorship                                  Parental choice regarding books in Virginia classrooms and libraries continues to be a hot topic. Yet, according to a CBS-YouGov poll: 85% of Americans don't support banning books from schools if they contain political ideas they disagree with; 87% don't support banning books discussing race or slavery; and 83% don’t think books should be banned for criticizing people and events in US history. If you are interested in intellectual freedom and supporting the freedom to read, this article by librarian Angie Manfredi offers suggestions on how to take action in your community. The American Library Association and the National Coalition on Censorship also offer toolkits on fighting censorship.



February 27, 6:00p.m.: NWPC-VA Policy Team Meeting                        If you are interested in discussing NWPC-VA policy and legislative initiatives for next year, come to the Policy Committee Meeting this Sunday at 6pm. Use this Zoom link. All are welcome.


March 3, 12:00p.m.: League of Women Voters Women’s History Month Panel                                                                                           

In the wake of the 2020 Presidential Election, the right to vote is in a vulnerable state, with new barriers popping up every week. This panel discussion will feature voices and perspectives of the League of Women Voters ,LULAC, and Black Voters Matter, organizations working to build more trust in our elections, grow our electorate with equity, and create fairness for voter access. Panelists include:

  • Virginia Kase Solomón, League of Women Voters CEO
  • Amanda Brown Lierman, SuperMajority executive director
  • Sindy M. Benavides, LULAC CEO
  • LaTosha Brown, Black Voters Matter co-founder

RSVP here.

March 3 & 4: Columbia University Law Symposium on the Equal Rights Amendment

In this online symposium, organized by Columbia Law School's ERA Project and the Journal of Gender and Law, panelists will discuss the history and revitalization of the Equal Rights Amendment, going in depth into the constitutional requirements for the amendment ratification process, legal and political hurdles, and the current challenges to its implementation. What are the paths forward? What does an inclusive and feminist ERA look like, what would it mean, and why do we need it? Visit their website for a full schedule and to register.

March 5, 10:00 a.m.: Harrisonburg’s International Women’s Day March

International Women’s Day 2022 will be celebrated in Harrisonburg on Saturday, March 5, 2022. Celebrants will start gathering at 10 a.m. near the Farmer’s Market at City Hall (409 S. Main St.) and will march at 10:30 to the rally at Court Square. All are welcome to come to celebrate women's achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality. More here.

March 8, 5:00 p.m.: IWD 2022: Celebrating Loudoun County's Female+ Farmers and Allies

Join us for a potluck and group discussion aimed at empowering our young farmers to overcome challenges and create connections and community. Get your tickets here. This event will be held in an open and airy barn, so please dress accordingly.

March 8, 7:00 p.m.: Charlottesville NOW presents Bringing Global Feminism Home 

On International Women's Day, Charlottesville NOW presents a program on global feminism with powerful presentations from Kolieka Seigle, President of DemocraShe, and Jan Strout, President of Montana NOW and co-leader of the Bozeman CEDAW Initiative. Formerly co-chairs of NOW's Global Feminist National Committee, their presentation at the 2021 National NOW Conference was hugely popular with attendees. Also presenting is Prasidha Padmanabhan, Founder and Director of WEAR, an organization created to write women back into history, and combat sexism through education and advocacy. She worked to get one of the US’s largest school systems to include more women’s history in the curriculum. Register for this online event here


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US Women’s Nation Soccer Team Settles Pay Discrimination Lawsuit 

On Feb. 21, the US Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) players settled their gender-based pay discrimination lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation for $24 million, most of which will go toward back pay. The federation will also put monies into a fund for USWNT players' post-career goals and charitable efforts, with each player able to apply for up to $50,000. While the agreement falls short of the $66 million that the players had sought in back pay, it still amounts to a significant victory.

Watch Fannie Lou Hamer's America 

"Nobody's free until everybody's free." This month on America ReFramed, PBS airs the documentary on NWPC co-founder Fannie Lou Hamer. A Mississippi sharecropper-turned-human-rights-activist, she was a key organizer for voting rights, a candidate for Congress, founder of the Freedom Farm Cooperative, and more. The film highlights this amazing woman and her essential work. Check broadcast details or stream the doc here. Read an interview with Hamer’s grandniece Monica Land, one of the film’s producers, here.




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