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Spanberger Concludes Two-Day, Civil Rights-Focused Tour in Central Virginia, Advocates for the Dignity of All Seventh District Residents

During Her Seven-Stop Tour, the Congresswoman Met with Henrico CASA, the Legal Aid Justice Center, ChildFund International, the disAbility Law Center of Virginia, Housing Families First, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, & Side by Side

 **Click Here for Photo Albums from the Two-Day Tour**

HENRICO, V.A. —  U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger yesterday concluded a two-day, civil rights-focused tour in Central Virginia.

To better inform her work in the U.S. House, Spanberger focused her civil rights tour on learning more about the priorities of the Seventh District’s underserved and marginalized communities—and those who advocate for them and work to strengthen our communities. During her seven-stop tour, Spanberger met with local advocates, community organizations, nonprofits, and volunteers to focus on regional issues related to economic justice, childhood poverty, disability rights, racial justice, homelessness, anti-discrimination, LGBTQ equality, and more.

“The dignity of our neighbors deserves to be defended. Whether through protecting voting rights, speaking out against discrimination, or guarding children from abuse, Central Virginians have demonstrated remarkable leadership in addressing the complex and generational challenges faced by our vulnerable populations,” said Spanberger. “The leadership, staff, and volunteers at these community-focused organizations have not only stepped up to provide assistance in times of urgent need, but they’ve also empowered their fellow Central Virginia residents to achieve their full potential. During our two-day tour, I saw firsthand the dedication of these remarkable Seventh District residents, and their commitment motivates my efforts in the House to achieve equal protections and equal opportunity for all.”

On Tuesday, Spanberger met with Henrico CASA and toured its facilities, held a roundtable discussion at the Legal Aid Justice Center, visited the campus of ChildFund International, and met with the leadership and staff of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia. To begin her two-day tour, Spanberger toured Henrico CASA’s office and discussed the non-profit’s work on behalf of abused and neglected children in the greater Richmond area. At ChildFund International’s headquarters in Henrico, the Congresswoman learned more about the organization’s work to combat childhood poverty in the United States and around the world. Spanberger then held a roundtable discussion with the Legal Aid Justice Center, where she heard about the non-profit’s partnerships with community members to address inequalities created by the intersection of race and poverty throughout Central Virginia. And to conclude the first day of her tour, she met with the disAbility Law Center of Virginia to hear from advocates who have worked to protect local residents facing discrimination due to their disability.

“We’d like to thank Congresswoman Spanberger for visiting Henrico CASA as part of her civil rights tour and for standing up for some of Central Virginia’s most vulnerable residents,” said Jeannine Panzera, Executive Director, Henrico CASA. “By giving abused and neglected children a voice, we are laying the foundations for a stronger and healthier Henrico community. We look forward to keeping Congresswoman Spanberger updated about our organization’s work to find a safe and happy home for all Central Virginia children.”

“We’ve appreciated Congresswoman Spanberger’s leadership on key issues affecting children worldwide, including ending violence against them,” said Anne Lynam Goddard, President & CEO, ChildFund International. “Our conversation highlighted the fact that child well-being affects all of us, domestically and abroad. It was invaluable to exchange ideas on how to achieve that shared goal.”

“We jumped at the opportunity to talk to Representative Spanberger about the role of legal services in dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty,” said Angela Ciolfi, Executive Director, Legal Aid Justice Center. “Access to justice doesn't just mean access to the courts. It means having seats at the table where decisions are made.” 

“The disAbility Law Center of Virginia was grateful to be included in the Congresswoman’s Civil Rights tour,” said Colleen Miller, Director, disAbility Law Center of Virginia. “We were pleased that Representative Spanberger recognizes that disability rights are civil rights. Thank you for the opportunity to demonstrate some of the amazing work we do at dLCV!”

On Wednesday, Spanberger learned about the efforts of Housing Families First, met with the leadership of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and held a discussion with staff and students at Side by Side. To hear about the organization’s work to secure affordable housing for all Central Virginians, Spanberger joined a roundtable discussion at Housing Families First to hear from local groups about the current issues regarding sustainable healthcare and housing access across the region—and she also toured the organization’s Hilliard House shelter. Spanberger then met with the leadership and staff of the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to discuss how the values of inclusion and inequality can be better integrated into Central Virginia businesses and schools. And to close her two-day civil rights and advocacy tour, Spanberger spoke with staff, local partners, and youth at Side by Side about the ongoing issues impacting LGBTQ youth.

“We at Housing Families First are grateful for Congresswoman Spanberger’s time, her regional and national leadership, and her willingness to engage in sincere discussion about safe, affordable housing as a right for everyone in Central Virginia,” said Beth Vann-Turnbull, Executive Director, Housing Families First.

“In recent years, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities has experienced unprecedented demand for our programs and services,” said Jonathan C. Zur, President & CEO, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities. “We were honored to meet with Congresswoman Spanberger to discuss our work with schools, businesses, and communities, and we look forward to partnering with her and elected officials across the Commonwealth to advance inclusion and equity.”

“We are grateful that Congresswoman Spanberger took time to meet with Side by Side, our youth, and our partners to discuss the needs of LGBTQ+ youth in her district,” said Ted Lewis, Executive Director, Side by Side. “She has been and remains committed to being a strong ally to our community in Congress.”

Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has fought to protect the civil rights, security, and wellbeing of all Central Virginians. Last week, Spanberger passed a bipartisan resolution to remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and she also helped introduce a resolution to recognize the growing maternal mortality crisis in the United States—particularly among women of color.

And last year, Spanberger helped introduce and pass the Equality Act, which would expand protections for LGBTQ people in Central Virginia and across the country.

Spanberger is also a cosponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would renew protections against unfair and suppressive voting laws and practices. The U.S. House passed this legislation in December 2019.

BACKGROUND

Throughout her time in the U.S. House, Spanberger has held multiple two-day, issue-focused tours to hear concerns directly from her constituents. Last month, Spanberger held a nine-stop business tour focused on expanding opportunity for local workers and fostering sustainable economic growth for Central Virginia businesses.

In November 2019, she convened a two-day healthcare tour, in September 2019 she held a two-day education tour, and in August 2019 she participated in a two-day farm tour.

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