In June 2020, Virginia trauma-informed community networks convened to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on at-promised communities and the modern civil rights movement. They felt an innate urge to respond and react to two pandemics, COVID-19 and racism as a public health crisis. In response, there became a clear need to concentrate efforts on the impact of cultural, racial, and historical trauma on marginalized communities. This influenced them to launch Virginia’s first-ever Racial Truth & Reconciliation Week (RTRW) from August 2-8, 2020, which served as the launch of Racial Truth & Reconciliation Virginia, a campaign that implements the mission and goals of the week over a longer period of time.
How Voices Works:
Intersectionality addresses the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage; a theoretical approach based on such a premise
Equity seeks to eliminate disparities that are based on social factors or demographics, such as race, by delivering resources in the amount and manner that is necessary to meet the needs of the individual, family, and community. Equity should exist across health, geography, economic and social status, racial, gender identity and sexual orientation.
Trauma-informed policies are designed to raise awareness about trauma—both primary and secondary—and promote trauma-informed practice. These policies typically apply to the workforce. Examples include regulations that require agencies to provide trauma-informed staff trainings to receive funding.
Social justice is an acknowledgement that social constructs, such as race, gender norms, and class, are ingrained in every component of our society. Equity in parallel with justice is an outcome and process of addressing the systems so that all members of society have the same basic rights, protection, opportunities, obligations, and social benefits. As a process, justice is applied when those most impacted by inequity are meaningfully involved in the implementation of the institutional policies and practices that impact their lives.
2022 Racial Truth & Reconciliation: Just Futures for Children & Young People Priorities
The pandemic as a trauma in parallel with the inadvertent impact of cultural, racial, and historical trauma creates collectively experienced compound trauma across generations. Creating a sense of belonging and a just future for Virginia will require intersectional approaches, including equitable, trauma-informed, and just policies that dismantle systemic barriers so that all young people have access to leading long, healthy, and successful lives. According to Voices, The State of Virginia’s Children Data Snapshot of Children, Youth, and Families, data shows that the racial and ethnic diversity of children and youth have increased in the state. In Virginia, 1 in 4 children are immigrants or living in an immigrant family.
Bill(s) We Support:
Language Access Equity Report & Interagency Work Group| SB 270| Senator Hashmi| Establishes the Interagency Language Access Working Group in the Office of the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the following membership: the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the Director of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, the Governor’s Secretaries, and six nonlegislative citizen members representing organizations that represent individuals with language access needs. The Working Group is established to maximize state policies, resources, technical assistance, and procurement practices to further language access and equity in the Commonwealth and its state government agencies. The bill also requires each state agency to designate a language access coordinator who will be responsible for the agency’s annual language access report, the requirements of which are set out in the bill. The Secretary of Administration is directed to establish criteria for state agencies to procure language interpretation and translation services and to establish a policy for compensating multilingual state employees who are required as part of their job to provide interpretation, translation, or other bilingual skills at least once a month. There is another version of this legislation in the House, HB 1049|Delegate Tran.
- Status: SB 270- Referred to Finance & Appropriations
- Status: HB 1049- Assigned to General Laws Subcommittee 1
Monitor: Creates Secretary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Governor’s Office| SB 153| Senator Locke| Eliminates the position of Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Office of the Governor and establishes the position of Secretary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, to be appointed by the Governor and to assist the Governor and Governor’s Secretaries in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at the state level. The bill outlines the responsibilities of the Secretary. The bill makes several changes in Code to reflect the new position by eliminating references to the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and replacing these references with the Secretary of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
- Status: Referred to Finance & Appropriations
Budget Amendment(s) We Support:
Language Access & Equity Report| Item 56 #1s| Senator Hashmi | This amendment provides $50,000 GF each year for costs associated with SB 270, introduced for consideration by the 2022 General Assembly, which would establish the Interagency Language Access Working Group in the Office of the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
ARPA Funding for Translational Services| Item 486 #13h| Central Appropriations| This amendment provides $2.5 million each year from American Rescue Plan Act funds to create a grant program for localities to apply for funding to help translate information related to the availability of childcare, housing, healthcare, transportation, taxes, and other government services and benefits. The information would be translated into languages other than English that are most commonly used by residents of that locality. Translated information may include pamphlets, fact sheets, public service announcements in print or radio, websites, web applications, and other communication, outreach, and marketing tools and activities intended to reach residents of that locality and inform them of the availability of key government services and benefits
Governor’s Budget Item(s):
Racial Reconciliation Events & Programming: Provides funding for Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion event planning, marketing, contracting, and supplies for events such as Juneteenth, the First African Landing event at Fort Monroe, Racial Truth and Reconciliation week, potential crisis community conversations, and any other related Governor’s Office events, $15,000 the first year and $15,000 the second year.
Language Access: Provides GF funding to state agencies to facilitate and improve language access, $7.9 the first year and $2.9M the second year.
Language Access & Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion: Provide funding for language access and equity efforts: Provides funding and four positions within the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) for a Deputy Diversity Officer for Immigrant Integration, an Assistant Director for Access/Functional Needs for People with Disabilities, and two American Sign Language interpreters to support the Office of the Governor and ODEI, $543,036 4 FTE positions the first year and $543,036 with 4 FTE positions the second year.
Creates A Benefit Navigator Program: Funds a pilot program in the Office of New Americans that competitively award grants to immigrant‐ and refugee‐serving organizations. These grants will provide intensive case management to limited English proficiency individuals to assist them with applying for critical public services. Grants also will be competitively awarded to refugee resettlement agencies to ensure that immigrants and refugees receive equitable services by expanding the agencies’ capacity to provide legal services, case management, and assistance finding health care, housing, education, and employment. The budget includes a total of $8M and two restricted positions are funded for the duration of the pilot to handle the administrative needs of the program.
Integrated E-referral system: Provides appropriation to contract for an integrated e-referral system. The purpose of the system is to connect government agencies, health care providers, and community-based partners to enable participants in the system to refer patients to public health and social services, $8M for the first year and $8M for the second year.