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December 6, 2019

Gov. Ralph Northam earlier this year directed a nine-member Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law to review laws enacted in Virginia between 1900 and 1960. Following the release of the Commission's interim report, the ACLU of Virginia has reviewed its findings and recommendations. The following statement can be attributed to Claire Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia:

"The Commission's interim report makes clear that Jim Crow is still alive and well in Virginia, enshrined in our laws and how those laws are being used to perpetuate racism and systemic oppression. We applaud the effort to remove antiquated, racist laws from the Code of Virginia.

"We believe Virginia lawmakers cannot wait to take action this session, however, to move Virginia toward racial justice at the ballot box, in our criminal legal system and at school and work. Virginia lawmakers need not wait for further study to pass legislation to address current laws that target communities of color and worsen racial disparities in our prisons and jails. We urge action now to legalize marijuana, end felony disenfranchisement, increase the felony threshold, and cap off the school-to-prison pipeline."