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Since 1981, the Coalition for Justice has sought to bring together groups and individuals in the New River Valley and beyond to nurture a grassroots movement for positive social change. Although CFJ was formed in response to the Reagan administration's support for the Nicaragua government's violent repression of progressive movements, we have come to take an intersectional approach and see that we are part of a larger human rights community where all people's struggles for peace, justice, and dignity must be observed and supported.


Any form of oppression cannot be viewed in isolation because all forms of oppression are connected. Be it classism, cisgenderism, nativism, colonialism, sexism, racism, homophobia, etc.,  all forms of oppression exist at a cultural and institutional level and are connected by a common root: economic power and institutional control over people, animals, and the land. The control over resources, knowledge, power, wealth, force, and status is what connects all forms of oppression, and the results are devastating. in order to successfully work against oppression, it is important to understand this interconnectivity. We are an organization that not only upholds the empowerment of people, the protection of the environment, and respect for cultural differences but is also committed to the struggle against all forms of oppression. We do so in solidarity with other volunteer and grassroots organizations through education, community involvement, and action.

The Coalition's working committees have changed throughout the years, but our mission to engage and empower continues.

Our Prisoner Rights Committee works directly with incarcerated people. In a system with an over-reliance on prisons and jails and the harm they produce, we hear hundreds of stories of people in crisis and work to ensure that their rights are observed. As part of the restorative justice movement, we address these interpersonal harms but also work to promote justice, accountability, and resolution. Our monthly newsletter, which goes to every state prison in Virginia, provides much-needed information on legislation and serves as a platform for people in prison to be heard through their poetry and reflections. From there, we went on to produce the bi-annual journal “Unlocked: Art and Experiences Inside Virginia’s Prisons.” in collaboration with the Virginia Tech Center For Humanities. With this project, we seek to amplify the voices of the incarcerated in our state through their poems, spoken word, personal reflections, and artwork. In doing so, we not only lift the concerns and creativity of those behind bars but also provide a healing space where imagination and talent serve to restore and empower.  

Our Worker Rights Committee allies with union organizers and worker justice organizations across the state to empower workers as part of the movement to build collective worker power. We work to educate and build solidarity to strengthen our communities and build support for working people.



The Coalition for Justice originated in early 1981 as a Virginia Tech student organization opposing the Reagan administration's support for the Salvadoran government's violent repression of progressive movements.  It soon expanded its focus to Nicaragua, where the US government was organizing and supporting a proxy war against the democratic and socialist revolutionary government, and to Guatemala, whose right-wing government was slaughtering tens of thousands with the US government's tacit blessing.  The Coalition sponsored visiting speakers and other educational events that drew large crowds; participated in many protests against US intervention in Central America, including a weekly noon vigil at Blacksburg's downtown post office; held beans and rice suppers; and published a newsletter named ¡Presente! 

When Central America's violence began to wane in the early 1990s, the Coalition for Justice scaled back its efforts but expanded its scope. Though it retained a Latin American emphasis, the Coalition began to focus on local peace and justice issues and on global conflicts. From participation in the Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization, to observing the 2001 Nicaraguan elections as part of a US team invited by the Sandinista labor federation, we have also participated in a Voices in the Wilderness delegation to Iraq to see the deadly effects of US-promoted sanctions between the two Iraq wars. The Coalition has also promoted anti-sweatshop activism, served as a center of support for opposition to the School of the Americas, and had a significant presence in local anti-war efforts. Our goal is to nurture the social justice community in the New River Valley and we look forward to cooperating with new local efforts for peace and justice.

Thanks to our long time partner, the New River Free Press, who worked with us from 1985-2007.

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