Since 1981 the Coalition for Justice has sought to bring groups and individuals, in the New River Valley and beyond, together in order to nurture a grassroots movement for positive social change. Although CFJ was formed in response to the Reagan administration's support for the Salvadoran 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 are 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 for Justice has two committees, Prisoner Rights Committee and Migrant Worker Committee.
We formed a Prison Justice Committee, which is prisoner-organizer led. We sponsor VAPOC (Virginia Prisoner of Conscience), which is a site created by prisoners for prisoners which centers on change to the carceral system and serves as a platform for prisoner organizers. We are also co-founders of the Virginia Prison Justice Network (VAPJN), a network of groups around the state that work to end mass incarceration. The Coalition for Justice produces and sends out the Virginia Prison Justice Network newsletter that is sent to hundreds of prisoners, for free, over the majority of correctional facilities in our state. This newsletter helps inform prisoners of their rights, updates them on what is happening in our state in terms of legislation as well as news on other organizations within VAPJN.
We support the efforts of many organizations in our community and beyond as shown in our gallery page and have partnered with social justice student organizations at both Virginia Tech University and Radford University and have learned so much from them in terms of organizing and mobilizing for change. We hope that anyone in the New River Valley who wants to join us in our efforts to make change, will contact us!
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.