Blacksburg, VA Chapter
Blacksburg Chapter of the Coalition for Justice
The Blacksburg chapter of the Coalition for Justice has a mission to work, with intention, to support anti-oppression efforts in our community through advocacy, education, and action and by working with other groups in alignment with our mission. We work to end mistreatment and violence against those most impacted by oppression.
In 1989 Blacksburg designated San Jose de Bocay a Sister City. Since the 1990s, the Sister City Committee has raised donations for Bocay from Blacksburg area residents to support many of today’s Bocay school teachers’ college educations. Earlier donations raised by the Committee helped build San José de Bocay’s elementary school. This committee was created because on April 28, 1987, Benjamin Ernest Linder, was killed in a contra attack while working on a dam project to bring electricity to the people of San José del Bocay, Nicaragua. Linder’s tragic death horrified many throughout the US and the international community, which resulted in a call to end to U.S. funding of the contras. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega said: “He did not come on a flight carrying arms, nor with millions of dollars; he came on a flight carrying the dreams which were born of his conviction.”
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!
We have two working committees: A Prison Justice Committee and the Migrant Justice Committee. We also have a prisoner rights committee of the SW Virginia National Lawyers Guild chapter.