The National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) is proud and excited to announce its endorsement of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president of the United States of America.
Our nation has waited centuries for this moment and our members have spent four years preparing for this moment—to reject the misogyny, racism and corruption of the Trump presidency and bring honor, decency, justice and feminist leadership to the White House.
Women have been demanding this day for far too long.
We have been waiting since Abigail Adams reminded her husband to ‘remember’ the ladies, since Sojourner said ‘ain’t I a woman,’ since Ida B. Wells strode to the front of the line and took her rightful place in a suffragist march. And in the 100 years since women demanded and achieved the vote, since the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts were signed in ’64 and ’65, and in the 56 years since NOW was founded.
We are going to have a woman vice president and she will get there because we’re ready to truly win.
Kamala Harris is the daughter of immigrants who frequently speaks of her heritage and the inspiration she draws from her Jamaican and Indian parents. She is a Black woman who recognizes that she stands “on the shoulders” of giants who came before her, especially those like Shirley Chisholm, one of the original founders of NOW and the woman who received NOW’s first presidential endorsement. As she recently told an interviewer, “[Chisolm] understood that you just march to that podium, and you claim that podium as yours, you don’t ask anybody permission.”
NOW has more than fifty years history of marching to podiums, speaking truth to power, not asking permission—and winning important victories. In 2018, voters agreed with this agenda and elected the most diverse Congress in history. Now, we can elect a woman vice president because women are mobilizing the largest feminist voting force in our history.
Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to be his most trusted advisor, and Joe Biden is applying the same standard to his own choice. His choice of Kamala Harris to be vice president is evidence he intends to be a feminist champion in the White House.
The 2020 elections are an historic opportunity for women to elect a new president, to take the gavel from Mitch McConnell, and give it to someone who supports women. We look forward to Vice President Kamala Harris presiding over a feminist Senate Majority, and a Biden/Harris Administration that defends and strengthens women’s rights, civil rights and justice for every community that is being harmed by the Trump administration today.
Testimony on “School-to-Prison Pipeline”
Delivered August 6, 2020, to Joint Hearing of Committee on Public Safety and Courts of Justice Committee
The Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) – the nation’s largest feminist advocacy organization – welcomes this opportunity to submit comments on the impact on women and girls of racial inequities in the criminal justice system. We represent more than 5,000 members and supporters throughout the Commonwealth, dedicated to advancing equal rights and gender equity. We commend the House leadership for holding these hearings and emphasize the pressing need to address the impact of racism in our justice system on women and girls of color. The impact of the school-to-prison pipeline and the abuse-to-prison pipeline on girls and young women is one of the most critical priorities.
A 2008 U.S. Department of Justice study showed that the increased arrest and incarceration of girls over the past 20 years has not been the result of increased criminal activity or violence. Instead, more girls are being arrested and incarcerated because of the aggressive enforcement of non-serious offenses, many of which stem from abuse and trauma.
The Virginia Legal Aid Justice Center reported in 2015 that “Resource starvation, unaddressed academic failure, suspension and expulsion, and school policing are pushing students out of school and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” The impact on Black students was much greater than on White students; however, there was no data on gender disparities.
The National YWCA, which is dedicated to serving women and girls, reported in a briefing paper that "From police responses to domestic violence and threats in their homes and neighborhoods, to the policing of pregnancy and motherhood, to their experiences of 'driving while female,' girls and women of color experience criminalization and racial profiling by law enforcement in ways that are overlooked by the current policy narrative." [Source: We Deserve Safety - Ending the Criminalization of Women & Girls of Color, 2017]
Also in 2015, a major report by Georgetown University and others stated that “the girls’ sexual abuse to prison pipeline” cuts across every divide of race, class, and ethnicity and especially criminalizes girls of color. "The facts are staggering: one in four American girls will experience some form of sexual violence by the age of 18. ..And in a perverse twist of justice, many girls who experience sexual abuse are routed into the juvenile justice system because of their victimization. Indeed, sexual abuse is one of the primary predictors of girls’ entry into the juvenile justice system."
The organization Justice Forward Virginia, writing about school resource officers and the funneling of children from the school system to the criminal legal system (the “school-to-prison pipeline”), says:
"The data suggests …that the presence of police in schools leads to the overcriminalization of youthful behavior. ..The most striking data related to Black girls, who made up 17% of the school population, but made up 43% of the students arrested or referred to law enforcement for prosecution."
We need a comprehensive legal approach to decriminalizing behaviors in school that will dismantle the “school-to-prison pipeline” and the “abuse-to-prison pipeline” that applies to girls and young women. Virginia NOW asks the General Assembly to make this a priority.