Gov. Northam chooses committee members to examine racial inequity in VA law

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Northam on Tuesday announced the members for a new committee that will examine Virginia’s laws to identify those that promote or enable racial discrimination.

The Commission To Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law will review the Virginia Acts of AssemblyCode of Virginia, and administrative regulations to determine which laws may be fostering racial inequality, and make recommendations as to how to address them.

Governor Northam signed Executive Order 32, which established the Commission, on June 4, 2019.

Northam’s office says the Commission is part of his administration’s ongoing work to right historical inequities in areas like education, healthcare, and access to business opportunities.

“The members of this Commission are experts, scholars, and community leaders with diverse backgrounds and deep knowledge of civil rights, equity, and the law,” Gov. Northam said. “Racial discrimination is rooted in many of the laws that have historically governed our Commonwealth—identifying and eliminating racist and discriminatory language will help make Virginia more equitable for all who live and work here.”

The Commission will be chaired by Cynthia Hudson, Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia, and the first African-American woman to serve in the role.

The members appointed to the Commission are:

  • Andrew Block of Charlottesville, Attorney and Former Director, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice
  • Henry L. Chambers, Jr. of Henrico, Professor of Law, University of Richmond
  • Jill Hanken of Richmond, Health Attorney, Virginia Poverty Law Center
  • The Honorable Mike Herring of Richmond, Partner, McGuire Woods and Former Commonwealth’s Attorney, City of Richmond
  • Cynthia Hudson of Richmond, Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia
  • Carla Jackson of Chesterfield, Assistant Commissioner for Legal Affairs, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles
  • The Honorable Birdie Hairston Jamison of Richmond, Retired Judge, Richmond General District Court
  • The Honorable Jerrauld Jones of Norfolk, Chief Judge, Norfolk Circuit Court
  • Leslie Chambers Mehta of Chesterfield, Chief of Staff and Counsel to the CEO, Richmond Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The first meeting of the Commission will take place on Monday, September 9. The Commission has said that it will issue an interim report with its findings and recommendations by November 15.

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