For Immediate Release: January 19, 2024
Media Contact: Carliana Harris, [email protected]
Flickr album Here
Woodbridge, Virginia – As Virginia’s legislative session launches, and as we navigate this pivotal period, CASA assumes a leading role in championing policies that prioritize the well-being, economic stability, and opportunities for Virginia’s Black, Latine, indigenous, and immigrant communities. CASA’s focus revolves around advocating for a $15 minimum wage, healthcare access for every child, and enabling local rent stabilization to address skyrocketing housing costs.
Vote YES FOR HB1/SB1 $15 Minimum Wage: In 2020, Virginia took significant strides by committing to a phased minimum wage increase. However, the fight persists in 2024 to actualize this promise. Amidst the challenges of high rent and healthcare costs, the urgency to achieve a $15 minimum wage by 2026 cannot be overstated. This increase is not only essential for families to meet their needs but is also critical for students, particularly CASA Members, facing financial barriers hindering their college success. Elevating the minimum wage is a gateway to equal opportunities and increased graduation rates for Latine students.
“As we work to raise the minimum wage to $13.50, House Democrats remain committed to improving the lives of Virginia workers,” said Delegate Jeion Ward, Chair of Labor and Commerce and chief patron of the bill. “The minimum wage is a crucial standard, and increasing this rate sets a firm floor under Virginia’s most vulnerable and hardest workers.”
Vote YES FOR HB970/SB231 Healthcare for All Children: Richmond resident Adela Hernandez, a devoted immigrant mother, emphasizes the crucial need for healthcare access for her child. As a hardworking taxpayer contributing significantly to Virginia’s economy, Adela underscores the importance of ensuring her children can access essential healthcare for their development and well-being.
“Every child throughout the Commonwealth, regardless of income, immigration status, and background should have access to quality, comprehensive healthcare. We know that a healthy childhood leads to better health, education, and economic outcomes for children and their families,” said Senator Ghazala Hashmi, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education and Health. “With the Cover All Kids Act, we are sending a strong message that Virginia will invest in the future of each and every child.”
“It’s not just about my family; it’s about the well-being of our entire community. Healthcare for all children is a fundamental right that we must prioritize,” explains CASA Member Adela Hernandez.
Vote YES FOR HB721/SB366 Anti-rent Gouging: Virginia faces a critical dilemma with Dillon’s Rule currently prohibiting localities from implementing rent stabilization. Rent hikes have far outpaced inflation, with many landlords taking advantage. Rent stabilization caps exorbitant rent increases, thereby keeping housing more affordable and protecting tenants from being forced to move constantly.
CASA member Ramon Paz emphasizes the impact on economic stability, security, and unsatisfactory living conditions. “I have resided in Prince William County for many years, and in the last five years, we have seen a significant increase in rent—rising almost 15%, reaching an approximate cost of $2,000 in a 2-bedroom apartment, not including bills. This is very worrisome because it causes many families to be displaced from their homes or to experience shortages in their households, as more is spent on rent. Housing is a fundamental human right and for this reason I am asking today that the Virginia General Assembly support legislation that would stabilize the cost of rents and improve this difficult situation that we Virginians face year after year with the increase in rent.”
“People want to remain in their own homes in their own neighborhoods, where their kids go to school, where they head to work every morning. Endlessly escalating rent costs in the commercial market mean people can’t pay those increases every month and eventually move out,” said Eduardo Zelaya, CASA’s Virginia Organizing Director. “This legislation assures people the stability they need to know their costs and their increases, which will keep them in their home, giving the county the freedom to decide.”
CASA calls on legislators to champion these crucial initiatives for a better Virginia. By advocating for a $15 minimum wage, healthcare access for all children, and local rent stabilization, we are taking strides toward creating a Commonwealth that thrives on equality, economic stability, and the well-being of its residents.
With over 155,000 lifetime members across 46 US states, CASA is a national powerhouse organization building power and improving the quality of life in the working-class: Black, Latino/a/e, Afro-descendent, Indigenous, and Immigrant communities. CASA creates change with its powerbuilding model blending human services, community organizing, and advocacy in order to serve the full spectrum of the needs, dreams, and aspirations of members. www.wearecasa.org