When we started, we had a $50,000 grant and one staffer. Groundswell’s early-stage development is critical to creating more of us. The returns may not be immediate but when they pour in, they will be exponential and will transform our movement, creating new leaders and stronger women-of-color-led organizations.Tram Nguyen
Co-Director, New Virginia Majority
Intersectional Communities and Intersectional Issues
New Virginia Majority
New Virginia Majority (NVM) has helped transform Virginia politics over the past decade. Centered in working-class communities of color in Virginia’s urban areas, NVM engages, educates, and develops the leadership of communities of color, women, working people, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and youth, centering the leadership and demands of working-class women of color.
Together, NVM’s base communities mobilize and engage to end mass incarceration, build just economic policies, protect immigrants, and preserve the environment. In its history, NVM has registered more than 200,000 voters and knocked on over one million doors over the past six years.
NVM organizing also helped elect a legislature that reflects the state’s demographics, including 11 more women and the first two Latinas ever elected; this sea change helped enable the expansion of Medicaid to nearly 400,000 people.
Image courtesy of New Virginia Majority
Long-Term Strategies Push Back on Restrictive Voting Laws
In 2016, NVM’s organizing helped win the restoration of voting rights to more than 150,000 formerly incarcerated people; since then, it has registered more than 20,000 of those same people to vote.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, NVM advocacy helped move the state to no-excuse absentee ballot voting in order to encourage vote by mail. Following this success, NVM has ramped up public education about how to register to vote and obtain an absentee ballot and created a new app that allows people to register online.
In 2018, NVM began a multi-year voter contact program to hold the Democratic trifecta they achieved in state offices. This multi-year program continues in 2021, through which they are mobilizing their base for the Governor’s seat and the House of Delegates.
In a landmark victory, NVM was instrumental in the passage of Virginia’s Voting Rights Act to protect community voters and expand ballot access. Virginia is the first state in the U.S. South to do so in response to the gutting of the federal Voting Rights Action by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision.