RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia House of Delegates voted Monday night to make a new Civil Rights Office in the Office of Attorney General permanent.
Attorney General Mark Herring, who announced the creation of the office last month, called it a “big moment in Virginia’s long and continuing journey to live up to its promise of equality for all.”
Herring has worked very hard to make permanent. He and local NAACP representatives believe this is one of the steps they need to better the commonwealth.
“Every Virginian has the right to live free from discrimination, and free from the fear that they might be denied an opportunity or treated differently because of who they are, what they look like, how they worship, or whom them love,” AG Herring said in a press release. “I created the Office of Civil Rights to enhance and centralize our ongoing work to protect, defend, and expand Virginians’ civil rights, and to make sure Virginians know that, as their attorney general, I will always stand up and fight for them if they encounter discrimination. By making this office a permanent part of the OAG, we are showing Virginians that we have turned the page on a past when attorneys general either ignored, or actually fought against, the civil rights of the people they were supposed to serve.”
The new office includes thirteen staff members, including seven attorneys.
“Virginians should be proud to know that protection and expansion of civil rights will now be a permanent part of the mission of the Office of Attorney General,” said Majority Leader Herring.
So what does work in this office look like?
“If you have been turned down when you go to rent an apartment, because of your race, or you have been turned down for alone, because of sexual orientation, or any type of discrimination like that, in employment, in housing and public accommodations, it means that you could go to the, the attorney general’s office, make a complaint. And we will take every single case seriously, we will investigate it and we will fight for you and make sure that discrimination wherever we see it comes to an end,” he said.
Local NAACP leader Gaylene Kanoyton says this will impact every minority community in the commonwealth.
“The extra layer of protection is what it is it’s an extra layer of protection is an extra layer of advocacy. You know, and so it was right there in the Attorney General’s Office. I mean, of course, that’s what we do with the NAACP. You know, we want to protect people’s civil rights. I mean, that’s, that’s what we’re here for, you know, but to have an attorney general to have an office of the civil rights is a bit is huge.”