PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — In 2009, Washington D.C area sniper John Allen Muhammad was killed by lethal injection at the Greensville Correctional Center.

Two years later, Jerry Terrell Jackson was executed for the death of 88-year-old Ruth Phillips of Williamsburg.

That was Virginia’s last execution — and the state’s largest faith-based justice advocacy group hopes the record will stay that way.

“When another person is electrocuted, all of us — all of humanity — are deeply impacted,” said the Rev. Dr. Duane Hardy of Henrico.

The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy has launched an effort to abolish capital punishment in Virginia this year.

On Jan. 22, the center will hold prayer vigils in five cities across Virginia to bring attention to a forthcoming bill to abolish the death penalty. In Norfolk, a prayer vigil will be held at noon in City Hall Plaza. Catholic Church of the Ascension in Virginia Beach will host a dialogue on the death penalty on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, from 7-8:30 p.m.

In a virtual news conference, members said the death penalty is part of the state’s horrific legacy of lynching, slavery and Jim Crow laws.

“So, if we are going to continue capital punishment in Virginia, all you are saying is that black lives don’t matter,” said rev. James Page of Alexandria, Va.

Norfolk pastor Dr. Keith Ivan Jones of Shiloh Baptist Church points to an imperfect justice system that has handed down irreversible mistakes.

“Witnesses and prosecutors and jurors can make mistakes. Innocent people have been executed,” said Jones.

Currently, two Virginia prisoners are on death row but no executions have been scheduled. A prison spokesperson confirmed both prisoners are Black.

According to a Gallup poll, 60% of Americans support life without parole and 36% favored the death penalty.

But, President Donald Trump, under his law and order campaign, resumed federal executions after a 17-year pause. Ten people have been put to death by lethal injection, which is more civilian deaths than in any year since 1896. Several senators have called for an independent review of the president’s soon-to-depart justice department.