Civic Circle: February Updates

Celebrating Black History Month

In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week to be celebrated in the month of February. In 1969, Black Student Union organizers at Kent State University began the practice of honoring Black History Month in February. President Gerald Ford decreed national observance of Black History Month in 1976.

The contributions of Black folx to American history and in world history are still largely untold. We’re encouraging you to spend some time daily learning more about Black people’s contributions to the world against all odds.

The Virginia Civic Engagement Table celebrates and honors the accomplishments, contributions, and history of Black folx not only this month but every day. Happy Black History Month!



ICYMI: The Redistricting Commission met on Thursday, January 21 for two hours for its first official meeting. The commission successfully elected two chairpersons — Democratic citizen commissioner Greta J. Harris of Richmond and Republican citizen commissioner Mackenzie K. Babichenko of Mechanicsville. Additionally, the commission announced it would work with commissioner schedules to plan its future meetings, all of which remain currently unscheduled. Virginia voters are asked to direct questions about the commission to varedist@dls.virginia.govLearn more about Redistricting: 

To stay up to date with the Redistricting meetings and hearings, visit: 



Despite delayed redistricting data, a bill ensuring transparency & accessibility in the maps-drawing process has its final vote in the House today. If passed, it will head over to the Senate. This bill is an important additive to ensure Virginians receive language access, archived meeting recordings, the option to publicly comment & more—[Read more].

Legislative News

  • “The Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would abolish the death penalty (SB 1165), a measure that if passed into law would mark a major policy change for a state that over its centuries-long history has led the nation in the number of executions it has carried out.” (AP) [Read more]. 
  • “On the first day of Black History Month, legislators advanced a bill to help ensure voter protection for Virginia citizens.” (WRIC). The Voting Rights Act of Virginia (HB 1890) prohibits localities from using discriminatory methods in voting and election administration was passed in the House of Delegates. [Read more].
  • A bill giving undocumented immigrants the opportunity to receive state-based funding for higher education (SB 1387), introduced by Senator Jennifer Boysko, has passed the Virginia House and Senate. [Read more].

Virginia Progressive Leadership Project (VAPLP)

The Virginia Progressive Leadership Project (VAPLP) is the leadership development project of the Virginia Civic Engagement Table (VCET). Our 2021 cohort will be completely virtual.

Here are some highlights of the program:

  • Convenient: Completely virtual program! Due to the ongoing global pandemic, we will prioritize the health & safety of everyone by offering all workshops in a virtual format 
  • Commitment: Training workshops are only offered ONE weekend a month, so you can fit this program into your busy life! 
  • Accessible: No cost!  We understand that cost is often a barrier to participating in leadership development programs, so our program is completely free to participants. 
  • Equitable and Inclusive: Our work includes cultivating a diverse and progressive leadership pipeline in Virginia, driving collaboration through equitable and inclusive relationships, and growing shared capacity and resources for the progressive movement infrastructure in the Commonwealth. 
  • Mentorship: Each participant is given a mentor to support them in achieving their leadership goals 
  • Ongoing Support: Upon graduation, all alum are given access to skill-up workshops to support their current work. 

The application deadline is February 26, 2021. Find out more information at

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