We Demand Mass Clemency from Ralph Northam

We Demand Mass Clemency from Ralph Northam

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Clemency Virginia started this petition to Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam

Given the disgraceful past photos of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam that has now come to light, we, the undersigned, demand that Northam use his remaining time in office before his resignation to grant mass clemency to as many pending cases as possible, with an emphasis on freeing incarcerated black people.

In addition to a resignation, we believe that mass clemency is the most appropriate next step for Northam to take in order to right his wrongs to the black community in Virginia that he betrayed given that:

  • The current state of mass incarceration, also known as “The New Jim Crow,” is a continuation of our nation’s racist past. Black people in Virginia are disproportionately punished and harmed by the state’s criminal & legal system which, in many ways, is an extension of the state’s white supremacist history.
  • The Governor has the unique power to alleviate the harm caused by incarceration & this history

When Ralph Northam ran against Ed Gillespie in 2017, voters of color overwhelmingly supported him in part due to his comparatively more progressive criminal justice platform. If his heart has truly changed since 1984, he must prove it. It is time for Northam to enact those promises NOW to the best of his ability. Regardless of who is in the Governor's seat, this is a non-negotiable step towards racial reconciliation in Virginia. Clemency for ALL, including, but not limited to:

  • Clemency for all persons with crimes involving marijuana, given that Northam campaigned on decriminalizing weed, and given that black people in Virginia are over 3x more likely to be arrested for weed
  • Clemency for all persons with criminal records or who are currently serving time due to criminalized poverty, including clemency for all persons who have stolen items worth under $1000 who continue to be impacted by Virginia’s abnormally low felony larceny threshold, and including all impacted by Virginia’s arcane habitual drunkard law
  • Clemency for all incarcerated persons impacted by Virginia’s inconsistent jury sentencing process
  • Clemency for all incarcerated persons with long sentences due to Virginia’s lack of parole
  • Clemency for all persons on death row
  • Clemency for all political prisoners
  • Pardons and expungement of records for all persons who are or have been caught up in juvenile prisons, given Virginia’s extremely racist school to prison pipeline
  • Pardons and expungement of records for all immigrants for whom a criminal record leads to an increased chance of deportation
  • Clemency for all survivors of sexual violence
  • Clemency for all persons with mental illnesses
  • Clemency for all who have been tortured by Virginia’s inhumane practice of solitary confinement
  • Clemency for all incarcerated elderly people
  • Clemency for all incarcerated persons who continue to be punished for acts that happened before or during the time of Northam’s blackface photo.
  • Immediate restoration of voting rights for all returning citizens upon release
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