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Events, service, and advocacy opportunities

Democracy Opportunities



Opportunities for the 2022 series on climate change and water
Opportunities for the 2020 series on ability and disability
Opportunities from the 2019 series on addiction 
Individual Actions
  • Help de-stigmatize addiction: Use person-first language (e.g. person with with substance use disorder rather than "addict")
  • Challenge people's biases surrounding addiction and mental health
  • Attend/support NARCAN training's
  • Support Harm Reduction programs (e.g. needle-exchange)
  • Volunteer to teach classes in jails or mental health facilities for people with substance use disorders
  • Support/volunteer with prison/jail re-entry programs
  • Volunteer at Bacon Street to support their prevention, education, and counseling services with youth and their families. 
  • Support decreased punishment (decriminalization) for misdemeanor possession charges
  • Advocate for improved access to substance use treatment
  • Advocate for access to medical assisted treatment in jails/prisons for substance use

Also, visit the Addiction Policy Forum, which lists many resources and advocacy opportunities.

Opportunities from the 2017 series on criminal justice

SB995/HB1534 is up for a vote Friday, February 17,  2017 in the House of Delegates. The law is aimed to reduce long-term suspensions; text is: Student discipline; long-term suspension. Prohibits a long-term suspension from extending beyond 60 school days unless the school board or the superintendent find that the student's behavior could constitute an offense of an enumerated crime if the offense occurred at school, on school property, or at a school-sponsored event. The bill requires the school board or the superintendent to conduct a review of any suspension that exceeds 60 days at the end of each grading period to determine if the student can return to school early.

According to the Legal Aid Justice Center, students who are excluded from school are more likely to experience academic failure and grade retention; dropping out of school; mental health issues; substance abuse; and justice system involvement. Schools with high suspension rates generally report lower test scores and graduation rates, and have less satisfactory climate ratings.A yes vote on this law could reduce suspension times to 11-90 days, rather than 11-364 days. The vote is currently tied and needs your voice. Call your Delegate and express your opinion NOW! Track the legislation here.

February 3 through March: Learn and connect is hosting an exhibit of their portraits of people who are connected to the criminal justice system, plus quotes, maps, and statistics, at UR Downtown, 626 E. Broad Street. The exhibit is available to travel to other locations as well.

February 18: Learn and connect

W&M’s annual Active Citizens conference, Saturday, February 18, is also built around the theme, The Daily Work of Justice. Keynote speaker Jeree Thomas, the Policy Director for The Campaign for Youth Justice, a national initiative focused on ending the practice of prosecuting, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under the age of 18 in the adult criminal justice system. Registrations are due February 8.

March 11: Volunteer and learn

Virginia Center for Restorative Justice is holding an Inintroduction to Restorative Justice session Saturday, March 11, 9 am - 5 pm at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, 11220 Nuckols Road, Suite 188, Glen Allen, VA 23059. Those who participate can volunteer for the VCRJ. Register for training now; there are only 20 spots available.

March 12 - 16: Faith-based opportunity

Outrageous Justice Small-group Sessions at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, Williamsburg, VA, 3 Sundays 6:30pm to 8pm –  March 12, 19, and 26. God calls people to seek justice. But given the complexities of our criminal justice system, how can the followers of Jesus have a clear understanding of criminal justice issues and take action to promote peace and restoration?  Small groups will learn about the challenges in the American criminal justice system and explore how Christians can respond in hands-on ways to pursue justice and bring about true hope, restoration, and healing. More information available here.

Ongoing: Get Involved

Join Black Lives Matter in Williamsburg.

Ongoing: Learn and connect

See more about Art 180's work to connect incarcerated teams, artists, and top legal experts to transform the juvenile justice system at Learn about the art and advocacy work, download free teaching tools, and request more information.

Ongoing: Volunteer and teach

OAR has a great need for volunteers to facilitate classes at the Henrico County Regional Jail East (New Kent).  The commitment is 1.5 hours per week. All curriculum, materials, and training are provided. Classes include: Anger Management, AA/NA, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy groups, Parenting, or Healthy Relationships. For more information, contact Hannah Brechlin, Community Engagement Coordinator at (804) 643-2746 or