South Hampton Roads

About the South Hampton Roads Chapter

The South Hampton Roads Chapter of Virginia Organizing meets every other month at 7 p.m. at Thalia United Methodist Church, 4321 Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach. We have created issue teams so that folks can address their specific passions while standing in solidarity together in supporting each other on all issues of social justice that have been agreed upon by the chapter supporters. We are currently working collaboratively with like-minded allies on the issues of Health Care,  Economic Justice and Tax Equity, Immigration Reform, Affordable Housing, Jobs, Predatory Lending, Keeping the Ban on Uranium Mining, Transportation and Voter Protection/ Suppression Issues in the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach. What's the greatest need in your community? Please join us and find out how you can make a difference!

Care for Our Earth

By Ed Maroni The future of our Earth for coming generations is bleak if we of our present world delay taking strong action to remedy our Earth's struggle to provide us sustenance. Her resources on which all living creatures depend for survival are shrinking while the demand is increasing due to population growth. The impact of such a combination for living creatures will soon be catastrophic. Food and water will become a premium for which people will be scrambling to secure, resulting in more factory farms and, perhaps, synthetic foods. Our energy supply will be in much higher demand; so, destructive practices like fracking, the harvesting of tar sand and off shore drilling will increase. Drinkable water will be a premium people will do anything for (more uranium mining, chemical, coal and nuclear plants will pose a greater threat as actually happened to the residents just outside Charleston, W. Va.). The likelihood of military action to acquire these vital resources will be initiated. China is one example of a country low on its own resources to satisfy its population and now encroaching on other nations to obtain them. The situation is tentative but each one of us can contribute to a healthier planet by our change of lifestyle, by our mindfulness to engage more in  behaviors that decrease the obliteration of resources, and by making our voices heard in the General Assembly and in Congress.

South Hampton Roads Chapter: Chapter Highlights

December 2012 Update: In the month of December the South Hampton Roads Chapter of Virginia Organizing was extremely successful in securing fifteen local meetings with state legislators to build relationship and provide essential educational information on the issues of Affordable Health Care, Keeping the Ban on Uranium Mining, Predatory Lending, Immigration Reform, and a Balanced Approach in addressing Taxes and the Budget. More than 40 folks will travel to the General Assembly in Richmond on January 22nd to follow up on these meetings and hold our legislators accountable to all Virginians. Chapter members were also successful in securing a unanimous decision from the Virginia Beach City Council in passing a resolution urging the Virginia General Assembly to Expand Medicaid in Virginia.
Vicki Cronis-Nohe | The Virginian-Pilot

Immigration reform advocates cheer Obama's orders

Icon November 24, 2014 - 19:47 Photo Credit: Vicki Cronis-Nohe | The Virginian-Pilot Published in The Virginian-Pilot on November 22, 2014 By Gabriella Souza Local advocates for immigration reform were cheering a day after President Barack Obama announced a strategy to protect 5 million undocumented immigrants from being deported. The president's executive orders will keep families together and ensure that thousands in South Hampton Roads can continue to live the American dream, they said. "There's a lot of joy," the Rev. Tony Suarez, vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, said Friday. "I know a lot of kids who aren't going to school worried that Mom or Dad will be deported today." Obama has issued executive orders that would give three-year reprieves from deportation to parents who have lived illegally in the U.S. for five or more years and have children who are citizens or legal residents. He also broadened a directive that grants temporary residency status to immigrants who came here illegally as children. Despite the rejoicing, the advocates know work is still ahead. Congress could put up a legislative fight, as Republican lawmakers have promised. Suarez said he hopes lawmakers will act quickly and approve legislation similar to Obama's orders. Maria Fornella, a team leader focusing on immigration reform with the grassroots group Virginia Organizing, said she was encouraged by the diversity of support for the president's reforms, from corporations to religious and political groups. "Not just Latinos and Democrats," she said. She said she is happy when she thinks of the people she has worked with whose lives would change with the new orders. "Most are just families who have been here for 10 or 20 years," she said. The orders go into effect in six months, though the government could start accepting paperwork in the spring. Suarez plans to offer help with applications at Pentecostals of Norfolk, where he is senior pastor. The president's news doesn't bring much change to Loretto Dalmazzo's situation, though she, too, is caught up in the immigration debate. Dalmazzo, 29, whose story was featured in The Pilot in October, was denied residency because she'd previously claimed to be a citizen. She has since received temporary residency status. She came to the U.S. from Ecuador with her parents when she was a teenager. She said Friday she was still researching the new directives. But she knows they will affect her extended family. Now her brother and his wife, who live in Arizona, can apply for temporary residency status because they have been in the U.S. for longer than five years and have children who are citizens. "It's a good step forward," Dalmazzo said.

Peña: We need real immigration reform

Icon November 24, 2014 - 19:40 Published in The Virginian-Pilot on November 22, 2014 By Linda Peña I have been in the United States for 16 years. When the president gave relief to millions of young people like me through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, I was thrilled. Since that time, I’ve been able to benefit from in-state tuition opportunities so I can work to further my education and give back to the nation that has given me so much opportunity. Not only did I receive relief through DACA, but now, because of President Barack Obama’s most recent announcement, my family members also will receive some relief. I’m thrilled that my relatives and members of my community will be able to get driver’s licenses and work permits and stop living in the shadows that we’ve all grown accustomed to — shadows that keep our families together while we worry about who will be deported. Today, because of the president’s announcement, I know that my family will be together for the holidays. But there are still so many families that will not — families that have been torn apart through a broken immigration system. Our movement has been clear from the beginning that we want real reform. We want the system changed so that immigrants and native-born U.S. citizens are working together for better wages, working conditions and labor protections. We want an opportunity for the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. to earn citizenship. We want an opportunity for those who have lived here, been educated here, work here and have set up their lives here to remain in their homes and communities — and with their families. In order to accomplish these goals, we need real reform. Americans need Congress to come together and work to fix our broken immigration system. We have a bipartisan bill that has passed the U.S. Senate, but Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner and other members of the House leadership continue to refuse to even consider the bill. As a nation, we cannot expect real change to happen without people working together across party lines. The Senate bill was a compromise. It included protections for workers, a clear path to citizenship, protections of civil rights and measures to help families be together. But that bill also included increased border security and more enforcement. No one got everything they wanted, but everyone got something. That’s what compromise is all about. There are major costs to inaction on immigration reform and continuing to live under our current broken system. The biggest cost is to the families of those torn apart by these policies. When a loved one is deported, it is devastating to a family. There are economic costs, too: The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill would reduce the deficit by $135 billion in the first 10 years, create millions of new jobs and boost the economy. As a Virginian who has seen the toll of slow economic recovery, I believe we should be doing what we can to ensure the financial health of our country. The bottom line is that we need real, comprehensive reform. Relief is wonderful, and I am so happy for the millions of people in my community who are celebrating with their families. But relief does not fix the underlying systemic problem. We need Congress to act for the good of our nation. Immigration reform with a path to citizenship is a policy that is good for people, families, businesses and our country. The time for action is now. Congress needs to take the lead now and make sure that comprehensive reform with a path to citizenship is a priority. Linda Peña is a student and resident of Virginia Beach. She works with Virginia Organizing, a nonpartisan grassroots organization, to work for immigration reform. 

Compost your leaves this fall

Icon October 8, 2014 - 16:40 by Ed Marroni Among other benefits, the fall season provides us with leaves, which have potential nutrients for the soil. So, instead of placing them at the curb to be picked up as waste, reap the gift they offer by composting them into nutrient-rich mulch! An easy method to create compost: use black plastic, 30- or 40- gal bags with a 3-mil thickness. These black bags absorb the sun's heat, thus speeding up the composting process. In each bag, place the leaves (shredded with a lawn mower), grass clippings (for nitrogen), 1 gallon of water, a shovelful of soil to provide digesting microbes, and one cup of lime (also known as agricultural lime—not the fruit!). Seal the bags with twine. Pierce the bags with a few small holes on each side. In case, over time the contents become dry add more water. Finally, stack the bags in a sunny or warm spot. They will need to be flipped over monthly. Depending on the condition and types of leaves, the compost will look dark and crumbly and no longer recognizable as leaves in 6-12 months. You can then use it in your flower or vegetable garden and enjoy watching the flowers bloom beautifully and the vegetables grow to great sizes. This effort helps our Earth by reducing the amount of processed fertilizer used.

Marroni: Who is affected by climate change?

Icon September 24, 2014 - 15:21 By Ed Marroni   In light of the recent People’s Climate March in New York City and around the world on Sunday, September 21st, we have been given space to consider the effects of climate change on our lives. But have you ever considered what population is most affected? The answer is our brothers and sisters who are surviving on minimal means! They are the ones suffering the most from the occurrence of hurricanes (like Katrina), flooding, intensive storms and droughts. Usually, they are the ones who experience the negative results of fracking, coal mines, toxic chemical plants, mountain top removal, oil drilling, etc. St. Francis realized this fact as far back as the 12th century. His love and concern for his less fortunate brothers and sisters led to his interest in and concern for the Earth! The Feast of St. Francis celebrated on Oct. 4th reminds us of our duty to care for God's creation, to assess how we contribute to climate change by our energy use and thoughtless consumption, and to change our choices and behaviors to favor the health of our Earth. The lesson is this: be aware that your actions contribute to the FUTURE well-being of our Earth while simultaneously indirectly providing care NOW for your brothers and sisters whose situation requires them to live a very simple life or less.

Care for Our Earth

Icon September 17, 2014 - 14:40 by Ed Marroni  The fall season is another chance to enjoy the awesome beauty and benefits of our wonderful Earth! Thanks goes to you who strive to preserve this wonder. Much misinformation is circulated regarding climate change and critical environmental issues by special interest groups, mainly the fossil fuel industry and those associated with it. The results include both confusion and the formation of unfounded positions about the issues.  The truth is not always easy to see! To enable us to learn how accurate our knowledge is on this topic, The Union of Concerned Scientists designed a brief quiz below, answers follow.    "Science facts from Science fiction" 1. Hotter temperatures by themselves will not endanger public health or welfare--science fact or fiction? 2. Fire-breathing animals actually existed so some scientists state-- science fact or fiction? 3. Deforestation is seen as a key contributor to global gas emissions--science fact or fiction? 4. Natural gas is essentially an emissions-free power source-- science fact or fiction? 5. There is no global warming in North America--science fact or fiction?   Answers: for questions # 1, 3, are science facts; questions  # 2, 4, and 5 are not science facts.  Go to to receive a "Got Science" sticker.