RICHMOND – The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Citizen Education Fund has honored Governor Terry McAuliffe with a “Trailblazer Award” for his work to restore the civil and voting rights of Virginians who had been convicted of felonies, served their time, and completed any period of supervised release, parole, and probation requirements. The Coalition is led by civil rights icon Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. Governor McAuliffe was slated to accept the award and deliver remarks at the Coalition’s 46th annual international convention in Chicago yesterday, but was unable to make the trip due to severe weather conditions that canceled his flight.
Since the beginning of his administration, Governor McAuliffe has been committed to providing second chances. On April 22, 2016, he signed a criteria-based order restoring voting and civil rights to eligible Virginians. After this initial order was rejected by the Virginia Supreme Court in July, the Governor then announced on August 22, 2016 his process for case-by-case restoration of former felons’ civil rights. This process remains in use and Governor McAuliffe has restored the rights of more than 158,000 Virginians to date, more than any governor in history.
“I am grateful to receive this generous award from Reverend Jackson, who has dedicated his life to the cause of justice and opportunity for all,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Restoring the rights of more than 158,000 Virginians is my proudest accomplishment as Governor. Voting is our most basic civic duty as Americans, and one which grants us a voice in the corridors of power. When we provide meaningful second chances to our fellow Virginians, we all reap the benefits of a more equal, inclusive society.”
“The protected right to vote is the crown jewel of our democracy,” said Reverend Jesse Jackson. “Governor McAuliffe’s fight to restore that precious right to nearly 160,000 of our fellow Americans was courageous, inspiring, and right. Awarding the governor our Trailblazer award was an easy choice.”
About the Rainbow PUSH Coalition:
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC) is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change. RPC was formed in December 1996 by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through the merging of two organizations he founded earlier, People United to Serve Humanity (PUSH, 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and Oakland, it works to make the American Dream a reality for our citizens and advocate for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend, and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.