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Tom Steyer, Immigrant Rights Advocates, and Canvassers Discuss Converting Politics of Hate into Power in VA Gubernatorial Race

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A recording of today’s event is available here

Woodbridge, VA — Less than a month from election day, Tom Steyer, President of NextGen America, joined America’s Voice, CASA in Action, and Center for Community Change Action on a press call today to denounce Ed Gillespie’s racially divisive campaign and to highlight the work of immigrant rights groups in the Virginia election to build an inclusive movement that demonstrates the political power of immigrants. A recording of today’s event is available here.

Grecia Lima, Deputy National Political Director, Center for Community Change Action, said:

We’re here because America can do better. We do better when we stand together and include the voices of everyone rather than vilifying people of color and those still struggling to make ends meet. Ed Gillespie’s campaign is toxic for Virginia. It is toxic for America.  It is hateful, misleading and divisive. His attack ads on immigrants are deplorable—the politics of fear will only make us weaker as a nation. Gillespie is running his campaign straight from Trump’s ‘make America white again’ playbook. This is the type of campaign that incites violence like what we saw in Charlottesville in August. Virginians are better than that. We deserve a governor who will keep Trump’s extremist agenda out of Virginia.

Valarie Long, Executive Vice President, SEIU, said:

Gillespie’s campaign is inherently divisive. The goal is to divide people—to separate black Virginians from white Virginians and immigrant Virginians from native-born Virginians. Our vision, shared by most Virginians, is one of unity—the unity that comes from knowing one another, respecting one another, and working together to build better lives—no matter who you are or where you come from.

Gustavo Torres, Executive Director, CASA in Action, said:

CASA in Action members are building political power for immigrants and people of color in Virginia for years to come. Since August, CASA in Action has door knocked over 34,000 doors and by election day, our members will complete over 56,000.  We have reached over 428 thousand Virginians through CASAinAction.org, engaging with diverse voters with a message of unity and equality. Unity and Love will win this November 7.

Tom Steyer, President of NextGen America, said:

If Ed Gillespie believes his path to victory is to use the Trump playbook of racist, fear-mongering attacks on immigrants, then he’s in for a rude awakening next month. Immigrants — young and old, recent arrivals and longtime residents — make valuable contributions to our communities and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. On November 7th, Virginia’s immigrant community will flex their political power to elect leaders, like Ralph Northam, who offer a positive, inclusive vision for a more prosperous, healthier, and cleaner Virginia.

Anika Rahman, CASA in Action canvasser and George Mason University student, said:

I am passionate about uplifting my community and fighting back racism and prejudice. When I’m out doorknocking, I see a welcoming community, contrary to the hateful messages from Ed Gillespie, Jill Vogel and John Adams. My friends and I will make sure leaders who embrace our diversity and empower everyone in the Commonwealth get elected this November 7.

Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice, said:

We are deeply concerned by the rising level of racial divisiveness being used in the Virginia gubernatorial race. However, we are heartened by the significant effort to mobilize immigrant and people of color voters to ensure that we turn out in key legislative and statewide races, reject the hate, and convert this anger into power. We must elect representatives who respect the plurality and diversity of the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

Lizet Ocampo, Political Director, People for the American Way, said:

The fact that Ed Gillespie’s ugly attacks on immigrants and Latinos look right at home in Donald Trump’s Twitter feed tells you everything you need to know about the values he’s bringing to the race. Just like Donald Trump, he’s offering an agenda of fear and divisiveness aimed at tearing our communities apart and playing to voters’ worst instincts. But we all saw how Virginians reacted to Trump’s ugly campaign last year: they rejected his hate by a wide margin. Just like Virginia voters rejected Donald Trump, next month they’re going to reject Ed Gillespie.

Sara Benitez, Latino Program Director, Faith in Public Life Action Fund, said:

In this election, Virginians face a choice about the kind of state we want to be. The Latino families I work with here in Virginia want the same bright future as all of us, and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The candidates need to follow the Golden Rule, not the Trump playbook of stoking fear and division. Virginia voters will make their preference for an inclusive, welcoming state known on Nov 7th.