Letter – Rep. Luria participates in Suffolk barbershop listening event

Published 6:26 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Editor:

On Sept. 28, 2022 the Suffolk Chapter of Virginia Organizing partnered with Professional Touch Barbershop in Suffolk to host a hybrid barbershop listening session via Facebook Live with the Second Congressional District incumbent Elaine Luria.

The Suffolk Chapter has hosted this series virtually by interviewing community partners to make them aware of what’s transpiring in their community, state and nationally. Virginia Organizing is a non-partisan statewide grassroots organization dedicated to challenging injustice by empowering people in local communities to address issues that affect the quality of their lives. (virginia-organizing.org)

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On this particular Saturday, we interviewed the Congresswoman and asked unscripted questions in front of barbershop patrons and a live virtual audience.  Please note, the moderator extended an invitation live on air to the candidate/ challenger Jennifer A. Kiggans. The community would like to hear Jenn Kiggans’s stance on the issues as well.

Rep. Luria began the discussion by describing the role of a congressional leader and how that differs from that of a mayor, house delegate, state or U.S. Senator.  This was in response to the question from the moderator. It’s interesting that many people don’t know the  role of elected leaders. Next, the conversation ventured into the Inflation Reduction Act and how Suffolkians would benefit. She talked about lowering prescription drugs, relying on wind, solar energy and climate change. We also discussed oil and gas prices but didn’t have enough time to fully discuss the broad depth of those areas. Meanwhile, oil prices continue to have consumers seeing fluctuating prices at the pump.

Luria discussed the pending Student Loan Relief Act and how student debt is a problem for many. We had an interesting dialogue concerning the interest on student loans and I interjected my thoughts about the FAFSA and how tax returns determine the tuition parents pay for their child’s education without considering extenuating circumstances.

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade was a hot topic with both women and men in the barbershop. Community advocate Vonita Williams shared her personal testimony about her abduction and rape that caused trauma to her unborn child and to her own body. Mrs. Williams had to abort her child due to the physical abuse and trauma she suffered at the hands of her abductor/abuser. She wants women to hear her story; but more importantly people to know that if it were not for abortion laws, she would’ve delivered a severely deformed child that may have not survived to full term and she may not have survived either. She wants to do her part to make certain that Virginia does not lose its reproductive rights. No one can govern a woman’s body or what happens to her body; that must be between that woman and her physician. Mrs. Williams wanted the congresswoman to hear her story so the next time any politician in Washington, D.C. speaks about taking the rights of bodily autonomy from a woman, she will remember and use her story for women in our country.

Robin Whitley

Leader for Virginia Organizing

Suffolk Chapter