"We know that women in our Commonwealth make just 82 cents on the dollar compared to their male, and that gap is even wider for a woman of color like myself. As we commemorate Equal Pay Day--the day that the average women must work in order to earn what the average man earns in the previous year--it is a stark reminder that our fight for gender equality and equity is far from over."
“I am so proud Congress has voted to remove the arbitrary deadline on the ERA, and I am grateful that so many members of the Virginia Delegation supported this measure,” said Delegate Hala Ayala. “We are one step closer to ensuring that equal rights are enshrined in the Constitution.”
Today’s celebration of the women’s movement is particularly poignant. During COVID-19, women--especially women of color--have been disproportionately furloughed, have had their hours reduced, and have lost their jobs. Women are more likely to be infected, hospitalized, and die from COVID-19 than their male counterparts, and women are more likely to be our frontline workers throughout the pandemic. COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequities and has devastated Virginia women.
“I’m so grateful for the dozens of volunteers who circulated thousands of petitions across the Commonwealth in support of our campaign for a strong future for Virginia families,” said Delegate Hala Ayala. “This is a people-powered campaign, and we are so lucky to have the support of so many incredible grassroots volunteers who believe in our vision. I’d also like to thank the thousands of voters who signed our petition and have given me the opportunity to make my case to voters. This election will be about selecting a Lieutenant Governor who understands what Virginians are facing and can build bridges and lead our Commonwealth into the future, and I am that candidate.”
Delegate Hala Ayala spoke on the House floor in observance of Black History Month on Friday afternoon honoring Black women who are facing a national emergency in the midst of COVID-19. Ayala, who is an Afro-Latina running for Lieutenant Governor and would be the first woman of color elected statewide in Virginia, was endorsed last week by Higher Heights, the only political action committee exclusively dedicated to electing more Black women.
Higher Heights for America PAC is the only political action committee exclusively dedicated to electing more progressive Black women at the federal and statewide levels and as mayors in the 100 most populated U.S. cities. With the support of their rapidly growing network of members, activists, volunteers and supporters, Higher Heights PAC has helped Black women grow their political leadership and representation. You can read more about their electoral successes here.
"For our Commonwealth to heal and move forward into an equitable just future, we need to understand our past and its pain. We need to know and uplift the story of the more than 300,000 African-Americans who were sold into slavery, tortured, and killed at Lumpkin’s Jail. I’d also like to thank Governor Northam for including $9 million in this year’s historic budget to build a memorial in remembrance of these souls."
“More than 1 in 4 small businesses have closed in our Commonwealth during COVID-19, and many more are struggling,” said Ayala. “HB 2266 will help our small businesses and localities recover from COVID-19 and come out of this crisis even stronger. Thank you to my colleagues--Delegate Lamont Bagby, Delegate Jeff Bourne, Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler, and Delegate Martha Mugler--for working with me to pass this important legislation.”
Our House’s historic budget shows that we are focused on providing our Commonwealth the support that is needed for Virginians during this crisis. It ensures that more families have the economic security they need as we look to recover from the pandemic. I know the struggles that a lot of our families are facing throughout COVID-19 because I’ve lived them. Our budget will help our families and small businesses weather this crisis and move Virginia forward.
HB 1891, to require public health training by state employees unanimously passed out of the Senate today. This bill will require the Department of Human Resource Management, alongside the Department of Health and Human Resources, to develop public health online training, including a pandemic and communicable disease preparedness, as a part of the safety and disaster awareness training already mandated for Commonwealth employees.