February 3, 2021

    Virginia Senate Passes Historic Bill to Abolish the Death Penalty: Virginia Organizations Applaud Vote to End Inhumane Practice as Groundbreaking Achievement

RICHMOND, Va. — Today, the Virginia State Senate passed SB 1165, a bill to abolish the death penalty in Virginia, moving the bill to the House of Delegates for a vote that is expected to occur later this month.

Rev. Dr. LaKeisha Cook, of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, issued the following statement: “We applaud the Virginia Senate’s historic decision to pass a bill to repeal the death penalty. It is tremendously powerful and meaningful to see legislators act swiftly and decisively to stake steps to end capital punishment in the Commonwealth. While we celebrate this victory, we hope the House of Delegates will follow suit when it meets later this week. Virginia’s death penalty is deeply entwined with our state’s shameful history of lynching and racial oppression. As people of faith, we feel called to shine a light on the racist legacy of violence that gave birth to modern-day capital punishment. We are optimistic that this will be the year we end the death penalty in Virginia.”

Rev. Dr. Keith Jones – President of Tidewater Metro Baptist Ministers’ Conference; Senior Pastor Shiloh Baptist Church, and board member of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy said, “I’ve always hoped and prayed that one day the Commonwealth of Virginia would recognize its place as the cradle of this nation’s government. Today’s vote to abolish the death penalty represents a tremendous step towards Virginia assuming her role as a leader for change.  It says that we are building a justice system that is truly just.   We know that this cruel punishment has been meted out to the underserved, underrepresented, and voiceless of our Commonwealth. I am praying that the House of Delegates will vote likewise.”

Michael Stone, Executive Director of Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
said, “Today’s Senate vote to abolish capital punishment is a historic moment in the history of Virginia.  It is a repudiation of the long and violent history of 1,390 executions carried out by the Commonwealth since 1608.  We expect the House of Delegates to affirm this vote and make Virginia the first Southern state to abandon the death penalty.”


Roberta Oster
Communications Director
Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy




The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy advocates economic, racial, social, and environmental justice in Virginia’s policies and practices through education, prayer, and action. VICPP is a non-partisan coalition of more than 750 faith communities working for a more just society.