Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 22, 2022
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Macaulay Porter, Macaulay.Porter@governor.virginia.gov

What They Are Saying: Partnership for Petersburg

RICHMOND, VA – Governor Glenn Youngkin joined with local and community leaders to launch the Partnership for Petersburg, a comprehensive approach featuring more than 40 initiatives in six pillars to make a difference in the lives and livelihoods of the people of Petersburg. 

"A good education lifts all boats. I am excited about the Governor's leadership in this historic covenantal pledge for a good education for the children of Petersburg. The work continues; this is only the beginning," said Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears. 

"Virginia's murder rate is the highest it has been in two decades, and violent crime remains a serious problem. My administration's top priority is keeping Virginia communities and families safe, and that's why we’re eager to join the Partnership for Petersburg. The Office of the Attorney General looks forward to working with the Governor's Office, local law enforcement, Commonwealth's Attorneys and the United States Attorney's Office. We will be hiring two specific, cross designated US Attorneys to focus on the prosecution of violent crime in this region,” said Attorney General Jason Miyares.

“The City of Petersburg and the Commonwealth of Virginia will work together to equip and empower faith and community organizations to execute their unique and critical role in revitalizing the Petersburg community. Congregations and civic organizations have always been and continue to be essential to thriving communities,” said the Secretary of the Commonwealth the Honorable Kay Coles James.

“I’m proud of the results we’ve already seen from the Virginia State Police’s Surge. By working side-by-side with the Petersburg Police Department, we’ve seen a significant reduction in violent crime, and we’re encouraged and excited to watch Petersburg become a safer place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Secretary of Public Safety Robert Mosier. 

“We all know the foundation of a vibrant community is a strong education system that prepares every student for success in life. Our commitment to Petersburg is grounded in this shared North Star: meeting every student where he or she is and getting them what they need to be prepared for success in life. Thank you to our partners in the City of Petersburg, the School Board and school division, the postsecondary institutions, and the nonprofit sector for joining us in this commitment,” said Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera.

 "A vibrant Petersburg must be a healthy one. There is much good work already being done in this community, but we know that when collaboration occurs among the public and private sectors, we can further improve access to health care and enhance community health,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel. 

“A successful transportation system is fundamental to the vibrancy, quality of life, and economic opportunity in Petersburg. The Commonwealth has a longstanding relationship with Petersburg on road, rail and transit projects and I look forward to leveraging that relationship to accomplish the initiatives outlined in this Partnership for Petersburg,” said Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller.  

“A new day has arrived for Petersburg. The Commonwealth, the Petersburg Community and the City, together as partners, are laying the groundwork for lasting improvements in the lives of those families and businesses who call Petersburg home. There is much promise in the passion-driven work that we have already done and will continue to do. With a partnership like this, anything is possible,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick.  

“Governor Glenn Youngkin’s innovative approach to community empowerment is a huge win for Petersburg City. The Partnership for Petersburg is an extraordinary example of connecting people and government to develop community-informed and community-owned strategies for a better today and brighter tomorrow,” said Chief Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion Officer Rosa Atkins. 

PETERSBURG OFFICIALS 

“The city of Petersburg Sheriff’s Office appreciates the commitment and resources that the state and other partners have invested to assist our community in getting back to the safe and secure Petersburg we once knew,” said Sheriff Vanessa Reese Crawford for the city of Petersburg.  

“The Petersburg City School Board stands in agreement with Virginia State University and Richard Bland College in regards to moving forward with submitting an application to develop a lab school within Petersburg City Public Schools. The school board knows this strong partnership will help improve the learning loss that our students experienced over the past two years,” said Petersburg School Board Chairman Kenneth L. Pritchett.

“The initiatives outlined today will ensure Petersburg has the transportation infrastructure needed to drive economic growth and community development. I look forward to working with Secretary Miller and his team to deliver these projects,” said Petersburg Director of Mass Transit Charles Koonce. 

PETERSBURG COMMUNITY LEADERS 

“We look forward to working together with Richard Bland College, our community partners, the school board and Superintendent of Petersburg public schools along with the faculty, staff, and parents to form a lab school solution that will work for the greater good of the youth in the community,” said Dr. Makola Abdullah, President of Virginia State University.

“Richard Bland College is a small college with big ambitions to be a new model for higher education in the Petersburg region and in the Commonwealth. We are all-in to partner with Petersburg City Schools and Virginia State University to drive educational innovation through a lab school that tests and develops new educational models, incubates new ideas, and allows teachers to train in a live classroom environment,” said Dr. Debbie Sydow, President of Richard Bland College.

“For over a century, the Urban League has focused on several pillars of community empowerment: health, employment, housing, and reducing the wealth gap. We are grateful for the leadership of the Governor and his Cabinet to convene community leaders to address the same opportunities for the citizens of the great City of Petersburg. We are ever mindful that it takes a village to have successful outcomes. The Urban League of Hampton Roads and Richmond gladly join this village of committed leaders to help improve the quality and length of life for our family in Petersburg. We look forward to our work together,” said Gil Bland, President and CEO of Urban League Hampton Roads.

“The Y is excited to expand our partnership with Petersburg and the Commonwealth to provide quality, affordable child care to area children and families. Every day we work to strengthen the foundations of our communities. The last couple of years have made it quite clear that access to preschool and before and after school care are foundations to our children’s well-being and development, their families’ livelihood, and our communities’ economic and social vitality. We are grateful for this opportunity to extend our commitment to ensuring that these programs and services are open to all,” said Abby Rogers, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Richmond.

“Communities in Schools’ mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. CIS has been a partner with Petersburg City Public Schools for 7 years, and it is our hope that through this initiative, we can double the number of students and families receiving targeted, individualized support. We are excited to continue our partnership in serving the Petersburg community,” said Wanda Stewart, President and CEO of Communities in Schools of Petersburg.

“The VSU Center for Entrepreneurship is excited about the Partnership for Petersburg and how it will support entrepreneurs in the city. We are happy to be at the table helping to craft solutions that will grow Petersburg’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing a variety of value-added resources for small businesses and startups in collaboration with our state and local partners,” said Dr. Patrice Perry-Rivers, Associate Professor of Business and Director of the Virginia State University Center for Entrepreneurship.

“For far too long, the United States has been dangerously dependent on a poorly designed global supply chain for our Nation’s most essential medicines. The advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities being built today, right here in Petersburg, will help create a resilient supply chain for America’s most critical medicines tomorrow. Governor Youngkin’s bold commitment to Petersburg affirms that Virginia once again will lead in community revitalization through investments in innovation. As a leading private sector partner, we applaud Governor Youngkin’s efforts,” said Eric Edwards, M.D., Ph.D., President, co-founder, and CEO of Phlow.  

"What I witnessed today was a bipartisan collaboration between a diverse Petersburg community and the Commonwealth of VA to achieve one goal a better Petersburg," said Bishop Joe Chase Jr, C.O.G.I.C Petersburg Region.

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