Limiting Police Union Contracts

Thursday, February 11, 2021 

This year’s speakers brought with them more than 200 years of professional and life experience as activists and leading-edge catalysts for change.

Watch the Replay


This event was held on Thursday, February 11, 2021. Panelists hosted by the Police Reform Committee of the Combating Racial Injustice group in Blacksburg, VA discussed police unions and their impact on policing. Panelists included DeRay McKesson, Chas Moore and Wornie Reed. Although in favor of fair pay and benefits, the panelists noted aspects of police union contracts that impeded the oversight of police misconduct. For more information:

Dr. Reed founded, and has led, the Combating Racial Injustice events for nearly a decade. This year’s event is intentionally scheduled earlier than in past years. Victoria Cochran will serve as moderator. Cochran, who is now retired, served as Virginia Deputy Secretary for Public Safety as well as 18 years as a public defender.

Our Speakers

DeRay Mckesson

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds honorary doctorates from The New School and the Maryland Institute College of Art. DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies that ensure equity. He has been praised by President Obama for his work as a community organizer, has advised officials at all levels of government and internationally, and continues to provide capacity to activists, organizers, and influencers to make an impact.

DeRay Mckesson, A leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of Campaign Zero
Learn more about DeRay Mckesson

Chas Moore

Chas Moore is an acclaimed activist and community organizer who has dedicated his life to helping Black, Indigenous, and people of color, impoverished communities, and those that suffer the brunt of systemic, institutional oppression. Under Chas’ leadership, AJC has led local reform efforts such as creating the Austin Police Department’s Use of Force policy, successfully fought against a faulty Austin Police Association Union contract, and successfully campaigned for the reallocation of $150 million from the Austin Police Department’s budget to begin the process of creating public safety alternatives to traditional public safety methods. Mr. Moore’s tenacity has garnered much recognition, including multiple awards, the 2019 Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship, and the 2019 Unlocked Futures Cohort backed by Academy-award winning artist John Legend.

Chas Moore,
Founder, Executive Director of Austin Justice Coalition
Click to learn more about Chas Moore and the Austin Justice Coalition.

Wornie Reed, PhD, Event Organizer & Victoria Cochran, Moderator

Dr. Wornie Reed, Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, is Director of the Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech. Professor Reed has taught courses, conducted research, and published numerous articles and several books on medical care, health and Illness, urban communities, and criminal and juvenile justice. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Montgomery Country Dialogue on Race. Ms. Cochran has lived in the New River Valley since 1986. She practiced law as a Public Defender in Southwest Virginia for 18 years. She recently joined Dialogue on Race’s Steering Group and will lead the Limited Presence Issue Group.

Reed is VT Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies & Cochran is Virginia Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, retired
Click to learn more about Wornie Reed, PhD

Follow-Up Actions

Contact your VA state legislators! Tell them to limit police union contracts to only salary and benefits. We have included sample scripts which you can download here that you can use as a guide via email, phone, or letter. Find your state Delegate & Senator and their contact information here.

Spread the word! Reach out to 3 people you know and tell them about this issue in VA. Then encourage them to contact their state legislator to support it.

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Thank you again for your support. We look forward to continuing to work with you towards a more just future.

Combating Racial Injustice: Police Reform Committee. Visit us online here:

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