Team Projects

Team Projects

Each year, Minority Political Leadership Institute program participants work on project teams to advance the understanding of issues facing underserved communities in Virginia. The team project experience facilitates experiential learning of politics in action to garner networks, contacts, and resources for effective information sharing, collaboration, and decision-making. The diverse nature of the teams provides excellent opportunities for learning new perspectives and networking across Virginia, which assists participants in identifying cutting-edge solutions that fit the community’s needs. Projects teams also provide a venue for applying new skills, developing creative strategies for solving problems, as well as a laboratory for working on diverse teams.

Since 2012, Minority Political Leadership Institute program participants have worked on projects designed to examine the racial impact of proposed or passed legislation from the General Assembly. The purpose of this analysis is to examine how specific legislation promotes or reduces racial/ethnic disparities on minority communities within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Projects seek to answer the ways in which the policy:

a) enhances racial disparities;

b) reduces racial disparities; and/or

c) will have racial/ethnic impact?

Conducting legislative racial impact analysis is an important tool in examining the effects of public policy on minority communities in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

2018 Team Projects

HB 69 Grocery Investment Program and Fund


Taryn Anthony, Internal Policies and Procedures Specialist, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated
Tracey Dunn, Congressional Liason, US Department of Housing & Community Development
Stephen Miller-Pitts, Retired Military, US Army
Grant Rissler, Assisstant Director, Office of Public Policy Outreach, Virginia Commonwealth University
Barbara Williams-Lewis, Administrative Assistant, Altria, LLC

In the 2018 session of the Virginia General Assembly, multiple pieces of legislation were brought to committee, proposing the creation of a fund to catalyze public-private partnerships to expand access to Virginians residing in food deserts. Through the creation of the fund, underserved communities would see the construction, rehabilitation and expansion of food retailers in their communities ameliorate food desserts.  


SB 909/HB 1408 Virginia Fair Housing Law; unlawful discriminatory housing practices


Saman Aghaesbrahim, Director of Constituent Services, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Erica Brown-Meredith, Assistant Professor, Longwood University
Tarik Claiborne, Regional Portfolio Manager, Virginia Housing Development Authority
Danielle Richardson, Scan Room Technician, Rockingham County Circuit Court
Kera Woodard, Equal Employment Opportunity Program Specialist, Virginia Department of Human Resource Management

This report provides a legislative racial impact analysis of Senate Bill (SB) 909, a proposed bill in the Virginia General Assembly, to expand the Virginia Fair Housing Law to include lawful sources of income. Specifically, this report examines state and county source of income laws and their variances by race and ethnicity.


SB 106 Congressional and state legislative districits; standards and criteria


Amber Adams, Internal Audit Supervisor, Virginia Housing Development Authority
Kristen Dahlman, Senior Policy Analyst, Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development
John Darnell Hicks, Counselor, Southside Virginia Community College
Cassandra Reynolds, Senior Pro Bono Coordinator, Hunton & Williams LLP
Vanessa Walker Harris, Director, OFfice of Family Health Services, Virginia Department of Health

This report examines Senate Bill (SB) 106, introduced during the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session to address the criterion of redistricting and the specific impact on racial and ethnic minorities. This legislation is a direct response to previous legislative attempts to address gerrymandering and remains an evolving issue in the Commonwealth.