|RICHMOND, VA — Given increased reports of anti-religious bigotry across the country following the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, Governor Glenn Youngkin today issued Executive Directive Six, which creates an actionable plan to coordinate with educational institutions and law enforcement entities to combat threats of violence against Jewish people and other religious communities. The executive directive expands methods to combat hate groups.
The Governor instructs law enforcement to increase information exchange and resource coordination on potential antisemitic acts through a specialized situation room and expedite grants to organizations facing religious or ethnicity-based persecution. The order also empowers the Virginia Fusion Center at the Department of State Police to operate at a heightened state to quickly identify threats against houses of worship and faith-based communities. Additionally, the directive asks Virginia’s colleges and universities to submit updated comprehensive safety plans to the Center for School and Campus Safety and also increases collaboration between the Department of Education and our K-12 schools and institutions of higher education on safety measures for our students. The order instructs all school divisions to promote awareness of resources promoting the safety of their students, especially Jewish students, during this time of unrest globally.
“Hatred, intolerance, and antisemitism have no place in Virginia. As Governor, the safety and security of all Virginians is my paramount concern. Virginia is the birthplace of the freedom of religion in America, and protecting the community centers and houses of worship of the Jewish people is paramount. But this commitment extends to all religions, including those of the Muslim faith, who are increasingly concerned about backlash,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
On his first day in office, Governor Youngkin signed Executive Order Number 8 establishing the Commission to Combat Antisemitism, which released a report on December 5, 2022. In May 2023, Governor Glenn Youngkin signed legislation patroned by Delegate Anne Ferrell Tata and Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, which formally adopts the Working Definition of Antisemitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on May 26, 2016.