Civil Rights Trailblazer Endorses McClellan’s ‘Leadership,’ ‘Enthusiasm,’ and ‘Vision for Virginia’
RICHMOND, Va. – Today, candidate for governor Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), received the endorsement of Clarence Dunnaville, a Virginia civil rights pioneer who fought for equal rights and justice as an activist and lawyer throughout the South during Jim Crow through today.
Born in Roanoke, Dunnaville picketed segregated theaters and participated in numerous student demonstrations and sit-ins that opened lunch counters to Black citizens. Dunnaville served as a volunteer attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in Mississippi in 1967 and a student of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
“I wholeheartedly endorse Jennifer McClellan for Governor,” Dunnaville said. “She’s the best qualified of all the candidates running. She spent years in the General Assembly working on issues that are important to all Virginians. I endorse Jennifer because she is someone who has spent her whole career working for the betterment of Virginia. I endorse her because of her leadership, because of her enthusiasm, and because of her vision for Virginia.”
“I am honored to be endorsed by Clarence Dunnaville— a man I’ve looked up to throughout my career as I advocated for justice and equity in the legislature,” McClellan said. “Like my parents, Clarence was born in the Jim Crow South and has spent his entire life fighting injustices and inequality. I’m proud to have his support and will continue to fight for civil rights, equal justice, and equity for all Virginians as Governor.”
McClellan has been a leader in the legislature over the past 15 years, fighting to break down barriers and address racial inequities. This year, McClellan was the Senate patron of the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, which made Virginia the first state in the South to pass a voting rights bill. She built on a 2020 law extending the minimum wage to domestic workers, predominantly women of color, to pass The Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, making Virginia the first state in the South to extend worker protections to domestic workers.
Last year, McClellan passed sweeping racial justice reform, including a bill to break the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately impacts students of color and criminal justice bills that address felony thresholds and parole eligibility. In 2020, McClellan’s bill to prevent housing descrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was passed and incorporated into the Virginia Values Act.
As governor, McClellan will continue to be a fierce advocate for marginalized communities and will fight to break down systemic inequity, ushering in a bold, inclusive future for the Commonwealth.