Meaningful Engagement is Required

Hi Friends!
Happy beginning of the holiday season! I’m writing a really long update this week because I’m taking next week off. Enjoy the resources below, particularly the helpful ones about Thanksgiving. Have some brave conversations!
How many of you signed up for a Disney + account as soon as it came out? How many of you noticed the disclaimers before many classic titles about “outdated cultural depictions” — in other words, racist stereotypes? Here’s one take on Disney’s effort.
- Tannia Talento has announced that she will not run for reelection for her School Board seat. I’m excited to hear about potential candidates of color and/or equity-driven candidates to take her place.
- Please pay attention to the Amazon MOU with Arlington police regarding Ring doorbell cameras. There are significant concerns about privacy and criminalization of normal juvenile behavior. If you have a Ring device (and even if you don’t), please engage with this.
APS Boundary Process: Many groups are advocating for a slower process, sincere engagement with communities (not engagement theater), and a countywide approach rather than encouraging conflict among individual schools. Parents are asking for data to back up the proposals so they can understand the problems APS is trying to solve and the factors involved in those decisions. After the last boundary process which involved erroneous data, many parents are feeling distrustful of the process and the lack of transparency isn’t helping. The CCPTA provided detailed recommendations based on parent feedback after the last boundary process, but no response has been received. If you want to advocate about this or provide your feedback on the proposals, you don’t have to use the survey, you can just contact
- Montgomery County has been in the news lately for equity related issues, one for a conflict about where to potentially place another early voting center and another about the passing of its recent racial equity bill.
- Electing reform prosecutors is an important step. Supporting them so they can succeed in their efforts is going to take a lot more time and work, because the system is fighting back. Dismantling systems of white supremacy takes sustained, dedicated labor.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote about the school-to-prison pipeline in Essence magazine.
Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) in Arlington is hosting a Racial Equity and Inclusion Action Network on December 19 at 7:00 pm at Arlington Central Library. “OAR’s community-based Racial Equity and Inclusion Action Network’s primary focus is to create a space to openly discuss race-related subject matter that centers the lives of those impacted by the criminal justice system. This group of committed and passionate volunteers will mobilize with an understanding of historical and current issues impacting our men and women. By empowering and amplifying the voices of those who have been marginalized through systemic racism we aim to challenge racist laws, regulations, programs, policies, and beliefs that dominate our society and culture. We also aim to pursue partnerships with community members, other advocacy groups, and anti-racism organizations to increase the impact of this work and improve the quality of life for people of color. The Racial Equity and Inclusion Action Network’s ultimate goal is to transition people of color into positions of power in the community, local and state government, the Virginia General Assembly, and other white-dominated organizations to create a shift toward anti-racism across our established infrastructure.”
- CityLab had a story about “Why Public Transit Is an Equity Battleground” connecting the right to move around one’s community and the challenges of poverty.
- Fortune Magazine carried a piece by Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP, about the fact that “Comcast is Challenging a 153-Year-Old Law That Protects Against Racial Discrimination. We Can’t Let That Happen.
- If you missed the Housing Arlington Community Conversation on Equity, you can watch it here.
- You can also read about land use tools Arlington is considering.
- There’s a national redlining map available called “Mapping Inequality” and you can see the historical redlining maps that graded areas in four categories ranging from “Best” to “Hazardous.” One guess who lived in each of those locations.
- The Atlantic’s Vann R. Newkirk II wrote about “The Great Land Robbery” regarding black farming families.
- A new study came out about understanding and addressing youth homelessness, from Voices of Youth Count.
- The Arlington Committee of 100 hosted a conversation on affordable housing on November 13. You can check out the recording here.
Thanksgiving is coming! During this holiday, when families try not to speak about anything that will ruffle anyone’s turkey feathers (what can you even talk about these days?!), it is important to remember that the events commemorated by this holiday are complicated and painful and are not a celebration for many Americans.
- Settler Colonialism, perpetuated by Columbus Day and Thanksgiving, is being addressed in part by efforts by Indigenous land rights organizations. Three of them were featured in a recent SURJ webinar (SURJ is a part of the Indigenous Solidarity Network), Manna-hatta FundReal Rent Duwamish, and Shumi Land Tax. Indigenous peoples are not gone, they are living, breathing people, and they are still being marginalized and deprived of their human rights.
- If you’re interested in an event, the Washington National Cathedral is hosting “Indigenous Peoples Blanket Exercise” on November 24: “On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, deepen your understanding of the denial of Indigenous peoples’ nationhood and human rights in this unique, interactive and participatory history lesson. Developed in collaboration with Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers and educators, this exercise illuminates the ways Indigenous human rights have been denied since first contact and institutionalized in the most fundamental laws, policies and programs of nation building. During the closing Talking Circle, facilitators support participants in understanding their experience and finding ways to participate in healing and decolonization.” More information about the Blanket Exercise is here.
- And after Thanksgiving, if you want to get some training on how to talk to friends and family about racism, SURJ NoVa is hosting an event on December 8.
- Arlington County is hosting a Secret Santa program for our most vulnerable residents.
Enjoy your holiday time and keep looking for ways to speak up, have conversations, and learn something new.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.