Closing Out 2019, Plenty of Work Left to Do

Hi Friends!
I hope you’re finding moments of peace during this hectic holiday season.
Related to APS Activity:- There is another version of the APS survey on school moves available, open until December 18.
- Arlington Analytics has a map building tool you can use to play around with school boundaries. It has been updated to include the 2020 Boundary Planning Process Data.
- Maura McMahon and Abby Raphael have been writing Ed Talk pieces in ArlNow:
— November 1 “Equity in Arlington Education”
— November 15 “Giving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion a Chance”
— December 13 “Elementary School Moves/Boundaries” — this one has a similar message to the feedback I sent to APS about its proposed equity policy.
At the December 5 APS School Board Meeting, two members of the Arlington NAACP Education Committee spoke during the public comment period about the lack of representation in the hiring process of the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO), which is wrapping up this month. You can view their comments in the recording: Sherrice Kerns is at 56:30 and Symone Walker is at 1:01:00. It is the practice at School Board meetings for the SB members not to respond to comments made by the public during their meetings. However, one SB member decided to abandon that practice and admonish the speakers. You can see it at 1:08:30. The story was covered by Scott McCaffrey at Sun Gazette Newspapers. Next steps: better representation and inclusion during the Superintendent hiring process. And community members are closely watching who is hired as the CDEIO and how that person is supported in bringing about the culture change that is needed.
Resources:- Theresa Vargas wrote about two brothers who were the victims of gun violence and the public comments made on her first story.
- I’m including this not to endorse any candidate, but because I really appreciated the focus on empathy in Colbert I. King’s oped.
- The Inclusive Schools Network shared information about Lisa Lightner who writes the blog “A Day In Our Shoes” about being an IEP advocate. She also put together a list of 25 inclusion books for kids.
- Livia Gershon writes about “The ‘Parenting Tax’ of School Choice.
- There’s an amazing film called “Color of Fear” that was put together from a dialogue about race relations among men of different racial backgrounds, facilitated by the director, Lee Mun Wah, released in 1994. It’s a very powerful film.
- Eric Higgins writes about “The Dangerous Narrative That Lurks Under the ‘Achievement Gap’.”
- The Education Week Research Center released a report about “How Teachers Talk About Educational Disparities” with lots of data and the meanings associated with those language choices.
- Thomas Downey writes about why the US House of Representatives has 435 members and why it should be expanded. Thanks to a group member for sharing this with us!
- Kevin Carey writes about education reform related to the institution of having school districts that are funded by property taxes. Thanks to a group member for sharing this with us!
- Jon Henley writes about how “Homelessness is not inevitable and can be solved — these cities show us how.”
- Housing Arlington released its key takeaways from the community conversations about housing.
- Hamed Aleaziz at Buzzfeed wrote an article about an ICE whistleblower’s report about the lack of or negligent medical care in ICE detention facilities. Warning, contains graphic descriptions.
- Ibram X. Kendi is releasing a children’s book called Antiracist Baby in June 2020. It’s available for preorder now.
- Peter Jamison writes about a hate crime hoax at a church in Indiana and the complex results.
Actions and Events:- Renae Merle wrote about the proposed redlining law overhaul (Community Reinvestment Act of 1977). Public comment is being accepted for 60 days after it is posted on the Federal Register. The latest one isn’t posted yet, but if you search for the name of the law, you can see changes going back many years related to it.
- EmbraceRace is hosting a webinar on “From ‘Best’ to ‘Worst’ Practices in Family Engagement for Educational Justice” on December 17. You can register here.
Racial Equity and Inclusion Action Network meeting on December 19 (hosted by OAR).
- Arlington Public Library is hosting many book clubs, several of them about topics relevant to this group.
- White Awake is sponsoring an online course called “Before We Were White” beginning January 26. You can find out more and register here.
Thank you for your continued engagement with this work. I will be on vacation next week. You’ll hear from me again in the New Year! Well wishes to everyone!
Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Local Anti-Racist Efforts and Opportunities

Hi Friends!
I hope you had a rejuvenating Thanksgiving holiday. Feel free to share interesting conversations you might have had, questions that came up for you, anything at all. I have noticed that when I bring one of my anti-racism or whiteness books around with me in public that people want to know more about it, they are curious. It might be an easy way to engage people around you in conversations about your anti-racist work!
Some personal highlights this week:
- A group member shared this blog post and I am encouraged by the author’s willingness to consider her own biases and actions and then find ways to change her behavior to be more in line with anti-racist efforts. I hope all of us can strive in this direction!
- I highly recommend reading anything by Robin DiAngelo, but perhaps especially White Fragility.
- Nancy Van Doren announced that she will also not be seeking School Board reelection in 2020. Please encourage equity-minded community members to consider running for the two seats that will be open!
- Congratulations to Arlington County’s Human Rights Champions, including Black Parents of Arlington for their advocacy efforts!
- I’m very excited to tell you about the Service Never Sleeps virtual Allyship Workshop. Here’s a sneak peek. I try to live their motto every day, “Tireless Action Toward Social Justice.”
- Please engage with the County’s effort to solicit feedback from the community about the upcoming budget. Make sure that anti-racist voices are being heard loud and clear in this process. From a group member:
“Here is an opportunity to stand up for a budget and policies that spread equity and are anti racist.If you are concerned about Arlington’s Affordable Housing Crisis…..If you want to make sure Arlington is true to its vision of being an inclusive diverse world class community……If you believe that Arlington’s work force should have a chance to live here…..If you have heard the stories of rising rents, unresponsive landlords hoping to sell, families and county employees having to move far away…..If you are upset that that people of color are disproportionately impacted when large tech companies move into a city….If you want Arlington to continue to have people from mixed incomes, and you believe we can learn from the mistakes of cities like Seattle and San Francisco.”
- Rebecca Bellan wrote about the racist bias showing up in Uber and Lyft ride hailing services.
- Elena Botella wrote a book review about Barrio America, about the power of Latino immigrants and the white racist response and how that has affected our cities.
- The SPLC Weekend Read was about “The struggle for Native American voting rights.
- Marilyn Mosby and Miriam Aroni Krinsky wrote an oped about the recent exonerations of several people wrongly imprisoned in Baltimore and how we must protect children from a corrupt justice system.
- Hannah Knowles wrote about a white attendee’s response to “Slave Play” (playing on Broadway).
- Podcast “Seeing White
- Brentin Mock wrote about why “Neighborhoods With More People of Color Pay Higher Energy Bills.”
- Richard Florida wrote about a recent study that shows “How to Grow the Wealth of Poor Neighborhoods From the Bottom Up.”
- Black Lives Matter has revamped its website, so if you’re looking for information about how to get involved or what that organization is prioritizing for the new year, check it out!
- Integrated Schools posted about how “ensuring political change takes only about 3.5% of the population to be actively engaged.” This means that if 3 million families actively engage in this work, change can happen.
- Kalyn Belsha wrote about what has happened to integration efforts started under the Obama administration.
- Linda Poon wrote about the legacy of health inequities stemming from the “Indian Relocation” policies of the 1950s.
- Richard Florida wrote about the wage inequality across America and why it is even wider in cities.
- Kriston Capps wrote about the detrimental effects the USDA new food stamp rule will have on vulnerable populations.
- Tim Elfrink wrote about US Attorney General William P Barr stating that communities that protest police behavior could lose the protection of law enforcement officers.
- Hansi Lo Wang spoke and wrote about efforts to install free wi-fi to help rural communities of color be counted in the 2020 census.
- Sean Illing wrote about housing discrimination in America.
- Michelle Diament wrote about a report by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) about significant barriers to pursuing disputes related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- Challenging Racism Book Group, January 23 — register here.
- VACOLAO is hosting the 2020 Virginia Immigrant/Latino Advocacy Day on January 16 — register here.
Thank you for engaging in this work, every day.
Listen. Amplify. Follow.