How We Take Care of Each Other

 Hi Friends,

I’m sorry I have been delayed in my updates this month. As I’m sure you can identify with, some weeks are just too hectic to get everything done. I have tried to get caught up here, without overwhelming you with too many resources!

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how a community chooses to meet the needs of its most vulnerable community members. I’ve been wondering what would happen if we approached the challenge by creating a baseline of access and opportunity that we think every community member should have (things like clean water, reliable internet, safe and secure housing, a certain quality of education, food access, etc.). And if we created that baseline and saw that some of our community members were not receiving that access or those opportunities, that we would then allocate resources to address that disparity by prioritizing those needs first.

In the last seven months, I’ve been learning more and more about food insecurity in our community. I’m very concerned that Arlington County has not addressed this need more systematically. They are supposed to be posting a Food Security Coordinator position on October 30, and while that may help, one person cannot do this work alone. I’m very much hoping that a robust network of organizations and government entities will work together to address not only the immediate needs of people who are hungry, but also to address the systemic changes that are needed and to go “upstream” to the causes of food insecurity and empower our communities.

Related to that, Alison Conrad at the Duke World Food Policy Center wrote a research brief called “Identifying and Countering White Supremacy Culture in Food Systems” (PDF) and this document is another that set me back and had me looking hard at my role in this. I hope you can read it and do the same, even if the closest you get to food systems is donating items to AFAC. Our efforts come from the heart, and we can make changes to do better in a systematic way.

I want to highlight a series from The Washington Post called “George Floyd’s America” which highlights systemic racism and racial injustice during the course of George Floyd’s life, tying systemic discrimination with personal points in his life.

Congratulations to Service Never Sleeps on celebrating five years of service! We had an amazing Allyship Workshop session for our members this week and I hope more of you will sign up for these life-changing experiences. Whitney Parnell has had a significant influence on my own perspective of my role in this work and I strongly encourage every one of our group members to engage with her efforts.

BOOKS (recommended by Whitney Parnell):
- On the Other Side of Freedom, DeRay McKesson
- Biased, Jennifer Eberhardt
- So You Want to Talk about Race, Ijeoma Oluo
- Unapologetic, Charlene Carruthers
- Decolonizing Wealth, Edgar Villanueva
- All of the Real Indians Died Off, Dina Gilio-Whitaker and Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz
- Me & white supremacy, Layla F. Saad
- From the Washington Post, Ruby Hamad’s White Tears/Brown Scars: How White Feminism Betrays Women of Color.

- I’m very pleased to share my endorsement of Symone Walker for Arlington County School Board.
- The Arlington County Civic Federation (ACCF) held a meeting on October 20, which included the Legislative Committee’s report and recommendation to create a Civil Rights Working Group. You can review the meeting here (the item on the agenda is near the beginning).
- Arlington County has announced its “Dialogues on Race & Equity (DRE)” to further its work on racial equity. Please complete the questionnaire (and share it) and consider joining a community discussion session or encouraging the organizations you are connected to to become a partner in this process.
- The Alliance for Housing Solutions released a video called “Race and Housing in Arlington” about “some of the history of discrimination and segregation in housing in Arlington” (October 3, 2020) and Jo DeVoe writes “New Video Tackles Arlington’s History of Race and Housing” (ArlNow, 10/8/20).
- Wilma Jones is hosting “Untold: Stories of Black Arlington Virginia” on Arlington Independent Media.
- The Working Group on Renaming Lee Highway is accepting feedback about the list of name suggestions until November 30.
- Arlington Public Schools is now accepting applications for the Work Group on School Resource Officers (SROs) through November 9. Please apply!

- Arlington County is presenting the Missing Middle Housing Study in a Kick-Off Event on October 28.
- A reminder about the 11th Virginia Immigrant Advocates Summit on November 17–18.
- From SURJ DC, “This past summer, Samantha Fletcher and Jason Biel, two DC anti-racist educators, held a race education series, Becoming an Antiracist. They will be rolling out the fall version for 5 Wednesdays starting on Nov. 4th.

This series is intended for those who:
• Understand that racism exists but find themselves uncertain about their role in it or what to do
• Want to intercede when they see racism happening
• Want to make the workplace, schools, etc. safer places for colleagues, students, and others who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color).
• Don’t want to simply put a sign in their yard, make a donation, and move on in their privilege
• Are prepared to be challenged
• Are at varying levels of their racial literacy
• Want to better understand whiteness historically and presently
• Wish to continue becoming actively anti-racist

To participate in any part of this series, you must commit to attend all five sessions. The series will take place via Zoom from 6:00–8:00 pm EST on the following dates: Nov. 4, 11, 18, Dec. 2 & 9. The cost for the 5-session series is $225. Click here for registration and payment.

- The Southern Poverty Law Center has a very useful “Whose Heritage? Community Action Guide” to address hateful symbols that persist in our communities.

- Cory Turner writes “Homeless Families Struggle With Impossible Choices As School Closures Continue” (NPR, 10/7/20)
- Anya Kamenetz, Marco A. TreviƱo, and Jessica Bakeman write “Enrollment Is Dropping In Public Schools Around the Country” (NPR, 10/9/20)
- Jackie Mader writes “Some child care centers have become more than places that provide care” (The Hechinger Report, 10/15/20)
- Saili S. Kulkarni writes “OPINION: Why we need a new generation of special education teachers” (The Hechinger Report, 10/15/20)
- Eric S. Singer writes “OPINION: Why we need a new pedagogy for our post-Covid future” (The Hechinger Report, 10/20/20)
- Rachel Blustain writes “Getting rid of gifted programs: Trying to teach students at all levels together in one class” (The Hechinger Report, 10/14/20)
- Danielle Dreilinger writes “Why decades of trying to end racial segregation in gifted education haven’t worked” (The Hechinger Report, 10/14/20)
- The Learning Policy Institute has organized its “Restarting and Reinventing School” resources by topic.
- Peter W. Cookson, Jr. writes “A World of Hardship: Deep Poverty and the Struggle for Educational Equity” (Learning Policy Institute, 10/6/20)
- Azure Gilman writes “Remote learning has been a disaster for many students. But some kids have thrived” (The Hechinger Report, 10/3/20)
- Christopher Flavelle writes “Hotter Days Widen Racial Gap in U.S. Schools, Data Shows” (New York Times, 10/5/20)
- The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Program published a report written by a group member called “Algebra I and College Preparatory Diploma Outcomes among Virginia Students Who Completed Algebra I in Grades 7–9.”
- Belinda Luscombe writes “The Rise of the ‘Carebnb’: Is This Home-Based Model the Future of the Childcare Industry?
- Changes are happening at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, reported recently by Hannah Natanson in “Didi’s voice” (Washington Post, 10/19/20) and “Fairfax County School Board directs superintendent to develop a more equitable ‘talent development’ program for Thomas Jefferson High School” (Washington Post, 10/22/20).
- If you’ve been following the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) news, here are a few of the latest stories, from Ian Shapira in “At VMI, Black cadets endure lynching threats, Klan memories and Confederacy veneration” and “VMI cadets attack Black students, women on anonymous chat app as furor over racism grows” (Washington Post, 10/27/20).

- I’m very glad to see that Arlington County chose to recognize Indigenous People’s Day instead of Columbus Day this year. Karim Doumar writes “Goodbye, Columbus Day” (CityLab, 10/8/18).
- The U.S. House of Representatives is considering H.R.8420 — Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policy Act. For context, you can read about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School.
- Dina Gilio-Whitaker writes “American Settler Colonialism 101” for better context and historical understanding of the ways in which indigenous territories and resources were stolen and indigenous peoples were assimilated.
- You can also learn more from the NDN Collective.
- Kriston Capps writes “Here’s D.C.’s Memorial For Native American Veterans” (CityLab, 6/26/18)
- Matt Vasilogambros and Carrie Levine write “How One Tribe Is Fighting To Vote Early” (The Center for Public Integrity, 10/8/20)

- The National Low Income Housing Coalition shared “New Research Documents Gentrification-Related Evictions” (10/19/20)
- Kriston Capps writes “Inside the $1 Billion Bid to Rescue Affordable Housing” (CityLab, 10/7/20)

- Channon Hodge writes “Filmmakers unearth a long trail of racism in ‘Driving While Black’” (CNN, 10/12/20)
- Project NIA shared a very helpful video explaining what the “Defund Police” campaign is about (10/13/20) and they provided “Discussion Questions and Prompts” for responding to the video.
- Dana Suskind writes “OPINION: The invisible toll of mass incarceration on childhood development” (The Hechinger Report, 10/16/20)
- A new report is available regarding the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center. The next virtual community meeting is November 5.
- Sarah Holder writes “After a Season of Protest, Police Reform Is on the Ballot” (CityLab, 10/23/20)
- Lori Rozsa writes “Most Florida felons kept from registering to vote by fines, fees or fears, activists say” (Washington Post, 10/5/20)
- Hannah Knowles writes “A domestic violence shelter put up Black Lives Matter signs, and law enforcement revolted” (Washington Post, 10/17/20)

Dismantling Racism Works Web Workbook has many helpful resources.
The Conscious Kid has great book recommendations and other resources for “promoting healthy racial identity development in youth.”
- Bernard Meyer writes “The Basics of Black Lives Matter — and Why You Need to Act Today” (Abstract Stylist)
- Consider supporting Families Belong Together by purchasing their Coloring Without Borders coloring book.
- The Atlantic created a feature documentary called “White Noise: Inside the Racist Right
- Alexis Brouwer-Ancher writes “Still I Ride” about the recent Ride for Black Lives in Arlington and the actions we still need to take (Arlington Magazine, 9/30/20).
- Antonio Olivo and Lola Fadulu write “Surge of early voting in Va.’s largest county means a long wait for some voters” (Washington Post, 10/22/20)
- Karina Michel Feld writes “Jennifer Blatz: ‘Dismantling systemic racism’” (Thrive Global, 9/24/20) “Jennifer Blatz is the president and CEO of StriveTogether, a national nonprofit working in 70 communities across the United States to enable more than 12 million young people to succeed in school and life.” Strive Together also has an “Equitable Recovery Pledge” related to the need to plan for post-pandemic change with a focus on dismantling systemic racism.
- Heather Long, Andrew Van Dam, Alyssa Fowers, and Leslie Shapiro write “The covid-19 recession is the most unequal in modern U.S. history” (Washington Post, 9/30/20)
- Theresa Vargas writes “‘How will we survive this?’: People are making heartbreaking pleas to strangers for help while Trump turns stimulus talks into a political show” (Washington Post, 10/7/20)
- Sarah Ellison writes “How the 1619 Project took over 2020” (Washington Post, 10/13/20)
- Courtland Milloy writes “A documentary looks at America’s ‘lows’ — its legacy of white supremacy” (Washington Post, 10/20/20)

This is lifelong work. Keep at it!

Listen. Amplify. Follow.

Resilience and Acting Now for a Brighter Future

Hi Friends!

Please sign up to participate in our discussion group in four parts of So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo.

I’m not sure about you, but I feel like I’ve been going flat out since schools closed in mid-March, and I’m starting to feel it. This article really helped me understand why, gave me permission to be more forgiving of my flagging energy, and I imagine that I’m not alone in feeling this way. Self-care helps us keep up this difficult work even in the best of times. Constant uncertainty is very difficult to manage. Build your resilience one day (of kindness) at a time.

The lack of charges against the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor has caused a significant amount of grief for many. Keep her in mind as you re-commit to doing this work. Say her name.

This is so good that I’m pulling it to the beginning for your attention: The Wisconsin Public Education Network has released “Equity in Pandemic Schooling: An Action Guide” (7/31/20), including “Keep your child enrolled in your local public school. Enrollment and attendance are central to determining funding for public schools. The loss of substantial enrollments and funding will further diminish public schools’ ability to serve the most marginalized students and keep staff employed. The closure of public schools leaves children and their families afloat and reduces their opportunities to learn and to do so safely during the pandemic.”

If you experience any hesitation calling white supremacist groups domestic terrorist organizations, consider that there has been an increase in white supremacist drivers using their vehicles to drive into crowds of protesters. White supremacist groups have been terrorizing portions of communities for hundreds of years. If the word “terrorist” brings to mind only memories of 9/11, please redefine it for yourself. Use this understanding of our implicit bias and the assumptions we make about people to retrain our brains into an anti-racist mindset. You can learn more about domestic extremist groups from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

- Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol was recently named an UNUM Fellow. Hopefully this means that Arlington County can look forward to building “a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, uprooting the barriers that have long divided the region by race and class.” I welcome decisive action in this direction.
- ArlNow reports that the Arlington Democrats have pushed out a local precinct captain for supporting School Board candidate Symone Walker, who was required to run as an independent candidate because the Democrats annually insert themselves in a non-partisan race by holding a partisan School Board caucus. Ms. Keppler’s words speak for themselves. Can anyone please share with me why the Dems are allowed to do this? The practice is discriminatory at best.
- The NAACP and the League of Women Voters hosted a County Board and School Board Candidate Forum on September 26.
- Symone Walker writes “The Miseducation of Black Students in Arlington Public Schools” (9/26/20)

- Michele L. Norris writes “I keep a family photo at my front door. It’ll stay there until toxic attitudes toward Black lives go away.” (Washington Post, 9/28/20)
- Serena Solomon writes “In New Zealand, Police Work and Social Work Can Go Together” (CityLab, 9/22/20)

- William Wan writes “Coronavirus kills far more Hispanic and Black children than White youths, CDC study finds” (Washington Post, 9/15/20)
- Moriah Balingit writes “New York City is reopening its schools for working families. But many students of color are staying home.” (Washington Post, 9/25/20)
- Courtland Milloy writes “For one D.C. couple, education doesn’t stop with just their son” (Washington Post, 9/22/20)
- Rainier Harris writes “This Is the Casual Racism That I Face at My Elite High School” (NY Times, 9/24/20) — and the restorative justice practices that were implemented.
- Adam Harris writes “The Limits of Desegregation in Washington, D.C.” (The Atlantic, 9/29/20)
- Jayden Cummings writes “STUDENT VOICE: A new normal from the bottom up” (Hechinger Report, 9/24/20)
- Cory Collins writes “Schools Confronting Racism and Community Pushback: Three Lessons from ‘Sounds Like Hate’” (Teaching Tolerance, 9/14/20)
- Zach Mortice writes “How America’s Schools Got So Sick” (CityLab, 9/25/20)
- Colin Groth writes “Advancing mobility from poverty: A toolkit for housing and education partnerships” (Strive Together, 9/8/20)

- Michelle Singletary writes “Stop telling Black people we could close the wealth gap if we valued education more” (Washington Post, 9/25/20)
- Rachel Siegel writes “Wealth gaps between Black and White families persisted even at the height of the economic expansion” (Washington Post, 9/28/20)

- Brentin Mock writes “Dozens of City Governments Declare Racism a Public Health Crisis” (CityLab, 7/13/20)
- Jeremy Deaton and Gloria Oladipo write “Mapping the Disparities That Bred an Unequal Pandemic” (CityLab, 9/30/20)

- The National Low Income Housing Coalition has a series called Tenant Talk to connect with residents about housing advocacy.
- Arlington County is adjusting its Missing Middle Housing Study scope and charge.
- Chat Travesio writes “A Nation of Walls” (Places Journal, September 2020).

- Arlington County released an “Open Data Portal” — a new data tool that includes a huge amount of information and detail — dig in!
- A friend told me about FrameWorks Institute, which is a really cool organization that can help us re-frame our advocacy in a way that is more likely to have a meaningful impact. For example, check out “Talking about what young people need during the pandemic” and as you read through, see how the way we talk about these things can be uplifting to those talking as well as those listening. It’s meaningful community engagement at its best. Try to incorporate this into your work and change the way you communicate.
- K.A. Dilday writes “How to Make Sure City Budgets Prioritize Racial Equity” (CityLab, 9/28/20)
- The Lakota People’s Law Project released a video “What Really Happened at Standing Rock, Featuring Chase Iron Eyes

- Learn more about the Internet Is Essential campaign.
- The Learning Policy Institute is hosting a webinar called “Restarting and Reinventing School for Equitable and Empowering Learning” on October 6 and a webinar called “State and Federal Opportunities to Support More Diverse and Inclusive School Systems” on October 22.
- Support the mutual aid effort for La ColectiVA.
- Check out the Justice for Muslims Collective and their work for collective liberation.
- Embrace Race is hosting a webinar on “Building Solidarity among Black & Latinx Kids & Families” on October 8
- Leslie Mac is offering ResistU courses on October 8 and November 5.
- Service Never Sleeps is hosting Allyship Workshops on November 23 and 24 and is starting another Virtual Allyship Program on October 22. (Facing Race in Arlington’s event on October 26 is still happening — the class is now full.)
- Arlington’s The Sycamore School is hosting “Impact vs. Intention: The Importance of Collaboration When Dismantling Structural Racism” on October 12.
- SURJ is hosting “Community Safety for All: Launching the Congregational Action Toolkit” on October 14.
- VACOLAO is hosting the “11th Virginia Immigrant Advocates Summit” on November 17 and 18.

Hang in there.

Listen. Amplify. Follow.