Welcome People Into This Work

 Hi Friends,

I hope you all had a lovely and safe Thanksgiving. Whatever your winter holiday traditions might be, please take care of each other. As this part of the world enters its darkest season, be the light that reminds us that spring and warmth will come again. Stay strong, my friends.

I’m sharing important words from SURJ NoVa email on 11/18/20,

“Many of us are still wrestling with shame and anger over the millions of white people who turned out for Trump, and continue to defend him even in defeat. Y’all, the numbers tell us that our white kin went harder for Trump after four years of devastation than they did in 2016.
It would be tempting right now to put up a big wall between us and “those” white people, to claim “anti-racist” as a mantle for ourselves so we can soothe ourselves that we’re not like “them.”
But as SURJ National Director Erin Heaney has said, if we’re not organizing white people, someone else is.

This is extremely important for all of us to remember. As we engage with this work, we must do so from a place of love and inclusion, particularly as others seek to divide and exclude. Those who are sent away from this work will find someone else who will welcome them. We must welcome people to this work, even when we reject their words or actions, one conversation at a time.

Facing Race in Arlington is hosting a discussion on December 10 about taking action. I sent out a message about it last week and you can register here — https://forms.gle/4Kp2FRQetxP3aWfW9.

I’m excited to share that the CCPTA has partnered with FreshFarm to provide bags of fresh produce to approximately 900 Arlington families in December. Based on how much funding is raised, the CCPTA and community volunteers will receive a bulk delivery of produce, which will then be bagged and transported to seven PTA/school-based distribution efforts to be given to families the week of December 14. I am very excited to share that APS is supporting our effort by making the Washington-Liberty High School parking deck available for the bulk delivery and bagging process. We are so grateful for their support and assistance in making this possible. Please share this information widely — we are trying to meet our fundraising goal by December 4.

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There’s a group of Arlington parents working on school boundaries, equity, and desegregation advocacy. If you want to get involved, please let me know and I can connect you!

Additionally, I’m so excited to share that Arlington County officially has an Integrated Schools chapter! From the coordinator, who is also a group member: “Integrated Schools is a community of primarily white and/or privileged parents who are intentionally, joyfully and humbly enrolling their kids in integrating schools. We believe that integrated schools produce better outcomes for all students. We also acknowledge white and/or privileged parents have been the key barrier to school integration and educational equity — by using our privilege to access more heavily-resourced schools, organizing our political power against policies that would put our children in majority black and brown schools, assuming that those schools are broken and need us to fix them. The primary purpose of the Integrated Schools movement is to change these behaviors and attitudes through grassroots organizing, one-on-one parent mentoring, book/podcast discussions, and advocacy. If you want to join or are interested in learning more, contact: integratedschoolsarlingtonva@gmail.com.”

Related to this, I wanted to share “School Segregation by Boundary Line in Virginia: Scope, Significance and State Policy Solutions” (PDF) (Penn State Center for Education and Civil Rights and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Education, November 2020), particularly the following:

“School attendance boundaries are a key force behind within-district segregation, suggesting that redrawing attendance boundaries to create more diverse schools is an important lever for change in Virginia’s major metro area school divisions. School choice in the form of open enrollment, specialty schools and the like is almost certainly an additional factor within divisions, though it is impossible to determine the extent of choice-related segregation with existing data.” (p. 7)

“Rezoning, then, is a relatively frequent occurrence in the Virginia divisions reviewed, and one that impacts many students and could help drive integration, particularly in the state’s large metropolitan regions. However, current policies often leave out the necessary integration impetus. Even among those divisions that have undertaken rezoning with integration as an intended outcome, policies and criteria with clarity of purpose and priorities as well as measurable goals could help intent better match outcomes.” (p. 18)

“Studies also found that, in the nation’s urban school districts, neighborhood schools would be less racially segregated if all assigned students opted into them.60 In other words, private, charter and magnet school options all contribute to racial segregation in the district as advantaged families take advantage of these alternatives. The same authors also found that school desegregation policies helped reduce racial segregation.” (p. 24)

“…once families in a metropolitan community understand that they can move to any neighborhood, urban or suburban, and remain connected to a school with roughly the same demographics and performance as other schools in the community, the link weakens between residential and educational decisions.” (p. 25)

Let’s also keep in mind the difference between desegregation and integration. Desegregation means that the demographic makeup of every school roughly reflects the demographic breakdown of the countywide student body. Integration means that every student feels welcome and included, every student sees themselves reflected in their teachers and school administrators, and every student sees themselves positively represented in a culturally responsive curriculum. Integration is the goal — desegregation is a step in that direction.
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As always, here are some resources to support your journey and your work. Also see below for some ways to support your community this holiday season.

- Arlington County Board Accepts Restorative Justice Plan (11/17/20) — you can read it here.
Green Valley Town Square to be Named for John Robinson, Jr. (11/17/20) — and a note, if you see people still using “Nauck” please remind them that the name officially changed back to Green Valley, as it was called when it was settled by free African Americans in 1844.
- Arlington County is accepting online feedback related to its Police Chief Search. There is also one more virtual community forum on December 1.
- The City Neighbors Foundation is hosting the 10th Annual Progressive Education Summit in January.
- OAR is launching its next three-month virtual cohorts focused on racial justice, from January to March 2021 and April-June 2021.
- Virginia Festival of the Book is hosting a free, virtual event with author Matthew Desmond who will discuss his book Evicted: Proverty and Profit in the American City on December 9.
- Arlington County is requesting feedback on its Missing Middle Housing Study through December 31.
- Arlington County is requesting feedback on its FY 2022–2026 Consolidated Plan related to housing and community development.
- The Alliance for Housing Solutions held an award event on November 15 and shared details in “Bozman Award Focuses on Keeping People in Homes During Pandemic” (11/17/20)
Revolutionary Humans has rebooted its website and has wonderful resources for lots of things with kids, including turning kindness into action for social justice.

- Theresa Vargas writes “Behind a national memorial for Native American veterans, stories of slow loss, swift change and boots two sizes too big” (Washington Post, 11/11/20)
- Teaching Tolerance includes The Forgotten History of Our Ancestors in its Teaching Hard History: American Slavery film resources, a film about the “forgotten history of Indigenous enslavement.”
- Rachel Ramirez writes “How the Navajo Nation helped Democrats win Arizona” (Vox, 11/12/20)
- The Indigenous Solidarity Network shared a “Rethinking ‘Thanksgiving’ Toolkit

- Brianna Rhodes writes “There’s No Liberation For Anyone if Black Trans Folks Are Not Free” (Blavity, 11/13/20)
- The Movement for Black Lives has a policy platform to “End the War on Black Trans, Queer, Gender Nonconforming and Intersex People
- Equality Virginia shared a document put together by many organizations for “Transgender Student Policy Recommendations for Virginia’s K-12 Schools” (6/25/20)

- Rachel Weiner writes “Arlington’s top prosecutor, defender clash with judge” (Washington Post, 11/13/20). A HUGE thanks to Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and Brad Haywood for taking on this important work.
- Tom Jackman and Dan Morse write “Police de-escalation training gaining renewed clout as law enforcement seeks to reduce killings” (Washington Post, 10/27/20)
- Emily Nonko writes “The ‘Airbnb for Returning Citizens’ Gives People More Than Just a Second Chance” (Next City, 11/10/20)

- Elizabeth Lawrence writes “In medical schools, students seek robust and mandatory anti-racist training” (Washington Post, 11/8/20)

- Laura Reiley writes “Anti-hunger groups call on Biden to reverse some of Trump’s signature initiatives” (Washington Post, 11/13/20)
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition highlighted “Poverty Projections Illustrate Need for Federal Relief Package” (11/16/20) related to the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities “Weakened Economy, Widespread Hardship Show Urgent Need for Further Relief” (11/10/20)
- The National Low Income Housing Coalition and The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Innovation for Justice program released a report on the “Costs of Covid-19 Evictions” (11/19/20)

- Yonat Shimron writes “Study: Multiracial churches are growing, but racial unity may be elusive” (Washington Post, 11/13/20)

- Petula Dvorak writes “Black women have been speaking for years. Maybe now, the rest of America will listen.” (Washington Post, 11/9/20)
- Lyz Lenz writes “White women vote Republican. Get used to it, Democrats.” (Washington Post, 11/27/20), particularly “This is because, as a political force, White female rage has long been better at enforcing patriarchal norms than dismantling them. Why? Quite frankly, White women benefit from the status quo, while change would require burning down that system and building a new one — one where they and their children might lose the shared superiority and protection they get by being attached to powerful White men.”
- Maria Eloisa Capurro writes “Trump’s Latino Support Was Overlooked by Pollsters That Lack Diversity” (Bloomberg, 11/18/20)

- Darryl Fears writes “Shingle Mountain: How a pile of toxic pollution was dumped in a community of color” (Washington Post, 11/16/20)
- Colin Sterling and Rodney Harrison write “Climate crisis: how museums could inspire radical action” (The Conversation, 11/18/20)

- Kristina Rizga writes “How to Teach American History in a Divided Country” (The Atlantic, 11/8/20)
- Conor P. Williams and Shantel Meek write “OPINION: U.S. public schools should be federally funded” (Hechinger Report, 11/6/20)
- The National PTA’s Center for Family Engagement’s Notes From the Backpack podcast focused on “Raising Kids Who Embrace Race” in their 11/4/20 episode.
- Andre Perry writes “COLUMN: Dear Black students: Don’t let white efforts at miseducation deny your legacy” (Hechinger Report, 11/24/20)

- Emily Yahr writes “One name, two musical acts and a story of privilege: How the Lady A controversy captured the state of the music industry in 2020” (Washington Post, 11/11/20)
- Hank Stuever writes “BET’s ‘Smoke’ shows how Black Americans deserve a piece of marijuana’s growing fortunes” (Washington Post, 11/17/20)
- Hank Stuever writes “‘Between the World and Me’ was already a must-read. With HBO’s adaptation, it’s also a must-watch.” (Washington Post, 11/20/20)

- Courtland Milloy writes “Biden speaking about systemic racism is a win. But the battle is just beginning.” (Washington Post, 11/14/20)
- Tony Briscoe, Haru Coryne, and Mick Dumke write “Disinvested: How Government and Private Industry Let the Main Street of a Black Neighborhood Crumble” (ProPublica, 11/11/20)
- The Baltimore Sun Editorial Board writes “Devaluing Black neighborhoods: Redfin accused of the latest form of redlining | COMMENTARY” (Baltimore Sun, 11/10/20)
- Susan Nembhard and Krista White write “It’s Time to Declare Racism a Public Health Issue” (Urban Institute, 11/11/20)
- Carroll Bogert and LynNell Hancock write “Superpredator: The Media Myth That Demonized a Generation of Black Youth” (The Marshall Project)

Ways to give back to your community this holiday season:
- Doorways is seeking Holiday Wishes Sponsors.
- The 10th Annual Gifts That Give Hope is taking place now through December 7.

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Don’t Stop Now

 Hi Friends,

I hope you’re all making time for self-care during this very anxious and stressful time. And while this is certainly a time to hope that many things will be better than they have been in the last four years, it is vitally important for us to continue our work. New national leadership will not fix systemic racism. That work still takes each and every one of us, engaging with the work on a regular basis, focusing on ourselves as well as our communities. Particularly with the new year approaching, pledge to take actions toward an antiracist future.

- Service Never Sleeps is hosting its next Allyship Workshop in two 2.5 hour sessions on November 23 and 24.
- Embrace Race is hosting a webinar called “Lights, cameras, representation! Raising racially just kids in today’s media environment.” on November 11.
- SURJ DC’s “Ask Anne” columns from October 27, 2020: “Unsure on Upshur: Should I stop posting about racial justice until I am better equipped to handle racist remarks?” and from September 4, 2020: “Wondering about the L in BIPOC
- Brentin Mock writes “Pittsburgh’s Suburbs Try to De-Karen the 2020 Election” (CityLab, 11/3/20) — which discusses white womens’ roles in fighting racism and the need to do the self-reflecting work as well.
- SURJ has “Post-Election Calls to Action” updated frequently.
- The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Margaret Huang shared “Our Vision for a Just Future: An urgent, transformative action agenda for a more equitable and compassionate nation” (9/28/20)
- Sign up for Arlington County’s Dialogues on Race and Equity (DRE) and take the Community Assessment about perspectives on race and equity in Arlington. You can also review the current draft of the Restorative Arlington Strategic Plan (restorative justice).

Tara Garcia Mathewson writes “New data: Even within the same district some wealthy schools get millions more than poor ones” (The Hechinger Report, 10/31/20).
“School officials are often surprised by their own spending trends, once they see them. While it is widely known that 80 percent of education budgets go to personnel costs, school leaders don’t always realize the outsize effect teacher placement has on budgets when more experienced teachers cluster at schools serving wealthier kids or the disparate impact of raises that are a percentage of teacher salaries. And the additional costs of small schools and magnet programs can fly under the radar.”
This includes Arlington County, Fairfax County, and others. We can advocate about this, particularly since it is budget season and significant cuts are expected this year and next year. How do we ensure that funds are allocated equitably, even with tight budgets?

- Monica Hesse writes “The fantasy of repudiating Trumpism is dead” (Washington Post, 11/4/20), particularly “The Black women who wrote to me, meanwhile, were exhausted and often worried. To them, 2016 didn’t feel like a blip. It felt like the America they’d already been living in for decades was finally made visible to the rest of the country. Yes, it had always been racist. Yes, it had always been sexist. Yes, yes, yes. If you, like Biden, have had the recurring privilege of sadly shaking your head and saying, ‘This isn’t who we are,’ what you really meant was, ‘This isn’t who I’ve ever had to see us be.’ What you really meant was, ‘This isn’t my America. . . . Crap, is it yours?’”
- Philip Kennicott writes “Trumpism is a lifestyle disease, chronic in America” (Washington Post, 11/6/20)
- Jenny Sullivan and Adrienne Wichard-Edds write “Race and Rebuilding” (Arlington Magazine, 10/26/20)
- Lynette Guastaferro writes “Why racial inequities in America’s schools are rooted in housing policies of the past” (USA Today, 11/2/20)

- Justin Wm. Moyer writes “Racist housing covenants haunt property records across the country. New laws make them easier to remove.” (Washington Post, 10/22/20) This is something we could each take action on — there are plenty of racist housing covenants in Arlington County.
- Elissaveta M. Brandon writes “Houston’s bid for park equity” (City Monitor, 10/20/20) Is Arlington’s park system created and maintained equitably?
- Kriston Capps, Marie Patino, and Dave Merrill write “In the U.S., City Rents Are Falling, and Suburban Rents Are Climbing” (CityLab, 10/30/20)
- Kriston Capps writes “Inside the $1 Billion Bid to Rescue Affordable Housing” (CityLab, 10/7/20)
- John Eligon writes “Residents Feared Low-Income Housing Would Ruin Their Suburb. It Didn’t.” (New York Times, 11/5/20)

Dr. Lyra D. Monteiro writes “Power Structures: White Columns, White Marble, White Supremacy” (Medium, 10/27/20) Please read this whole thing because it is so clear about heritage, public spaces, and belonging.
For example, “The Western concept of heritage is thus inherently one of possession. In order for one person to own something, they must have rights to it that others do not have. When that heritage is materialized in public space, it also conveys a sense of ownership rights over that public space. Indeed, the materialization of white heritage has been one of the primary mechanisms of upholding white supremacy since the founding era of the United States.”
And, related importantly to Arlington County’s current logo, “The white men who built these mansions also spread the stylistic marker of their racial superiority throughout the country, where we recognize it today as the standard style employed for locations of power, such as court houses, banks, museums, and of course government buildings throughout Washington, DC.”

- Nick Martin writes “The Native Vote Is Crucial This Election — and Under Threat” (The New Republic, 10/22/20)
- The content below is from The Integrator, an Integrated Schools e-newsletter received on October 30, 2020.
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Our next book club selection, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese.

This book is a little different than our usual picks (I.e., not explicitly about education or integration) and we wanted to share our reasoning behind choosing it. We hope by focusing on unlearning some of our settler-focused colonial history and investigating the Indigenous perspective of this land and its history, we can show up better in our communities and with our kids.

White supremacy culture has to obscure the true history of our country in order to survive. Part of dismantling White supremacy culture in ourselves (and thus being better prepared to show up in multiracial integrated spaces) is unlearning the history we were taught in school and replacing it with the truth. If we do not know our history, we will repeat it. Most of us who grew up in the United States are woefully ignorant when it comes to the history of Native people in this country, and so we present this as a space for us come together and begin to educate ourselves on this topic. We chose the Young Peoples’ version as we want to make it conducive for our community to share the knowledge they gain with the young people in their lives.

As November is Native American Heritage Month, we hope you will join us in reading this book over the month of November and then gathering to discuss it in the first week of December. You can sign up for one of the following sessions here:

We have a partnership with IndieBound — a community of local, independent bookstores. If you use our affiliate link to buy the book or any other books, not only will you be supporting a local, independent book store, but a portion of the proceeds will also come back to Integrated Schools.
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- Laura Meckler writes “‘Nation’s report card’ shows declines for lowest-performing students” (Washington Post, 10/28/20)
- Hannah Natanson writes “Fairfax families sue over changes to Thomas Jefferson High’s admissions” (Washington Post, 11/5/20)
- Integrated Schools released a podcast called “Family Engagement and Equity” on October 7: “For decades, the dominant model of parent or caregiver involvement in schools has been one that emphasizes a set of normative, White, middle-class behaviors. What would it look like to transform power through solidarity, in order to improve our schools for ALL kids?”
- Ema O’Connor writes “Homeless Shelter Staff Are Saving New York’s School System” (BuzzFeed News, 10/29/20)
- A group member shared a presentation by Dr. Tracy Weeden on literacy, “Beginning at the 24:00 min mark, Dr. Weeden presents the most compelling case for structured literacy and gives a powerful narrative of why literacy is a civil right.”
- Stephanie Knezz writes “OPINION: Why it’s time to diversify and modernize science teaching” (The Hechinger Report, 10/26/20)
- Sarah Butrymowicz, Jeff Amy, and Larry Fenn write “How career and technical education shuts out Black and Latino students from high-paying professions” (The Hechinger Report, 10/22/20)
- Channa Cook-Harvey, Lisa Flook, Emily Efland, and Linda Darling-Hammond write “Teaching for Powerful Learning: Lessons from Gateway Public Schools” (Learning Policy Institute, 10/23/20)
- Jill Barshay writes “PROOF POINTS: White and female teachers show racial bias in evaluating second grade writing” (The Hechinger Report, 11/2/20)
- Magdalena Slapik writes “How to improve schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to students” (The Hechinger Report, 11/2/20)
- Jim Ryan and Janet Carlson write “OPINION: Distrust of science in the coronavirus era reminds us why we must boost elementary science education” (The Hechinger Report, 9/8/20)

- George Mason University is hosting a webinar called “The Digital Divide: How COVID-19 Exposed Disparity in Communities and What We Can Do About It” on November 17.

- Sarah Holder writes “Why There’s a Homelessness Crisis Among Transgender Teens” (CityLab, 8/20/19)
- Sarah Holder writes “How Transgender Voters Are Fighting to Make Their Votes Count” (CityLab, 10/27/20)
- Equality Virginia and many other organizations are recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20.
- Side By Side has very useful information about how family and caregivers can protect transgender students (scroll down below the town hall events, which are over now, for resources).
- Heather Long writes “Virtual schooling has largely forced moms, not dads, to quit work. It will hurt the economy for years.” (Washington Post, 11/6/20)

- Fiona Flaherty writes “For Voters with Disabilities, Another Barrier to the Polls” (Arlington Magazine, 11/2/20)

- Kenny Jacoby writes “How Cops Who Use Force and Even Kill Can Hide Their Names From the Public” (ProPublica, 10/29/20)
- Fola Akinnibi writes “Lawsuits Over Protest Brutality Pile Up, Adding to Cities’ Police Costs” (CityLab, 10/28/20)
- Sarah Holder, Rachael Dottle, and Marie Patino write “Police Response Slowed. The Community Stepped In.” (CityLab, 10/30/20)
- The Arlington County Police Practices Work Group has concluded its Community Learning Series, which you can watch recorded sessions of if you weren’t able to participate.
The Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center Study Meeting was held on November 5, 2020.

Thank you for continuing to engage in this work.

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