(Updated at 10:40 a.m.) Arlington’s recent wave of activism now includes conflicts and changes at the nonprofit Mothers of North Arlington (MONA), including a discussion of expanding the group into South Arlington.
MONA is a nonprofit group for mothers and families across six ZIP codes, with more than 2,700 members. Since its inception, the group has promoted educational initiatives and events for both members and the general public to attend but has also seen its share of dissenters and critics.
In light of the national conversations around police brutality and systemic racism, one such critic is making the argument that MONA isn’t doing enough, starting with its exclusivity to North Arlington ZIP codes.
In early June, former MONA member Cynthia Smith posted to the group’s Facebook page about its silence on the topic of George Floyd’s murder, suggesting adding social justice organizations to MONA’s charity listings. The post was initially removed, though later restored, and Smith has since left MONA and called for the group to broaden its membership criteria to include South Arlington.
“Someone can’t just start a Mothers of South Arlington, it would take years by moms who are also likely working and raising kids,” Smith said in an email. “And the ‘separate but equal’ argument we all know is unsound. Route 50 has been a historic dividing line between whites and blacks, the haves and have-nots. MONA’s continued use of this dividing line is just a symbol of its desire to self-segregate.
(There is an existing group serving South Arlington: MOMS Club of Arlington – South.)
In defense of the group, Smith acknowledged how the MONA online forums can also be a valuable community resource, or a “bat signal,” for everything from school registration to tough, personal problems.
“There are so many different types of moms [in the group] but what is beautiful about MONA is that it acknowledges we all need help,” Smith said. “I think it owes it to itself and all of Arlington to come out of its bubble and welcome South Arlington moms into its fold.”
In response to Smith’s comments, MONA is making an effort to circulate ideas on how the group can facilitate actions to combat system racism.
On June 3, MONA President Mrinal Oberoi sent out an email to the group, writing:
In my previous President’s message, I failed to acknowledge the current racial injustice issues affecting our community. For that, I am sorry. Some of you may have taken that silence to be a message from MONA about where we stand. Let me be clear: MONA denounces racism and welcomes open discussions and sharing resources to raise our families in this light. Racism is an important, pervasive issue that deserves thoughtful, constructive discussion and action.
In her message, Oberoi, who herself is a person of color, asked for those who have felt unsafe or discriminated against in the group to reach out. In addition, she reminded the members of the forum posting guidelines and attached a link to a Google document to facilitate ideas of how the group can improve.
Some of the submissions in the document include:
- Forming a MONA working group for social/racial injustice
- Donating money to protesters’ bail funds and/or organizations working on racial justice issues
- Create MONA social/racial justice yard and window signs
- Host a town hall where MONA moms can share their own or listen to stories of racism and bias from other MONA moms
- Create a communications policy that does not delete problematic, inconsiderate or inconvenient comments, but rather, respond to them as MONA addressing them and close the comments as needed
According to the document, the idea of MONA expanding membership to South Arlington is in discussion and “will be spearheaded by the new board.” One challenge of doing so is that a larger group would be even harder for its volunteer administrators to manage.
“The MONA Executive Board has discussed geographic expansion,” Oberoi said in an email to ARLnow. “The MONA Board and volunteers are currently in a state of transition as the fiscal year ends at the end of the month and there will be a change of Board in the next two weeks. These proposals will be reviewed by the new Board, which will take over July 1, 2020.”
In loving memory of Joseph Robert Kapacziewski, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 41.
In loving memory of James Stuart Edmonds, who passed away in 2023 at the age of 84.
A man was shot in front of a lounge on Columbia Pike early this morning, continuing a string of violent incidents.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 17124 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…
YULA’s ultimate frisbee spring season is now open for registration. We offer programs for middle and high schoolers – open to all players, whether they are new or have previous experience.Middle SchoolIn the Middle School league, mixed-gender teams practice once during the week and have games on Sunday afternoons. Spring league is a fun, safe, and positive environment. The season begins mid-March and wraps up with a tournament in early June. There are several options for practice days, so we can often work around schedule conflicts with other sports & activities.High SchoolThe High School program is organized by school of attendance and teams are classified by gender. New players will learn the basics in a supportive, welcoming environment. Experienced players will continue to develop their skills, and enjoy competition with other high school programs. The season concludes with a state level championship tournament in late May.All players are guided by experienced coaches who emphasize sportsmanship and good spirit. Ultimate is a fun sport with great camaraderie!YULA does not want finances to limit anyone from participating. Our middle school program offers a “Pay What You Can” cost structure and our our high school program is offering a $50 discount to new players.Visit our website to register and learn more. Sign up with a friend, but don’t delay, the season starts in March!http://www.yula-ulti.org
The Arlington-Aachen High School exchange is returning this summer and currently accepting applicants.
The sister-city partnership started in 1993 by the Arlington Sister Cities Association, which seeks to promote Arlington’s international profile through a variety of exchanges in education, commerce, culture and the arts. The exchange, scheduled June 17th to July 4th, includes a two-week homestay in Aachen plus three days in Berlin. Knowledge of the German language is not required for the trip.
Former participants have this to say:
_”The Aachen exchange was an eye-opening experience where I was fully immersed in the life of a German student. I loved biking through the countryside to Belgium, having gelato and picnics in the town square, and hanging out with my German host student’s friends. My first time out of the country, the Aachen exchange taught me to keep an open mind, because you never know what could be a life changing experience.” – Kelly M._
Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village