Protesters from a long list of advocacy groups are planning to spend a hot Thursday afternoon protesting ICE in Arlington.
The protest is set to kick off at 4 p.m. today (Thursday) in front of county government headquarters, at 2100 Clarendon Blvd in Courthouse.
The issue: police in Arlington notifying U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about undocumented suspects under certain circumstances, and the sheriff’s office releasing notifying ICE about jail inmates for whom a detainer was signed by a judge.
The group La ColectiVA has been leading the charge over the past few months to push Arlington County officials into putting an end to such practices. Today’s protest will also target the county’s relationship with Amazon, which hosts ICE and its contractors via its Amazon Web Services cloud computing arm.
From a press release:
Community members will rally today to demand Arlington County board members take immediate action to end collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Arlington. People who have faced detention and deportation because of the Arlington County Police Department’s collaboration with ICE, their loved ones, and supporting community members and organizations will gather at the Arlington County Government Center to call on county officials to immediately end all ties with ICE.
For months, community members have been demanding Arlington County police cut ties with ICE after multiple reports of migrants getting arrested by police and transferred to ICE for deportation proceedings, including the deportation of a long-time community member who was reported to ICE by an Arlington County police officer after a fender bender. Community members who have experienced this state violence will demand county officials introduce and pass county-wide policies to end and prevent collaboration and information sharing with ICE.
The protest is also part of a week of action to highlight the collaboration between law enforcement and Amazon, a major provider of tech for police and ICE. Protestors will highlight the Arlington County Police Department’s use of technology in deporting migrants, as well as the County’s partnerships with Amazon’s AWS, which hosts ICE and its contractors.
(The deported community member referenced above was a previously deported felon who provided false identification to police after a crash, according to an ACPD spokeswoman.)
The groups taking part in today’s action, according to the press release, include: La ColectiVA, DefundNoVAPolice, For Us Not Amazon, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, SURJ Northern Virginia, Justice for Muslims Collective, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, Sanctuary DMV, Our Revolution Arlington, Mijente, NoVA DSA, Legal Aid Justice Center, United Students Against Sweatshops Local 54, ShutDownDC, and Media Justice.
Expect signs with slogans like “#ICEoutofArlington,” “#EyesOnAmazon,” “#NoTechForICE,” and “#DefundNoVAPolice,” per the press release.
School Reopening Protest Tonight — “Arlington parents frustrated by Arlington Public Schools’ unwillingness to add more in-person instructional days this school year will rally ahead of the next school board meeting to let their voices be heard… [from] 5:30-7 p.m., ahead of the next Arlington County School Board meeting.” [Press Release]
Arlington Gets ‘Tree City USA’ Designation — “The Arlington County government on April 30 will receive its 24th annual ‘Tree City USA’ designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation, honoring the community’s efforts in tree planting and preservation. The award will be presented at the county’s annual Arbor Day celebration, an affair downscaled due to the pandemic but slated to be held at Carlin Springs Elementary School.” [Sun Gazette]
County Thanks Vax Volunteers — “We want to take a moment to say THANK YOU to the staff and volunteers at our vaccination sites. From supply chain management, to organizing a visitor line, to giving the shot itself, we’re grateful for this amazing crew for all they do to make it happen!” [Facebook]
Petition to Rename DCA Goes Viral — A Georgetown University freshman’s online petition to rename Reagan National Airport after teen singer, dancer and actor JoJo Siwa has received more than 3,000 votes. [Change.org, DCist]
Photo courtesy Leslie Koch
(Updated at 2:50 p.m.) Arlington County police officers will be deployed to D.C. as mutual aid during pro-Trump rallies and counter-protests, starting today, ARLnow has learned.
The Arlington County Police Department tells ARLnow that they have received and agreed to a request from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department for mutual aid assistance for both today (Jan. 5) and tomorrow (Jan. 6).
“Arlington County has agreed to this request,” police spokesperson Ashley Savage said. “ACPD officers will be in D.C. and available to assist our regional law enforcement partners in maintaining peace and order in the event of a significant disturbance or unrest.”
The Arlington County Board, meanwhile, is urging residents to refrain from counter-protesting across the river, as thousands of Trump supporters descend on the region for demonstrations in the District.
The president has encouraged a large show of support among the MAGA faithful, ahead of Wednesday’s Congressional certification of the presidential election, as he continues to make unproven claims that the election was stolen.
Yesterday (Jan. 4), Arlington’s elected officials urged local residents to not jump into the fray, as clashes between protesters and counter-protesters are expected in D.C.
“This Board upholds free speech and the right for all to peacefully demonstrate,” Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a press release. “We understand the desire to show support for our election processes, for democracy and the constitution. But my colleagues and I have a responsibility to our constituents to keep them safe. With far-right extremist groups broadcasting their desire to engage in violent acts to upend the results of the presidential election, we ask everyone to stay home on January 6 so the District of Columbia can better manage the situation.”
This has led Arlington and other local jurisdictions to caution residents to avoid D.C. on those days.
“Mayor Bowser has asked that people not come to the city to counter-protest, to avoid inflaming an already dangerous situation,” Garvey continued. “We support her request.”
It’s also believed that a number of supporters and Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group,” are staying at local hotels.
For the December protests, organizers suggested that attendees to stay in Crystal City. However, a number of counter-protesting groups asked hotels like the Crowne Plaza Crystal City and the Holiday Inn National Airport to refuse rooms to those coming for those rallies.
On social media, protesters coming to the area could be seen discussing hotel availability in Arlington over the past couple of days.
A protest against the Proud Boys was set to take place yesterday outside of the Holiday Inn in Alexandria, where it was thought that a number of members were staying. But that protest was canceled due to safety concerns.
The department has mutual aid agreements with a number of local and federal law enforcement agencies. This includes an agreement with U.S. Park Police, which came under fire this past summer when ACPD sent riot gear-clad officers to assist with crowd control near Lafayette Square.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is hoping to fuel a discussion about dog sled races with a protest tomorrow at a local gas station.
PETA is planning a protest, starting at noon on Thursday, at the Exxon station on the corner of Old Dominion Drive and Military Road in Cherrydale. At issue: ExxonMobil’s support of the Iditarod dog race in Alaska.
“Because ExxonMobil continues to pump money into the deadly Iditarod dog race even as other sponsors have pulled out, PETA supporters armed with yellow caution tape and ‘blood’-filled gas jugs will ‘close’ a local ExxonMobil station for cruelty tomorrow,” the organization said in a media advisory this afternoon.
The action follows another PETA protest, in September, at ExxonMobil’s Texas headquarters.
More on why the Iditarod is worthy of protest, even as far away as Arlington, according to PETA:
“ExxonMobil has the shameful distinction of being one of the last major companies still sponsoring the Iditarod’s cruelty to dogs,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging it to stop propping up an evil industry that forces dogs to run so far and so fast that they often die after inhaling their own vomit.
Jack Daniel’s, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Alaska Airlines, and many other companies cut ties with the race after PETA pointed out that more than 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod since it began. In addition to being tied up on mushers’ properties (as revealed in this PETA exposé), dogs are forced to pull heavy sleds across 1,000 miles through blinding blizzards and subzero temperatures.
More than 220 dogs were pulled off the trail during the 2020 race because of exhaustion, illness, injury, or other causes. One, Cool Cat, developed twisted intestines and almost died. Another, Betty, had pneumonia and was in critical condition, and two others refused to eat and had fevers, diarrhea, and persistent coughs.
Photo courtesy of PETA
Possible Microwave Attack in Arlington — “Shortly after Thanksgiving 2019, according to three sources familiar with the incident, a White House staffer was hit while walking her dog in Arlington, Virginia… the staffer passed a parked van. A man got out and walked past her. Her dog started seizing up. Then she felt it too: a high-pitched ringing in her ears, an intense headache, and a tingling on the side of her face.” [GQ]
Arrest in Arlington Mill Shooting — “Charges have been sought against a juvenile suspect related to the shooting that occurred on October 21, 2020. The suspect has been charged with Aggravated Malicious Wounding and Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony.” [Arlington County]
‘Headlines’ Mobile Art Project in Arlington Today — Updated at 10:30 a.m. — Per a press release: “The exhibit is called #HeadlinesAreFrontlines, a multimedia show deployed on mobile trucks featuring 12-foot screens of 1,460 daily news headlines, in order, about Donald Trump. The traveling exhibit moves through the streets of DC and Arlington on October 26th at 9am. Look for the multimedia truck in Rosslyn and Crystal City.” [Instagram, BYT]
Locals Recognized for Good Works — Two Arlington residents were recently featured on ABC 7’s local news broadcasts: 26-year-old Dominique Cross, an abuse survivor writes song to uplift victims of domestic violence, and 15-year-old Chip Nordlinger, who spends his free time helping homeless veterans.
Boy Gets Award for Saving Ailing Mom — “On October 13, 2020, tragedy struck one of our own. While playing outside, Aiden, son of Firefighter Josh Wise, noticed that his mom began suffering from a serious medical emergency. He recognized the situation and courageously called 911, providing his address and full details… Aiden was awarded an honorary Lifesaving Award, one of the department’s highest honors, for his efforts in saving his mother’s life.” [Facebook]
Big Jump in Local Home Sales — “The red-hot summer real-estate market that evolved out of the springtime COVID crisis showed no signs of abating in September across Arlington. If anything, the market last month doubled down – literally. Home sales across the county totaled 274, up 44.2 percent from the 190 transactions recorded in September 2019.” [InsideNova]
Dems Protest Outside Trump HQ — Democrats protested outside of Trump reelection HQ in Rosslyn yesterday morning, criticizing the president for not agreeing to a virtual debate with Joe Biden. They came with signs and a large “Baby Trump” balloon. [Twitter]
Photos: Outdoor Coworking Space in Rosslyn — “Like dining out and birthday parties, coworking is now an outdoor activity thanks to the pandemic. At least it is in Rosslyn. Today, the new O2 pop-up (short for Outdoor Office) opens in Gateway Park by the Key Bridge.” [Washingtonian]
Amazon Employees to Keep Teleworking — “Amazon.com Inc.’s corporate offices may not return to pre-pandemic staffing levels until the middle of next year, with some managers telling their teams that they can continue to work from home until summer 2021.” [Washington Business Journal]
Tonight: Town Hall with APS Superintendent — “Dr. Durán will be hosting a community virtual Town Hall on Friday, October 16, from 5-6 p.m., to address the Return to School Plan. The Superintendent will address questions already received and take questions during the live event using Microsoft Teams or Facebook Live.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Ballston Private School Tackles Racism — “The Sycamore School (TSS), an independent nonprofit school serving 5th-12th grades, has invested in a year-long contract with nationally regarded educator and trainer Dr. Deborah Stroman as part of their continuing commitment to address issues of systemic racism.” [Press Release]
ART Bus Ridership Down — “For the fiscal year ending June 30, the ART system – funded by the Arlington government but operated by a private contractor – reported an average daily bus boarding total of 8,224, down 12.8 percent from the 9,434 reported for the previous fiscal year.” [InsideNova]
ABC Stores Are Doing Just Fine — “From March to September, [liquor sales in Northern Virginia] were up almost 17 percent over the year before: an average of nearly $37 million per month. March remains the month with the highest dollar amount of liquor sales in NoVa, at $39.3 million. July wasn’t far behind, with $38.5 million.” [Washingtonian]
An Arlington-based organization wants people to join them for a peaceful protest on wheels.
Arlington for Justice, is asking community members to “Ride for Black Lives” on Saturday, Sept. 26, as they pedal about 14 miles in the name of justice.
The ride will begin at 3 p.m., starting at Drew Elementary School (3500 23rd St. S.) and is expected to end around 5 p.m. in front of the county courthouse (1425 N. Courthouse Road).
The route will take riders by sites in Arlington that are of Black historical significance, organization member Yolande Kwinana said.
Arlington for Justice wants the ride to:
- Call attention to racial injustice and the need for criminal justice reform in Arlington.
- Celebrate Black resilience and history in Arlington.
- Advocate for the elimination of School Resource Officers.
- Advocate for the community’s involvement in selecting a new police chief who is committed to justice system transformation.
- Advocate for ending police intervention in mental health crises.
Kwinana said there will be a rally at the end of the ride, upon arrival at the Courthouse.
“We ride together with our partners, MOMS Demand Action, Black Parents of Arlington, VA Coalition for Transforming the police, WofA, APS Reform and many more. There will be multiple speakers at the rally including elected delegates who have recently submitted bills,” Kwinana said.
County police will escort the cyclists and close some streets along the route, according to Kwinana.
There will also be a shorter ride for those with kids.
“We will have a FAMILY RIDE at the tail end of the protest,” says the event’s Facebook page. “Families can meet at 4:00 PM at the parking deck at Washington-Liberty High School… The family ride will process out towards Courthouse around 4:15-4:30 PM, joining the main ride. The ride will be about 2 miles with gentle hills. MASKS ARE REQUIRED.”
All participants are asked to bring face masks, portable bike-repair tools, and water. Water will also be handed out, and there will be first-aid volunteers along the way.
Photo via Asya Vee/Unsplash
Labor Day Closures — “Arlington County Government offices, courts, libraries & facilities will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020 for Labor Day.” Trash will be collected but parking meters will not be enforced. [Arlington County]
Library Buildings Remain Closed — “Even as neighboring Fairfax County is approaching the two-month mark for its reopened library system, Arlington officials appear in no rush to bring their library system more than marginally back to life. That means that while Arlington patrons will continue to have the chance to check out books online and pick them up at a central repository, they remain barred from visiting branches or wandering the stacks.” [InsideNova]
Bluemont BLM Protest Continues — “Father, in his red scooter, and son first rolled down the bike path to this corner in Arlington, Va., just after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. They’ve been back most weekdays since, more than 60 times so far, as demonstrators in Louisville and Atlanta marched for justice for Black Americans killed at the hands of police and protests surged following the police shooting of Jacob Blake last month in Kenosha, Wis.” [Washington Post]
Deep Dive Into New Bridge — “The preferred alternative would add a new two-track rail bridge north of the Long Bridge while retaining the existing bridge without modifications. The plan would cost approximately $1.9 billion. The existing span would retain its CSX ownership, and the new span would be Virginia’s.” [Greater Greater Washington]
MU Extends President’s Contract — “Marymount University’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend the contract of President Irma Becerra by an additional five years to 2026. This action comes one year earlier than expected, as Board members felt strongly that due to Dr. Becerra’s significant accomplishments during her tenure, it was important to ensure her continued association with Marymount on a more accelerated timeline.” [Press Release]
Trump Boat Parade Planned — “A boat parade is planned in support of President Trump on Sunday on the Potomac River. According to a Facebook post from an entity known as “Liberty Rally,” boaters will gather just before 1 PM in the Wilson Bridge no-wake zone and then proceed up the Potomac.” [Washingtonian]
Kanye Booted from Ballot — “A Richmond Circuit Court Judge has ruled that rapper Kanye West will be removed from the ballot as a presidential candidate in Virginia. The decision came after an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case and Attorney General Mark Herring accused the West camp of acting fraudulently to get on the ballot.” [NBC 12]
Va. Booze Biz is Booming — “The Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Authority announced Wednesday retail sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal 2020 — a nearly $120 million increase from the previous year and the second year in a row the liquor monopoly surpassed $1 billion in sales.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Protest Outside Westover Post Office — About 15 protesters held a “Save the U.S. Postal Service” rally outside the Post Office at 5877 Washington Blvd in Westover yesterday. The two-hour lunchtime demonstration was organized as part of the American Postal Worker Union National Day of Action. [@KalinaNewman/Twitter]
Historic Review Board Likes Shirlington Plan — “The Arlington County government’s historic-preservation advisory body seems generally satisfied that retention of historic features will be seen as an important component of the redevelopment of the Village at Shirlington. In particular, the low-slung storefronts along Campbell Avenue are expected to be protected from the wrecking ball, even as taller and more dense development likely will be allowed immediately behind them.” [InsideNova]
New BBQ Restaurant Opens Patio — “Smokecraft Modern Barbecue is excited to debut its much-anticipated patio, now open daily for outdoor dining and drinking. Arlington residents and visitors can now enjoy Smokecraft’s award-winning barbecue outside on a socially distant patio, consisting of 38 seats.” [Press Release]
TTT in Clarendon to Host Virtual DJ — Updated at 9:30 a.m. — “Beginning Friday, September 4… TTT (Tacos, Tortas & Tequila) known for its casual Mexican-influenced fare is adding an exciting bit of fun on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons with virtual DJs. Guests dining on the first floor and on the third floor TTT Rooftop, which seats 82 and offers wonderful views on the city, will enjoy watching and listening to live streaming DJ performances via large screen projection.” [Press Release]
Family Pushing for Arlington House Change — “Descendants of Charles Syphax have been courting lawmakers for the past few months to make the change, said Syphax family historian Steve Hammond, who lives in Sterling, Va. The family’s effort is motivated as much by a desire to accurately honor the full history of the property and the enslaved people who lived there as it is by any antipathy toward Lee.” [Washington Post]
Nearby: Back to School in Falls Church — Students have started the fall semester, virtually, in Falls Church. A TV news segment shows teachers conducting their virtual classes from their actual, physical classrooms. [NBC 4]
DCA Noise Study Launched — “In a partnership that stretches across the Potomac River, Arlington and Montgomery counties have launched a joint study to mitigate aircraft noise from nearby Reagan National Airport. A team of technical experts representing the suburban Virginia and Maryland counties will study flight procedures, consult residents and propose to the Federal Aviation Administration ways to reduce noise pollution.” [WTOP]
Amazon Doubling Down on Offices — Amazon “is expanding its physical offices in six U.S. cities and adding thousands of corporate jobs in those areas, an indication the tech giant is making long-term plans around office work even as other companies embrace lasting remote employment. Amazon is preparing to add 3,500 corporate jobs across hubs in New York, Phoenix, San Diego, Denver, Detroit and Dallas.” [Wall Street Journal]
State Senators Support Redistricting Amendment — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee may have come out against the state constitutional amendment on redistricting that will be on Virginia’s Nov. 3 ballot. But the three members of Arlington’s state Senate delegation say they support it nonetheless. The amendment to create a redistricting commission represents ‘a big step forward,’ said Sen. Adam Ebbin. [InsideNova]
WWII Marker Replaced by Gun Violence Garden — “In 1952, a marker was unveiled in Arlington by the Gold Star Mothers of America… In June, a handsome new garden was dedicated in that space. It was created by the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia to honor Moms Demand Action, an organization dedicated to addressing gun violence.” [Washington Post]
Local BLM Protest Organizers Profiled — “In late May, as outrage over George Floyd’s killing in police custody roiled the nation, Anika and Yolande Kwinana decided they had to do something. Anika, 49, a program manager in the Kennedy Center’s education division, and Yolande, 28, a business development associate for Salesforce… decided to organize a smaller demonstration themselves, in Arlington.” [Arlington Magazine]
Local Beer Store Pivots to Delivery — “Les Shaver tells the story of The Brew Shop, a specialty wine and beer store in Arlington, Va., that has been exceptionally resilient despite the impact of Covid-19. In the article, How One Small Beer Shop Tapped Into Online Sales in Response to COVID-19, Shaver recounts how owners Julie Drews and Beth Helle have been able to stay ahead of the curve by quickly shifting their brick and mortar format to online and delivery services.” [Craft Brewing Business]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Bold posters inscribed with “Black Lives Matter” prompted a raucous symphony of honks from passing traffic at a busy Arlington intersection.
The conductor directing the clamor at Wilson Blvd and George Mason Drive on a weekday evening last week was Bob Edgar, who is no stranger to advocacy.
Edgar and his son Leteane Monatsi, along with a handful of supporters, have been drawing attention for weeks — in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd — by waving flags and signs saying “Black Lives Matter,” “HONK” and “Together We Rise.” In light of the death of civil rights leader and Georgia Congressman John Lewis, the pair also added a sign saying, “Honor John Lewis.”
The father and son duo, both in motorized wheelchairs, are committed to spreading their message and have protested at the intersection since the death of Floyd on May 25 and plan to keep coming out to the intersection for many months to come. They’ve been at it despite sweltering temperatures and the ongoing pandemic.
“We thought the best way to express our feelings was by coming to this street corner,” said Edgar. “Our whole intent in doing this is really to keep the issue of Black Lives Matter in front of people in this area.”
When the pair initially started coming out to the street corner during the evening rush hour, Edgar said they had “no idea how people would respond.” However, the most common reaction to their demonstration was to honk in support. From there, the pair added a bold “HONK” sign to encourage the response.
“We call this the Million Honk March,” said Edgar.
He said on an average day they will hear hundreds or even thousands of horn honks, ranging from a single honk to “going berserk.”
Edgar and Monatsi have gained some recognition since they began appearing at the intersection. As they go to and from their house, people will stop them on the street, eager to talk about issues, according to Edgar.
“It’s rewarding because we’re doing something that we think is a modest contribution,” said Edgar.
Edgar, a retired Howard University professor, has taken part in many movements over the years. He got his start protesting the Vietnam War, and then began working on South African issues and anti-apartheid demonstrations.
Edgar wants people who drive by to think about what their “Black Lives Matter” banner signifies at this moment in history, and what the country has gone through to get to this point in time.
“It’s not only about Black lives mattering now, but it’s about the history of our country,” said Edgar. “We’re addressing historical legacies as well as the present.”
Photo by Madeline Taylor