The annual Army Ten-Miler race returns this weekend for the 35th year in a row, prompting several road closures.
Runners will hit the pavement to compete in this 10-mile race on Sunday, October 13, following a route that starts and ends at the Pentagon and takes runners into D.C. via the Key Bridge, and back to Virginia via the 14th Street Bridge.
Participants will be released in waves, with athletes in the Wounded Warrior division kicking off the day at 7:50 a.m.
The Arlington County Police Department announced a long list of road closures in a press release earlier this week.
The department said it’s planning to coordinate closures the day of the race together with the Virginia State Police, U.S. Park Police, and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency.
The closures include:
- Route 110, between Rosslyn and Crystal City, will be closed in both directions from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 2:00 p.m. Motorists may use the George Washington Memorial Parkway as an alternative.
- There will be no access to southbound Route 110 from N. Marshall Drive
- The public may access Arlington National Cemetery from N. Marshall Drive
- I-66 westbound will be closed from Washington, D.C. to N. Scott Street from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m. Motorists may use the George Washington Memorial Parkway or Route 50 as an alternative route.
- To access I-66 westbound, enter from N. Scott Street in Rosslyn.
- I-66 eastbound, Exit 75 will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
- North Lynn Street, from Gateway Park to the Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
- The exit for Route 29 North/Key Bridge from the George Washington Memorial Parkway will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
- The Francis Scott Key Memorial Bridge will be closed in both directions, with no vehicular access from 4:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
- I-395 HOV northbound from Crystal City to the 14th Street Bridge will be closed from 6:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.
- Eads Street from Army Navy Drive into the Pentagon/ northbound I-395 HOV lanes will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.
- I-395 southbound HOV exit to S. Eads Street / Pentagon South Parking lot will be closed from 5:00 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m.
- Route 27 in both directions from George Washington Memorial Parkway to I-395 will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to approximately 10:00 a.m.
- Army Navy Drive from S. Eads Street to 12th Street S. from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- 12th Street S. from S. Eads Street to Long Bridge Drive from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.
- Long Bridge Drive will be closed from 12th Street S. to Boundary Channel Drive from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.
- Boundary Channel Drive will be closed from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 12:00 p.m.
Race attendees are encouraged to use Metro to get to the race via the Pentagon or Pentagon City Metro stations.
Those traveling by ride hailing services like Lyft, Uber, or Via are asked to use the drop-off point for runners at Army Navy Drive and S. Hayes Street.
Photo via Flickr Pool/Rob Cannon
Arlington will soon be studying how to factor racial equity in policymaking thanks to a new resolution passed this weekend.
The Arlington County Board unanimously adopted a resolution its meeting this past Saturday, September 21, committing the county to gathering data on racial inequality in Arlington, creating a “scorecard” to track progress made, and designing a tool to help officials consider race during policy and budget decisions, among other actions.
The three-page resolution is part of the county’s participation in a training program with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national racial justice organization from University of California Berkeley’s racial justice institute and activist organization Race Forward.
As part of the the nine-month program, county officials will design the racial equity tool for policymaking, aimed at improving currently unequal policy outcomes based on race.
“Arlington County has achieved great success in attaining ‘secure, attractive, residential and commercial neighborhoods’ with engaged citizenry and resilient, sustainable communities, but recognizes this is not the experience of all Arlingtonians,” reads the Saturday resolution.
County Board Chair Christian Dorsey said that many “grassroots” efforts have existed in Arlington to address racism and unequal access to resources, but that’s an imperfect system.
“We weren’t hitting everything,” he said. “It was not comprehensive.”
“The pervasiveness and the systemic nature of inequity in our society means you can’t pick and choose where you want to make a difference,” added Dorsey. “You have to actually make that difference enterprise-wide, community-wide.”
Board member Katie Cristol praised county staff for their work on the project, and said staff buy-in was essential because everything local government does from “filling pop-holes to renewing library books” touches themes of racial equity.
Officials noted during the weekend discussion that the commitment to equity is designed to build on the county’s existing equality initiatives dedicated to housing, health, childcare, and internet access. Research previously found a 10-year life expectancy gap between some Arlington residents depending on where they live and that students of color faced higher rates of obesity, teen pregnancy, and lower rates of care for mental health.
“Simply put, it’s about meeting people where they are,” Assistant County Manager Samia Byrd said of the new initiative. “And beginning to open doors to provide access to pathways that have been traditionally or systematically blocked.”
Byrd said Arlington will assemble an interdepartmental task force to address racial inequities that will include Arlington Public Schools, which has faced accusations of racial bias in student discipline, and settled a lawsuit with the Department of Justice over inadequate support for English-language learning students.
“The vast majority of our history is one where government has played a role in creating and maintaining racial inequities,” said GARE Director Julie Nelson. “And so for us it’s really important for us to recognize what our vision is, and what our values are, and to act accordingly.”
GARE currently works with local governments in around 40 states, including Virginia and Maryland, according to its website.
“The current paradigm is challenging the premise of equality and instead considering equity,” Byrd noted.
“Frankly this is a step forward for the families that [the Arlington Food Assistance Center] serves,” said AFAC’s Executive Director and CEO Charles Meng.
“This isn’t about feeling good,” said Board member Libby Garvey. “It’s about making it better for everybody.”
Clarendon Day and two other festivals will take to Arlington streets on Saturday, prompting celebrations, road closures, and delicious food all around.
The massive Clarendon Day street festival which draws tens of thousands of attendees will run from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. this Saturday, September 21, and will feature food trucks and booths from vendors like donut maker Good Company, live music, arts and crafts vendors, and dance performances.
The annual Clarendon Day races will also return. Participants can sign up for the 5K race at 8 a.m., and a 10K race at 9 a.m. starting at Wilson Blvd and N. Fillmore Street, with both finishing in Rosslyn at Wilson Blvd and N. Fort Myer Drive. Runners also have the option of running both races.
Children can take part in their own, 713-foot race around the plaza driveway of the Market Common. The race, which starts at 9:30 a.m., welcomes parents along with kids and does not require separate registration for both. All kids who join the race will be awarded for their participation.
Registration costs $15 for the “Kids Dash” race, $45 for the 5K, and $50 for the 10K. Runners interested in both the 5K and the 10K can pay $55 for both races.
ACPD will close several streets from 3 a.m. until approximately 10 p.m. to make room for the festival, including:
- Wilson Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Garfield Street
- Clarendon Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Garfield Street
- N. Highland Street between Washington Blvd. and N. Hartford Street
Police will also close additional roads for the races from 5-10:30 a.m.:
- Wilson Boulevard, between N. Garfield Street and Route 110
- N. Kent Street, between Wilson Boulevard and 19th Street N.
- The entirety of Route 110 northbound, from Route 1 to Wilson Blvd. Southbound lanes remain open to traffic.
Elsewhere, near Columbia Pike, police will close 9th Street S. between Walter Reed Drive and S. Highland Street from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. to make way for the Prio Bangla Multicultural Street Festival, which celebrates pan-Asian and Latin American cultures and runs from 12-9 p.m.
The all-day festival will feature vendors with traditional foods, as well as handcrafts, clothing, and jewelry, paintings and henna art, and representatives from local businesses.
“By simply the trading and transferring of ideas, customs, beliefs, cultural habits etc. between diverse cultures living here in the USA, we would be able to accomplish our vision of living in harmony in this community,” organizers wrote on its event page.
Meanwhile, the newly renamed Green Valley neighborhood will also be throwing a celebration of its history and culture from 12-6 p.m. at Drew Elementary School (3500 23rd Street S.)
The community party will feature a DJ, a basketball tournament at 2 p.m. for youth and service workers, as well as a fish fry and barbecue.
“Today, residents pride ourselves on being part of a community where all are welcome,” organizers wrote in an email announcing the event. “Despite development, migration and gentrification that have altered the demographics drastically, we are determined to retain our unique identity as Green Valley continues to be one of ‘Arlington County’s Finest Communities.'”
The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Arlington Public Schools parents Amina Luqman-Dawson and Robert Dawson, following the publication of our article, Group of Black Parents Say Racial Disparities in Arlington Schools Need to End.
For parents with black children in Arlington Public Schools, hope and wariness accompanies the experience. Like other families, we have hopeful expectations about our community’s excellent schools. We read the headlines. APS Named Top School System in Virginia for the second year in a row. Four of our high schools are ranked in the top 2% of schools nationwide. We hope our children will also be beneficiaries of that excellence. Yet, the data tells a different story. It tells a tale of (at least) two school systems in one County. One which offers countless advantages to white children, the other which offers far less to black children.
The tale unfolds in APS’s own published data recently compiled by Black Parents of Arlington. In one story, a white child enters APS, and from the first years in school, that child has a one in four chance of being identified as gifted. By middle school that child has a 46% chance of being of being labeled gifted. 46%! That “gifted” child will be, at times, clustered with other “gifted” students, and will ultimately end up in higher-level classes which are disproportionately white. Just as the white child’s high intelligence will be presumed, that child’s innocence will also be presumed, with a far lower likelihood of being suspended than their black and Latinx counterparts.
For instance, at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, despite a 32% white population, white students account for only 9% of suspensions, and at Yorktown High School, despite a 65% white population, white students constitute only 28% of suspensions. In their course work, the white child has about a 90% chance of taking at least one AP/IB course and around an 80% chance of passing at least one AP/IB exam. The white child will almost certainly graduate on-time, but more importantly, has around an 80% chance of graduating with an advanced diploma, best suited when applying to competitive colleges and universities. For white students, the tale of APS is often a great one.
In contrast, the APS tale is quite different for a black child. It begins in elementary school, where a black child has only a 12% chance of being identified as gifted. By the time that child reaches middle school, it rises to 21%. As the child’s gifted identification is lower than the white child, her/his presumption of guilt is far higher. For example, in suspensions at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, despite a black population of 17%, black children received 82% of suspensions. At Washington and Liberty High School, despite a 9% black population, black children constituted 43% of suspensions. APS data only reflects the most punitive sanction, suspension.
We still don’t know about disproportionate uses of other disciplinary measures, such as detention, in-class and in-school sanctions that disrupt a child’s learning and define how black children see themselves. In their course work, about 62% of black students will take at least one AP/IB course. However, a black child has only a 30% chance of passing one of those course exams. Is it any wonder; after they’ve been over disciplined and under educated relative to their white counterparts? Although it’s highly likely a black child will graduate on-time, it’s not likely that child will leave APS with an advanced diploma. Only 46% of black children graduate with an advanced diploma. The tale of APS for black students isn’t quite as bright.
The data also shows that prospects for black students may differ depending on the APS schools they attend. For the past two reporting years, SOL disparities in math and reading between black and white students are relatively small (a 0 to 10-point difference) in some elementary schools, including Arlington Traditional, Long Branch, Randolph, Campbell, Carlin Springs and Arlington Science.
(Updated at 4 p.m.) Several parents with children in Arlington Public Schools have formed a group to address what they say are persistent racial disparities in the county’s school system.
The group, Black Parents of Arlington, shared a pamphlet with public data on issues like discipline they say show how APS students of color are being left behind. Together, the members plan to advocate for solutions and support other parents of color in running for PTAs and APS advisory positions.
“Yes we are happy to know that the majority of black students are taking at least one AP or IB class,” said BPA member Amina Luqman-Dawson. “However, it is really sobering to see that the pass rates are at 31%.”
Another area where disparities exist: standardized testing. The latest results from state-mandated Standards of Learning tests show disparities between white, Asian and multiracial students on one side, and black and Latino students on the other side, the Sun Gazette reported Tuesday.
Members said they were proud of APS’s high on-time graduation rates, but pointed out that APS data indicates only about 46% of black students earned advanced studies diplomas over the last three years — compared to around 82% of white students.
“We’re not looking for just passing, we’re looking for excellence,” said Luqman-Dawson, who lives in Shirlington and works with education policy and non-profits.
Another data set highlighted in the group’s pamphlet is the rate at which white youth versus black youth are entered into APS’s Gifted and Talented Program: 12% percent of black students in 2017-2018 entered the program, compared to 25% of white students.
“We are not only looking at how black students are being negatively stereotyped,” said Luqman-Dawson. “I think you’re also looking at how white students are being favorably viewed.”
In response, Arlington Public Schools acknowledged the issue and said it is continuing to work to close what it described as an “opportunity gap.”
“We agree that there is a gap that exists between student groups,” APS spokesman Frank Bellavia said in a statement today (Wednesday). “We have a professional commitment to close the opportunity gap, and this is a top priority for APS and the School Board.”
Bellavia said APS needed to make more improvements, but highlighted some the school system had made, including:
- Increasing the graduation rate of black students
- Increasing the pass rates of mathematics standardized tests for black students
- Hiring a Diversity Officer with the fiscal year 2020 budget
- The APS Mathematics Office holding four parent-teacher sessions for black families
The school system has previously faced scrutiny for its discipline rates, racist reactions to a diversity sign in Yorktown High School, and more recently, for backlash after a teacher unknowingly-planted cotton. In May, APS also signed a Department of Justice settlement over inadequate support for English-language-learning students and their families.
BPA member Sherrice Kerns, who lives in Penrose and works as a policy analyst, pointed out in a Tuesday interview that these findings mirrors national data about racial disparities in schools.
“APS is certainly not immune to these sorts of disparities,” she said.
“This is not unique to Arlington,” agreed Bellavia in his statement. “School systems across the country have been addressing this challenge for a long time.”
Today, BPA’s members say they hope to work together on several problems, including:
- Closing the achievement gap between black and white students
- Making staff cultural competency training mandatory
- Updating discipline policies to ensure black students are not excessively punished nor unfairly prosecuted
Members of the group all told ARLnow that they hope BPA can help advocate for other parents of color who don’t have time for nighttime meeting and advocacy. They also are seeking to boost membership in PTAs among black parents. The group is planning a cookout for parents interested in joining BPA on Sunday, September 8 at Alcova Heights Park (901 S. George Mason Drive) from 3-5 p.m.
“One of the our goals is to bridge the gap between the parents who aren’t able to show up to meetings,” said Luqman-Dawson.
The members said overall they support APS, with several mentioning they moved to Arlington because APS was highly ranked and offered quality programs. But since then, Luqman-Dawson said it’s been “sobering” to see racial bias even at the schools as good as the ones in APS.
“It’s hard to send a child to school thinking that they are going to be victims, or going to be poorly judged,” she said.
With dangerous, scorching heat prompting warnings from forecasters and local officials, organizers of outdoor events are reconsidering their plans this weekend.
Among them: the popular, annual Crystal City Twilighter 5K race.
The race, which was scheduled for Saturday evening, has been cancelled, the Crystal City Business Improvement District said this afternoon.
“The Arlington County Fire Department & Pacers have deemed the weather conditions unsafe and the event will not be rescheduled,” the BID said via social media. “If you are registered already you will be contacted by Pacers directly and you can still pick up your packets with your shirt at the Pacers store today and tomorrow.”
(Updated at 11:00 a.m.) The Armed Forces Cycling Classic is returning to Arlington this weekend, prompting several road closures.
Teams will compete in a series of races sponsored by the the Boeing Company on Saturday, June 1, to win the “Crystal Cup.” The teams will then return on Sunday, June 2, for a chance to win the “Clarendon Cup.” This series marks the 22nd year for the annual event.
This Saturday, the race will open with an all ages “Challenge Ride” from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at 2100 Crystal Drive along a 10 kilometer track. Afterwards, the event will shift gear to line up the day’s professional and amateur races.
ACPD said police will close several streets in Crystal City and Rosslyn from 4:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, including:
- Crystal Drive, from S. 15th Street through S. 23rd Street
- Wilson Boulevard, from N. Kent Street to the Route 110 ramp
- Route 110, from Rosslyn to Crystal City
- S. Clark Street, from S. 20th Street to S. 23rd Street
- S. 20th Street, from Crystal Drive to S. Clark Street
- S. 18th Street, from Crystal Drive to S. Bell Street
- S. 23rd Street from Crystal Drive to S. Clark Street
- Crystal Drive (West side), from S. 23rd St to the Central Center Parking Garage
- S. 12th Street and Long Bridge Drive
Competitors will roll into the Clarendon Cup Cycling Classic on Sunday. Professional teams will race 100-laps around a 1 kilometer area. Police said they plan to close the following roads from 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate the event:
- Wilson Blvd, from N. Fillmore Street to Washington Blvd
- Clarendon Blvd, from Washington Blvd to N. Fillmore Street
- Washington Blvd, from Wilson Blvd to N. Highland Street
- North Highland Street, from Wilson Blvd to Washington Blvd
- North Garfield Street / N. Fillmore Street, from Wilson Blvd to Washington Blvd
Organizers recommend attendees park at the Crystal City underground at 1600 Crystal Drive but warn them to remove bicycle roof racks from vehicles before driving down into the parking garage.
The county said in a press release that parking near both races is limited, and is encouraging attendees to use Metro or ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Metro-goers can access the Armed Forces Cycling Classic from the Crystal City Metro station, and the Clarendon Cup race via the Clarendon Metro station. Both stations are open during Metro’s summer shutdown south of Reagan National Airport.
For both events, police are warning drivers to keep on the lookout for additional road closures and “no parking” signs in around the events.
Flickr pool photos by Michael Coffman
An annual 5K race through Fairlington is scheduled for Saturday (April 27) to support Ellie McGinn — a local fifth-grader with a rare degenerative brain and spinal cord disease.
The race raises money for A Cure for Ellie, a foundation supporting research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore that aims to cure McGinn’s disease: leukodystrophy. The race is now in its sixth year and researchers are now in the process of testing new therapies.
There are fewer than 100 known cases of the disease, but over the last year a girl in another local family was diagnosed with the same disease, said race organizer Beth McGinn.
The run also raises money for Abingdon Elementary’s physical education and literacy programs, which helps sponsor P.E. events and book clubs at the school.
The non-competitive and family-friendly event is hosted by Abington Elementary — where McGinn attends — and the Fairlington Citizens Association. As of yesterday, McGinn said 550 people had registered.
Registration in the 5K is $35 for adults or $20 for children, which includes a t-shirt for participating in the race. A one-mile fun-run is $15 for adults or $12 for children. The race website says that dogs and strollers are welcome. Race packets can be picked up tomorrow (Friday) from 3-6 p.m. at 3035 S. Abingdon Street.
Several streets in Fairlington will be closed from 7-9:30 a.m. on the day of the race, according to Arlington County Police:
- Abingdon Street between 29th and 36th streets
- 36th Street between 34th Street S. up to and including Stafford Street
- Wakefield loop off 34th Street S.
- Utah Street between 32nd and 34th street
Photo via A Cure for Ellie. Route map via Arlington County Police Department.
Crystal City’s 5K Fridays are just around the corner for those looking for a “low key race” each week.
The race series returns to Crystal City for its 10th anniversary this year. Starting on April 5, runners can race each Friday starting 6:30 p.m. Billed as the area’s “fittest happy hour,” Crystal City 5K Fridays give race participants tickets for exclusive bars after they finish.
The race itself starts and ends at the Crystal City Courtyard Green (2121 Crystal Drive), looping along Crystal Drive and Long Bridge Drive.
Attendees can register here and pay $25 for one race, or $75 for all the races which comes with a free T-shirt.
Crystal City 5K Fridays is organized by Pacers Running store and sponsored by the Crystal City Business Improvement District and JBG Smith.
Runners can check their bags with race attendants before the 5K begins and will have access to restrooms in the Crystal City Shops (2100 Crystal Drive), per the organizer’s website.
Participants can use a water station at the start line to fill up water bottles and will be able to refill at another water station organizers say will be outside Long Bridge Park.
Current course records for the Friday race are 15 minutes, 10 seconds for men set by Bert Rodriguez in 2011, and 16 minutes, 22 seconds for women set by Susanna Sullivan in 2016, according to the Pacers website.
Photo via Pacers Running
Baby Boy for Cristol — Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol gave birth to her first child, a baby boy, this past weekend. She plans to call in to Saturday’s County Board meeting and participate in the crucial Amazon incentive package vote. [Twitter]
Building Plans for Temporary Amazon Office — JBG Smith “submitted plans March 7 to make common area improvements throughout the 12-story, 221,000-square-foot [office building at] 1800 S. Bell St., to be leased in full by Amazon.” [Washington Business Journal]
County May Change Building Plan Practices — “Arlington officials are considering ending same-day viewing at the Department of Community Planning, Housing & Development after a Washington Business Journal reporter asked to view a permit for a building Amazon.com Inc. is expected to lease, said Ben Aiken, director of constituent services in the county manager’s office.” [Washington Business Journal]
VRE Plans Moving Forward — “Virginia Railway Express is moving forward with plans to build an expanded Crystal City Station, a key step needed to expand and improve service. The VRE Operations Board is due to vote Friday to allow contracting to move forward for engineering work based on the already approved concept design.” [WTOP]
New Leases in Rosslyn — Earlier this week Monday Properties announced the signing of three lease deals at 1100 Wilson Boulevard, one half of its Rosslyn twin towers. The firms leasing new space are The Health Management Academy and Trilogy Federal LLC, while WJLA owner Sinclair Broadcasting is expanding its existing space. [Monday Properties]
Extensive Road Closures Saturday — Expect a number of road closures in Courthouse, Rosslyn and near the Pentagon Saturday morning for the annual Four Courts Four Miler. [Arlington County]
Nearby: Gentrification Fears in Arlandria — “Concern of rising rents and gentrification have always been present in the Arlandria neighborhood, which sits between South Glebe and West Glebe roads and ends at Potomac Yard. Amazon.com Inc.’s plan to move to nearby Arlington has only intensified those worries.” [Washington Business Journal]
New research suggests that people living in Arlington’s poorest neighborhoods also have the fewest opportunities to lead healthy lives when compared to other communities throughout the entire D.C. region.
A study commissioned by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University show that many of Arlington’s most diverse neighborhoods with the lowest median incomes, such Columbia Heights, Nauck, Douglas Park and Buckingham, also scored the lowest in their measure of “health opportunities” across metropolitan Washington. The results closely mirror a previous study’s findings that people living in many of the same neighborhoods lack economic opportunities as well.
The researchers developed a “Healthy Places Index,” known as HPI, to evaluate not only health outcomes (like life expectancy) in each community, but also to understand whether people have the opportunity to be healthy based on where they live. That includes evaluations of factors like air quality, access to healthcare, housing affordability, the availability of public transportation and education levels.
The study applies that index to neighborhoods across the D.C. area, examining communities using granular Census tract designations to detect patterns within counties and cities in the region. Though the group found that the overall health of the 4.5 million people living in the District and its suburbs is “excellent” and “well above the national average,” they also uncovered “islands of disadvantage” within even wealthy localities like Arlington.
Even though some of the more affluent, higher educated areas of the county rate quite highly in the study’s measure of health opportunities, others rank among the lowest in all of Northern Virginia. The researchers identified the Columbia Heights neighborhood, just off Columbia Pike, as having one of the “the lowest HPI scores in the region,” noting that about 23 percent of adult residents there live in poverty. Buckingham, located along Route 50, also posted poor HPI scores, and the study noted that its residents have a median income of about $38,125 annually.
“The researchers found stark contrasts in socioeconomic and environmental conditions in Northern Virginia, often between neighborhoods separated by only a few miles or blocks,” the VCU academics wrote. “As was observed elsewhere in the region, people of color were disproportionately exposed to adverse living conditions.”
To illustrate those points, the study compared McLean — one of the wealthiest and whitest communities in the area — to Columbia Heights. The former ranked among the top-scoring neighborhoods in the region on the HPI, a far cry from Columbia Heights’ own performance.
“The population in the McLean tract was predominately white (70 percent) and Asian (19 percent), the population in Columbia Heights was largely Hispanic (51 percent) and black (19 percent),” the researchers wrote. “More than half was foreign-born, and most immigrated during 2000-2009.”
While the researchers identify a whole host of factors that could be contributing to such a split, they also stress that it is impossible to ignore the impact of “institutional racism” in understanding why such a divide exists between the races when it comes to health opportunities. They note that discriminatory housing and economic policies mean that people of color are “more likely to live in racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods that suffer from decades of disinvestment,” which can have a whole host of negative consequences for their health.
“As a result, neighborhoods of color often lack access to affordable high-quality housing, stores that sell healthy foods, green space, clean air and clean water,” the researchers wrote. “These communities are often targets for fast food outlets, tobacco and alcohol marketing and liquor stores. These conditions affect not only the health, economic opportunity, and social mobility of people of color, but they also weaken the health and economy of the entire region.”
Accordingly, the study recommends approaches recognizing that history to officials sitting on the Council of Governments, as they try to craft a response across the region.
“Real solutions require targeted investments in marginalized neighborhoods to improve access to affordable, healthy housing as well as affordable transportation, child care, and health care (e.g., primary care, dental care, behavioral health services),” they wrote. “Everyone benefits from this approach, not only the residents in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, but also the entire regional economy. Economic and racial inequity saps the strength of the economy. Everyone pays a price for inaction: persistent poverty and social isolation fuel discontent, unhealthy behaviors (e.g., drug addiction), crime, and violence.”