Pentagon City Metro Elevator Update — From Arlington Transit: “On Sun., Sept. 19, the bus stop serving ART 42, 74, 84 & 87, Metrobus 7A & 22A, and Fairfax Connector 599 (AM) will temporarily be relocated south on S Hayes St. due construction of Pentagon City Metro second elevator.” [Twitter]
Huffpost Calls Arlington GOP Tweet ‘Racist’ — “In a racist tweet Monday that was promptly ratioed into the shame museum, the Arlington County Republican Committee in Virginia suggested that two Democratic congresswomen of color should retire and go work as lobbyists for the Taliban… ‘This tweet isn’t about race ― it’s about the Squad’s constant support for anti-American sentiment abroad,’ the Arlington GOP tweeted.” [Huffpost]
ACFD Responds to Courthouse Gas Leak — “Arlington County Fire and Rescue crews said a gas leak reported just before 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Courthouse area was fixed about an hour later.” [Patch, Twitter]
Local Nurse Lauded for Covid Candor — “An Arlington woman who continues going above and beyond to help her community throughout the pandemic is being nominated for a community hero award from her fellow neighbors.” [WJLA]
Arlington Students Make ‘Merit’ Semis — “Sixteen high school students from Arlington have been named 2022 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.” [Patch, Arlington Public Schools]
Restaurant Recs for Those With Kids — “Going out with kids is complicated enough — finding dishes for picky eaters, hoping they will sit still long enough to finish their food and not terrorize other tables, praying you can relax for five minutes… These restaurants are going out of their way to create a welcoming, inclusive and safe dining environment for families, with outdoor dining and child-pleasing choices.” [Arlington Magazine]
An Arlington County employee discovered “KKK” scrawled on a pillar in the parking garage below the county government’s Courthouse headquarters last week.
The employee, who is Black, found the message in the garage for the Ellen M. Bozman Government Center (2100 Clarendon Blvd) and reported the incident on Thursday morning to County Board members, County Manager Mark Schwartz, Chief Race and Equity Officer Samia Byrd and the Arlington branch of the NAACP, according to the local NAACP. The employee filed a police report yesterday (Monday).
The Arlington NAACP shared an excerpt from the email chain between the employee and the county that it said encapsulates how the incident harms more than just the individual who found it.
“It seems because I reported it, and because I happen to be Black, I am seen as a single victim,” the employee wrote to the county in an email, according to the NAACP. “I do not see myself in this way.”
In a statement to ARLnow, County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti condemned the message.
“It’s unfortunate and unacceptable to see racist graffiti anywhere in our community, let alone in our own parking garage,” de Ferranti said. “This garage is open to the public at all times and frequented by those using the businesses throughout the Courthouse neighborhood.”
Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services and property owner JBG Smith took steps to remove the writing from the pillar, he said.
“Our thanks go to the individual who reported it to us,” he added. “ACPD is also investigating, and we will have a more extensive response regarding the steps we have, are, and will be taking over the coming days.”
In a statement, the Arlington branch of the NAACP took a stronger stance, saying any county employee who parked in that garage was “victimized” by the message and emphasizing that this incident is not “graffiti.”
“Speech expressing hatred of a particular group of people is defined as ‘hate speech’ and is not ‘graffiti,'” the organization said. “The Arlington Branch NAACP condemns any form of hate speech and stands with the Black employees and any employee or citizen who reports hate speech.”
The NAACP asked county leadership to send a message to the county workforce that hate speech will not be tolerated anywhere.
“However, sadly, the County missed the opportunities to get in front of this and, as of Monday evening, four days later, still had not addressed these concerns with its employees,” it said.
Hateful messages have popped up elsewhere in Arlington in recent years.
“It’s OK to be white” was sprayed over a church’s racial justice sign last summer. “Heil Trump,” “KKK” and two swastikas were found on a dumpster two years ago — the same year racial and gender slurs were found on a building that serves people with developmental delays.
The full statement from the NAACP is below.
Arlington County will now have a Community Oversight Board and Independent Policing Auditor able to investigate community complaints about police officers.
During a four hour meeting last night (Wednesday), 24 leaders and community members spoke, ranging from Arlington NAACP leadership to police officers. The County Board overcame some disagreements to unanimously approve a new board that takes complaints and has an independent auditor to conduct investigations concurrent with internal police department investigations.
If necessary, the board can subpoena for evidence or witnesses if the department withholds them.
These were powers recommended by the Police Practices Work Group, convened one year ago after the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in part to imagine what a review board could look like. And proponents said that subpoena power — the most hotly contested authority last night — is the sole key to a fully independent board.
“The subpoena power is integral to the independence of the Community Oversight Board,” County Board Vice-Chair Katie Cristol said. “Otherwise, the community oversight is just another step in the ACPD chain of command.”
On Twitter, she further explained the actions taken last night.
The PPG recommended empowering a Community Oversight Board & designating a professional auditor to investigate on their behalf, concurrently w/ but independent of ACPD's internal investigations. We adopted their model! Incl. subpoena power, to ensure a strong & independent COB.
— Katie Cristol (@kcristol) July 22, 2021
Above all: We adopt this strong COB proactively. No accident that Arlington hasn't had misconduct headlines: Officers' own zero tolerance for misconduct is the bedrock of our trustworthy PD. The COB brings community into this high standard of accountability & adds transparency.
— Katie Cristol (@kcristol) July 22, 2021
Board Member Libby Garvey, who ultimately voted in favor of the ordinance, did express some reservations with the power.
“Right now, the County Board has the right to subpoena… It’s one of our jobs,” she said. “I feel it’s unfair to put that on resident volunteers, as well-trained and well-meaning as they might be.”
Steve Yanda, the treasurer of Arlington Coalition of Police, said the group supports a review board but not the subpoena power, given how closely ACPD officers watch themselves.
The last three years of investigations by ACPD’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) led to 639 suspension hours and to 11 officers leaving the department, he said. ACPD-originated complaints led to 53% of the suspension hours and 45% of the officer departures.
“It flies in face of logic to believe that a department that scrutinizes itself to the degree that the ACPD does, needs to also be monitored under threat of subpoena power by the community it serves,” he said.
And that OPR investigative process can be “mentally and physically exhausting and nerve-wracking,” said officer Tracey Bates.
“Adding on any additional pressures to an already thorough, exhausting process will lead to more highly qualified officers leaving the department, and with that comes the decline in officers, a decline in quality of services, and a decline in community engagement,” he said.
NAACP President Julius “J.D.” Spain said the board cannot privilege the voices of a few worried about police morale over the voices of community members advocating for a powerful, independent board, as recommended by the Police Practices Workgroup.
“The time has come in this country, in this Commonwealth, to stop rearranging furniture and start rebuilding the house, with transparency and accountability,” he said.
In a letter to the County Board earlier this year, public defender Brad Haywood said the PPG’s recommendations “give that oversight body the power it needs to solve the problems it identifies; to obtain the information, to conduct thorough investigations, and to make recommendations not just for how individual officers can do better, but how the Department and the County more broadly can do better.”
Even with these broad authorities, County Board members said the work is just beginning.
“We have to set in place an opportunity here for the community to figure out if our police department is to be trusted, if they don’t believe so already, and vice versa: for the police department to trust that the oversight being instituted today is designed not to get them, but to improve our overall approach to policing,” said Christian Dorsey.
A new timeline from Arlington County tracks how local policy decisions in the 20th Century disadvantaged people of color, particularly Black residents.
The county has released two timelines, spanning 1930-45 and 1946-60, which recount how policies and projects — touching on housing, education, transportation, planning and infrastructure — segregated Arlington. It also chronicles how Black residents responded by investing in their communities, getting into local government, protesting and going to the courts.
“This timeline will allow us to take inventory of who we are, where we have been, and how we are growing and evolving as we normalize, organize and operationalize racial equity,” said Arlington’s Chief Race and Equity Officer Samia Byrd. “It will help ground us in facts, communicate the importance of why we lead with race in addressing systemic inequities as a government, and remind our community that racism is real and why it matters.”
Once complete, the historical resource will span from the early 1600s to present day. For now, here are some of the important events that the county included from 1930-45:
- 1930s: The Hall’s Hill “Segregation Wall,” separating the majority-white neighborhood of Woodlawn and the majority-Black neighborhood, goes up.
- 1931-32: Route 50 is built and the streetcars between Washington D.C. and Mount Vernon are shut down, cementing the county’s racial divides.
- 1932: Hoffman-Boston Junior High School opened and would later become a high school. Up until this point, Black students’ education ended after primary school.
- 1932: After switching from an appointed County Board to an elected one, Dr. Edward T. Morton, the county’s first Black physician, became one of the first Black Arlingtonians to run for office. (It took 55 years for a Black candidate to win a County Board election.)
- 1940s: Pentagon construction displaced 225 African-American families, or 810 people. They were relocated to two trailer camps near Columbia Pike and in Green Valley.
- 1943: Without public transit, and with lower rates of car ownership, Black residents founded Friendly Cab in Green Valley and Crown Cab in Hall’s Hill to connect their communities to the region.
While Arlington recently honored the story of four students who desegregated Stratford Junior High School in 1959, the road to desegregating schools, mired in lawsuits and bureaucracy, began more than a decade prior and continued after their first day.
From 1946-60, here are some significant moments related to the struggle for an equal, integrated Arlington:
- 1946: D.C. ruled that Arlington students attending D.C. schools would have to pay tuition. Many Black Arlingtonians sent their kids to D.C. schools because they had more resources than the county’s segregated public schools.
- 1947: Constance Carter sued the Arlington School Board because facilities at the all-Black Hoffman-Boston High School were unequal to those at the all-white Washington-Lee High School.
- 1950: A federal judge reversed the district court’s ruling in favor of the School Board. The county was forced to invest in segregated Black schools and Black teachers were given the same salary as white instructors.
- 1951: Fire Station 8, the all Black-volunteer fire station that served Black communities, received its first county-paid firefighter — 10 years after the other stations.
- 1953: The Veteran’s Memorial YMCA pool opened, serving “non-white” residents barred from other county facilities. The county opened its first integrated community center at Lubber Run Park in 1956.
- 1960: A sit-in at the People’s Drug Store in Cherrydale protesting segregated lunch counters kicked off a month of sit-ins. Woolworth’s store in Shirlington was the first to announce it was desegregating; 21 lunch counters followed suit.
The county will host a discussion next Wednesday (July 21) via Facebook Live at 7 p.m. called “Race Matters: Anticipating our Future, Examining our Past.”
The swim and dive teams at the Dominion Hills Pool are ditching the “Warriors” team name and moving away from Native American motifs.
The Dominion Hills Area Recreation Association Board of Directors started soliciting suggestions from swimmers, divers, coaches and families on Friday, according to an email to team families, shared with ARLnow.
“We decided to stop using Native American imagery at our pool and the name ‘Warriors’ for our swim and dive teams,” the board tells ARLnow in a statement. “While the name ‘Warriors’ has several meanings and by itself is unobjectionable, the teams have used it in connection with Native American themes. The Board decided to solicit ideas from the members for a new name and mascot.”
It started de-emphasizing the use of the name this season, according to an email to team families. The pool’s board is open to a name that would permit members to use existing gear, which bears a feather illustration.
“We recognize that there may be some disappointment as we make this transition but we are excited to select a new team name and mascot,” the email said. “Team names that would be appropriate to use with a feather mascot have the added practical benefit of allowing us to continue using the feather on existing team gear.”
A committee of team representatives and board members will review the submissions and recommend a new name to the full board, which aims to announce the new name at a banquet on Saturday, July 24, according to the email.
The Washington Football Team — which nixed its former name one year ago — is making a similar play as it narrows down options for a new name and logo, to be chosen early next year.
“Feedback from across communities we engaged clearly revealed deep-seated discomfort around Warriors, with the clear acknowledgment that it too closely aligns with Native American themes,” WFT president Jason Wright explained in a blog post.
A new installation outside Dorothy Hamm Middle School tells the story of the four students who integrated the building, formerly Stratford Junior High School, six decades ago.
Four free-standing panels and a wall-mounted panel, connected by a trail, depict Gloria Thompson, Ronald Deskins, Lance Newman and Michael Jones — the four students who desegregated the building on Feb. 2, 1959 — as well as Dorothy Hamm, the new school’s namesake and prominent civil rights activist in Arlington, and Barbara Johns, who at 16 led a student strike for equal education at a high school in Farmville, Virginia.
During a dedication ceremony for the new Stratford Commemorative Trail on Friday, several speakers said the installation equally inspires children to achieve greatness and charges Arlington Public Schools to continue making history.
“Rest assured that every child will leave this school knowing the civil rights history that happened here, understanding that while four students did begin the desegregation process in 1959, many others were denied that opportunity, and it came later,” school Principal Ellen Smith said. “Our students must know that as citizens of our school, our county, our state and our nation, they have the responsibility to speak up, to say something and make good trouble, as [former Rep.] John Lewis so aptly stated.”
The panels challenge those who walk the trail to take action and remind middle schoolers can make a difference at their age, she added.
APS & @ArlingtonVA dedicate the Stratford Commemorative Trail @DHMiddleAPS (formerly Stratford Jr High). The trail’s interpretive panels discuss nat’l, state & local history of school desegregation & honor the 4 students who desegregated Stratford on Feb. 2, 1959, & Dorothy Hamm. pic.twitter.com/IZRntPiQ01
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) June 11, 2021
In 2016, the school was designated a local historic district and APS convened a committee to find a way to honor its history. Soon after, APS embarked on a process to convert the school at 4100 Vacation Lane from a building housing the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs to a neighborhood middle school. It was renamed for Hamm and reopened to students in 2019. Final touches were finished during the 2020-21 school year.
APS Working With Nonprofit on ‘Cultural Competence’ — “This week, RISE, a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, began facilitating interactive workshops with Arlington Public Schools Student-Athlete Advisory Council members and coaches. This is the first in a series of interactive cultural competence workshops that APS and RISE will be providing to athletes and coaches as part of a new partnership.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Northam to Sign Bill at Marymount — “This coming Monday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam will be visiting Marymount University to hold a ceremonial bill signing for House Bill 2123 and Senate Bill 1387. The legislation will make Virginia students eligible for state financial aid if they are eligible for in-state tuition in the fall of 2022, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.” [Press Release]
GOP Candidate Running Against Del. Hope — A Republican challenger has emerged to contest the re-election campaign of Del. Patrick Hope. Laura Hall said she filed paperwork last week. Hall said she would share more publicly when she hears back from the state regarding her filing. A Democratic primary for the delegate’s district did not occur, after the state Board of Elections determined challenger Matt Rogers did not meet a filing deadline. [Twitter]
Metro Changes On the Way — “Rail service will be extended to midnight, seven days a week, in July, and other bus and rail service improvements and fare changes will start being implemented in the Fall, beginning Labor Day weekend, as many in the region prepare to go back to work and school.” [WMATA, DCist]
Domino’s Is Offering a Signing Bonus — The Domino’s Pizza location on Columbia Pike has signs advertising a $500 hiring bonus for new employees, amid a national labor shortage that is hitting restaurants particularly hard. [Twitter]
Video Shows Wrong-Way Driver on I-66 — Updated at 8:20 a.m. — “Scary video footage shows a driver speeding the wrong way on Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia on Thursday morning. Virginia State Police say the driver headed the wrong way on the Capital Beltway and I-66, hit at least one car and set off a wave of 911 calls… The driver finally pulled over in the Rosslyn area because of a flat tire. No information on an arrest or charges was immediately released.” [NBC 4]
A number of changes could be coming soon to the police department’s School Resource Officers unit that serves Arlington Public Schools.
On Thursday, June 24, the School Board is slated to consider reforms proposed by Superintendent Francisco Durán. Among them, Durán recommends stationing SROs near schools — but not within them — and shifting some responsibilities they handle onto school staff. As of now, he is not recommending changing the number of sworn officers assigned to schools.
“The decision to relocate SROs… is not to diminish the longstanding partnership that we have with ACPD but instead to focus on increasing student supports by effectively utilizing the support structures we have in place,” Durán said during a School Board meeting on Thursday. “The nonenforcement support duties performed by SROs in schools will be something we should focus on having APS staff provide.”
Such changes would require revisions to APS’s Memorandum of Understanding with ACPD. The superintendent said APS is discussing new locations for the officers with the county.
“I want to thank [SROs] for the work they have done,” he said. “They have played an important role in keeping our schools safe and I believe they will continue to do that.”
The recommendations come a few weeks after a School Resource Officer secured Wakefield High School in response to a call from a staff member, who alleged a student was making verbal threats and had what was described as a bulletproof vest.
SROs received renewed attention a few years ago after a rise in school shootings. But the Arlington branch of the NAACP called for their removal, citing disparities in juvenile arrests in Arlington, after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police prompted a national conversation about race and policing. An APS workgroup was subsequently formed and received a wave of community input.
Durán said his changes are grounded in the recommendations from this workgroup.
APS Chief of Staff Brian Stockton said members were evenly split: one third supported SROs in schools, another third did not, and the remaining third had no strong opinions. The final recommendations were backed by a surprising amount of consensus, he said.
“We were shocked that when we presented those recommendations, we didn’t have one person who pushed back,” he said, although there was some disagreement over the difference between relocating School Resources Officers and “getting them out of schools.”
Board members congratulated the group for its efforts and many welcomed the recommendations, including Chair Monique O’Grady.
“One of the things I heard from the community members was that they didn’t want to dishonor the police throughout this process. I think they walked away with respect for the officers who have chosen to try and be supportive of students the way they can be,” she said. “I do think it’s time — where we are in this nation and the concerns we see across the country — that we think differently [about SROs]. I think that that was a lot of what we heard from students as well.”
Board Member Cristina Diaz-Torres said in an ideal world, every ACPD officer would be trained in how to deal more effectively with youth, but until then, these changes mark a good intermediate step.
“It’s no secret that I believe police don’t belong in schools,” she said. “I think there is an excellent educational role they can play when called upon… but it’s important that it is not a consistent presence — it is finite and limited in scope and use.”
She added that the change will not solve discipline discrepancies in Arlington.
(Updated 05/25 at 1 p.m.) The Arlington County Board voted 4-1 last night (Tuesday) to consider establishing a Civilian Review Board for the Arlington County Police Department.
Now the county will advertise a draft ordinance that, if approved in the summer, would outline the roles and responsibilities of this review board. Board member Takis Karantonis dissented.
“As we discuss and debate this ordinance over the next two months, we must both recognize that our community has an interest in additional accountability and transparency related to law enforcement and respect the diligent efforts of our public safety personnel,” said Matt de Ferranti, Chair of the Arlington County Board, in a statement.
What the civilian review board would look like was discussed by the Police Practices Work Group over the last year, which in February presented myriad ways to reform the police department. Some of the powers it suggested the board should have are included in the ordinance.
As written, Arlington’s civilian review board would be able to receive complaints about police conduct, review the police chief’s disciplinary decisions, as well as review finished police investigations, data, policies and the ACPD budget. It would also be able to recommend policy changes and conduct hearings and community outreach.
But it would not have the ability to independently and concurrently investigate officers, which the PPG recommends but County Manager Mark Schwartz does not.
Karantonis said last night the proposed ordinance is deficient in many ways, particularly because the authority to independently investigate a police officer is not baked in. He supported deferring the motion.
“Not a single person who testified for the advertisement of the ordinance as submitted,” he said. “In my inbox, I don’t see a single email in support.”
Fifteen PPG participants, community members and advocates told the County Board to defer action so the ordinance could be rewritten to allow for independent investigations.
“The Black and brown community is telling you that we need a civilian review board with teeth,” said community member Wilma Jones.
Minneapolis’s weak review board allowed Derek Chauvin to remain an officer despite multiple complaints of misconduct before he killed George Floyd, said Michelle Woolley, of Arlington for Justice. Meanwhile, the review board in St Louis, unable to investigate police shootings concurrently with police, had to wait more than five years to evaluate 21 shootings.
Public defender Brad Haywood said in a letter to the county that review-only models found in Virginia Beach and Fairfax are seen as “rubber stamps for police internal affairs.”
“The review bodies rarely recommend corrective action, and so far as I know they have never brought about proactive measures to address broader institutional problems, such as racial disparities in traffic enforcement or over-policing of misdemeanor conduct,” he said.
After the meeting, Julius D. Spain, Jr., the president of the Arlington branch of the NAACP, told ARLnow the board needs to revise the ordinance’s “admitted defects.”
“This current version of the CRB is not equitable and will not hold up in the long term to engender trust by our community in the public safety system,” he said. “The voices of communities of color need to be centered in this conversation.”
The public can provide direct feedback throughout June and at the July meeting. After the Board votes in July, assuming the ordinance is approved and not deferred, members of the review board would be appointed in the fall.
In a report, the county articulated many reasons not to include investigative powers.
County Board Approves Several Projects — “The Arlington County Board took action at its April meeting on a number of projects designed to invest in community development and improve infrastructure throughout the County. ‘The Board’s actions today invest in Arlington’s future through a flexible space for the arts, additional flexibility to allow for additional affordable housing, four neighborhood conservation projects, and infrastructure that improves our core utilities and provides essential services for our residents,’ County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said.” [Arlington County]
Local Group’s Statement on Chauvin Verdict — Black Parents of Arlington issued a statement last night about the verdict in George Floyd’s murder: “This ‘justice’ system, while today handed down a verdict that provides accountability, cannot, and will not, ever restore justice. Justice is when a Black photographer can visit a client without being harassed by both neighbors and law enforcement. Justice is when a pregnant Black woman can deliver her baby with dignity, and not in the captivity of an Arlington County jail.” [Press Release]
More Students Taken Off In-Person Waitlists — “In response to the CDC’s 3-foot distancing update, schools have continued to accommodate more students in person, and nearly half of all APS schools have cleared their waitlists. So far in April, nearly 1,000 students have been added for in-person instruction, and we are working through the remaining students as capacity allows. Additionally, more classes at the elementary level have now transitioned into one classroom, versus the previous split classes.” [Arlington Public Schools]
Candidates Want More APS Transparency — “The two candidates for the Democratic endorsement for School Board say there’s one tangible thing the county school system can do immediately in an effort to address seemingly intractable achievement disparities. Let the sunshine in. The way to address achievement gaps ‘is to know that they’re there – bring them out into the light.'” [Sun Gazette]
Fundraising Advantage for Incumbents — “Two Arlington legislators facing intra-party challenges from their left are maintaining healthy cash-on-hand totals headed toward June 8 primary showdowns. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) ended the first quarter with $120,853 in his campaign account, while challenger Matt Rogers had $13,180, according to filings with the Virginia Department of Elections… In the 49th District, Del. Alfonso Lopez ended the quarter with $131,117 on hand compared to $30,990 for educator Karishma Mehta.” [Sun Gazette]
County Board Recognizes ‘Notable’ Trees — “Arlington has more than 750,400 trees of at least 122 species that provide $1 million in environmental benefits to the County annually in the form of pollution removal, carbon storage, energy savings, and avoided stormwater runoff, and are valued at $1.41 billion total. On Tuesday, April 20, 32 of these trees will be designated as Notable Trees by the Arlington County Board.” [Arlington County]
Local Park Volunteers Honored — “The Arlington County Board will recognize two winners of the Bill Thomas Park Volunteer Award at its Board meeting on Tuesday, April 20. Elaine Mills and Glenn Tobin will be recognized for their dedication and support of Arlington County natural resources and public open spaces. Mills is the winner for 2019 and Tobin is the winner for 2020.” [Arlington County]
The Arlington County Board, along with other local officials, applauded a historic guilty verdict handed down by a Minnesota jury today.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd, a crime that was caught on camera and which led to a summer of protests and a racial reckoning — in Arlington, across the U.S. and around the world. The verdict was announced this afternoon.
The Board said in a statement that it “hopes that today’s verdict is a step forward in dismantling the systemic racism that pervades life throughout our nation.”
The Arlington County Board commends the Minneapolis jurors for returning a guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial and joins others around the nation in relief. The shocking video of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Chauvin while other officers stood by and failed to intervene, showed the disregard for and devaluing of Black lives that is too common. The Board hopes that today’s verdict is a step forward in dismantling the systemic racism that pervades life throughout our nation.
We know that Arlington is not exempt from this racism and its impacts, and we renew our commitment to addressing those inequities and creating a culture of caring and respect. We are proud to live in a vibrant, diverse and inclusive community that champions human and civil rights, and while we know there is more work to be done, we are inspired by the efforts of Arlington community members and leaders who strengthen us as a whole.
Arlington’s congressman, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), said the verdict “confirms what we saw.”
The jury confirms what we saw: Derek Chauvin is guilty of murdering George Floyd.
I'm thinking about George Floyd, his family and friends, who have been through such much.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) April 20, 2021
Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán said in letter to families that counseling will be available “to help students deal with their feelings” in the wake of the verdict.
“While this verdict provides some closure, there are still many feelings that need to be processed and changes that need to be made to combat systemic racism in our justice system,” Durán said.
Dear APS Students, Families and Staff,
The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who was charged for the murder of George Floyd, was announced this afternoon, and he was found guilty. We understand how difficult the last few months have been for many of our students and staff, and while this verdict provides some closure, there are still many feelings that need to be processed and changes that need to be made to combat systemic racism in our justice system. We acknowledge the impact this verdict will have on social justice but know there is work that still needs to be done to achieve a society where we are all treated fairly and equitably.
The racism and violence that have been highlighted in these recent tragic events may be widely discussed this week at school. Teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings and how this feels to them personally, as appropriate, and as they are comfortable. […]
I want to take this opportunity to affirm our commitment to anti-racism and social justice, and to our continued work in schools and in our community.
Arlington police made some preparations in the event of a verdict that prompted civil unrest, including sending parking meter enforcement aides home early and moving some parked police vehicles, ARLnow hears.