I hope you're looking forward to tomorrow's holiday. It's been a tough couple of weeks for many of us, and I hope the rest of this week brings you peace, and time to enjoy family and friends.

For my part, I am more thankful than ever to live in a community as giving as Arlington County. Not only in the philanthropic sense, or even in volunteer hours - although gifts of both kinds are many here. Arlingtonians are giving when it comes to their exchanges with one another: Giving in their willingness to share their global cultures, and giving in their openness to new ideas.

It's true that our values feel under threat in the days ahead. I've had conversations with many of you in the past two weeks, and they usually end with the same, passionate question: What can we do? I've put this question to a number of community leaders and champions, and I want to share with you the below list of ways to act locally to protect not just our values, but our neighbors, in the months to come. This list is by no means comprehensive, and I'll continue to share events and opportunities on the website and on social media.

I know that, here in Arlington, we will continue to represent the best of our beliefs. I'm grateful that, thanks to your help, I have a platform to act on the County Board (view my November 9th remarks reaffirming our longstanding policy commitments to inclusion and safety here). And you do, as well. Arlington's spirit of giving will be more important than ever before.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


In Our Backyard: Standing Up for Our Values Locally

Support New Americans and Refugees

Here in Arlington, nonprofits and government are serving immigrant and refugee families, and reinforcing our message that our schools, libraries and public safety services are safe places regardless of status.

Local Ways to Help:

  • The DREAM Project, which has already helped many APS students and young Arlingtonians surmount the barriers of immigration status and climb to impressive heights, will continue to advocate for and share information with their scholars in the uncertain days ahead. Their annual event, a chance to donate and to volunteer, will be Saturday, December 10th
  • Volunteer with the Arlington REEP Program: Serve as an English-language tutor or teaching assistant, helping immigrants from all cultures and backgrounds gain the tools that allow them to thrive in a new country.
  • Refugees have been an important part of our community story in Arlington, which in recent decades has welcomed those fleeing the Vietnam war, civil wars in Central America, the Ethiopian/Eritrean conflicts and the Bosnian war. To make a financial statement of support for refugees, consider Columbia Pike's own Ethiopian Community Development Council, which provides resettlement services to refugees in the region and nationally.

Stand with the LGBT Community

Here in Arlington, nonprofits and families are supporting mental health and safety needs, and anti-bullying education.

Local Ways to Help:

  • Join and give to the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance, a longstanding community organization for LGBT neighbors and allies. Volunteer for events and community efforts here.

Protect Women's Health and Safety

Here in Arlington, advocates are supporting regional women's health centers.

Local Ways to Help:

  • Join the "Positive Presence" at Falls Church Healthcare Center the first Saturday of each month, 8 to 11 am (next up: January 7th), 900 S Washington St, Falls Church, VA 22046
  • In advance of the 2017 General Assembly session, sign up to be a NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia Volunteer.

Join the Loyal Opposition

Here in Arlington, local Democrats are mobilizing for the 2017 and 2018 elections.

Local Ways to Help:

  • Find your precinct captain and sign up for neighborhood political operations. A Democratic governor has been the last line of defense for our values in the face of conservative legislative majorities in Richmond and on Capitol Hill: Just last session, the Governor's veto pen was the only thing that prevented the General Assembly from stripping Arlington of our living wage policy. The 2017 campaign to elect Ralph Northam Governor started on November 9th - turning out Arlington's tens of thousands of Democratic voters (91,879 for Clinton this year) is the key to statewide victory.
  • Join the Arlington County Democratic Committee for its monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of each month at 7pm to learn about ways to serve in 2017 and for the 2018 mid-terms, which will be here sooner than we think.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.