|Dear Arlington Democrats,|
We must speak a painful, difficult truth. If Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd had been white, they would still be alive today. And the racist violence Americans have seen and experienced in recent weeks is not new--it is simply being caught on camera. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd are the latest victims of historical systems of oppression that, as Senator Tim Kaine said, "permit, protect, and even promote the brutalization of African Americans."
In response to the pain and anguish so many Americans--and so many Arlingtonians--are feeling, President Trump is using his office to promote violence against protesters seeking to dismantle systemic racism. Just last night President Trump threatened to deploy the U.S. military against Americans exercising their First Amendment rights, and took violent action against peaceful protestors in DC for a photo opportunity. Our County Board rightly acted immediately to turn Arlington police officers away from this unconstitutional action.
But we know that the pain people are feeling existed long before President Trump's latest disgusting, racist abuse of his office. And we cannot expect communities of color to bear the burden of dismantling systems of racism and oppression. At this unprecedented moment, we must be intentional in our actions. We know that not everyone is able to attend rallies or protests in person, particularly in the middle of a pandemic. And because we are action-oriented, the Arlington Dems urge the following FIVE action items for our members (we expect to be adding to this list over time):
1. Join an Anti-Racist Organization: Join the Arlington chapter of the NAACP, or another organization actively working to eliminate all forms of oppression.
2. Donate to a Bail Fund: Fight the effects of the cash bail system, which disproprotionately impacts low-income people and people of color by increasing incarceration rates without improving public safety. Research this important issue and the organizations that seek to address it -- then act.
3. Read an Anti-Racist Work: Do not assume you understand racism and its impacts. Actively seek out books on being an anti-racist. Share those books with family and friends.
4. Support a Black-Owned Business: Patronize, promote, and support black-owned businesses. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, restaurants in DC and Northern Virginia are a great place to start, along with these businesses in Arlington. Let us know your favorite black-owned businesses.
5. Make a Plan: Plan how you will continue to fight systemic racism when media attention has lessened and this time of unrest has passed. Commit to measurable, tangible actions. Share them with friends. Share them with us.
Speaking truth is important -- but actions speak louder than words. Let's act together to build a fairer and more just future for all members of our community.
Chair, Arlington Democrats
Arlington Young Democrats Resource Guide
Time Out: How to Support Black Lives Matter
Take Action Against Racism