Arlington County to hold community talks on racial equity

Virginia’s Arlington County will hold virtual conversations that address racial equity and disparities in the county.

They are called Dialogues on Race Equity, and they follow what is included in Arlington County Board’s 2019 equity resolution, which was adopted in September. The resolution puts forward the county’s vision to continue to be a “diverse and inclusive world-class urban community.”

“This is a necessary and overdue opportunity for our entire community to have direct dialogue with each other on racial equity issues and to have all voices heard by community leaders, businesses and policymakers,” said Libby Garvey, chair of the Arlington County Board.

The organization Challenging Racism will facilitate the dialogues, which residents can sign up for on the following dates:

  • Saturday, Oct. 24 at 2 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. (Spanish language available)
  • Monday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.

The county invites groups and businesses to hold similar conversations within their own networks and with each other. And later this year, there will be neighbor-to-neighbor facilitated conversations in the community.

Samia Byrd, the county’s Chief Race and Equity Officer, said the dialogues will help leaders begin to “normalize conversations on race and equity to know where and how we want to grow and evolve as a community.”

Residents are being invited to share their perspectives in a countywide assessment, “as Arlington recognizes that everyone has different experiences, backgrounds, insights, opinions, and beliefs about race and equity,” a news release from the county said.

Garvey highlighted equity as a focus during her state of the county address last June.

“This initiative, while it’s just one step, is an important one for our community,” Garvey said.

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