By Arlington County Board Democratic nominee Takis Karantonis
The taking of George Floyd’s life exposes an ugly truth in our country, that the lives of Black Americans are not valued or protected in the same way as those of White Americans. Floyd’s recent murder at the hands of a Minneapolis Police Officer has brought the sad reality of systemic racism in law enforcement to national attention once again.
The roots of this racism are historical, systemic, and cultural, and they exist in every town, city, and zip code across America, including Arlington. And while Arlington has so far been spared the severity of the nationalized egregious incidents, it is not immune to the systemic racism and injustice that have plagued Black Americans for generations.
Equity demands that we look these terrible incidents squarely in the face and change the broken system that is causing them. For us to make Arlington a just and equitable place for all of its residents, we must all pledge action together to tackle inequities in housing, education, health, and life outcomes in our county. Our work is ongoing, and it will not stop after the July 7th election. May this moment be a call to action for us and our fellow citizens in Arlington.
Moving forward, I commit to:
1. Working with community groups to actively, persistently tell the full story of Arlington — the story that includes small valiant Black communities that were excluded by legal segregation from prosperity and had to fight for equal treatment once integration became the law of the land.
2. Bringing an equity lens to County Board work – identifying metrics that will help us chart progress; examining every decision to uncover who is helped, who is hurt, who benefits and who is left behind.
3. Holding regular neighborhood town halls in multiple languages so that more Arlingtonians can tell their stories directly to -at least one- of their elected leaders.
4. Actively advocating for a strong local safety net that helps our less prosperous neighbors and all locally-owned businesses
5. Ensuring that law enforcement always adheres to our values of equality and equity, accountability and justice.