Arlington Activists and Community Leaders Make Urgent Appeal for Racial Justice
ARLINGTON, Va.—This Saturday afternoon, Arlingtonians joined activists and community leaders for a vigil in South Arlington to honor all those whose lives have been lost and call for justice. Moreover, it was an opportunity for individuals to come together as allies in the struggle to end systemic and structural racism. Attendees at the event also had the opportunity to learn about ways to take action in Arlington and across the region. The vigil was organized by the Black Parents of Arlington, Ms. Yolande Kwinana, and Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington & Fairfax), who represents most of South Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Coming after weeks of nationwide demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality, activists in South Arlington used the vigil to draw attention to issues of racial justice and equity that continue to harm Arlington’s Black residents and other marginalized communities. Participants of the vigil were asked to wear masks and remain within social-distancing guidelines, which were largely adhered to.
"What the Black Parents of Arlington stands for and advocates each day on the premise of...is nothing new. And that is exactly what is most frustrating," stated Ms. Zakiya Worthey of the Black Parents of Arlington. "The challenges our children face are not the result of a new epidemic, but a 400-year stench that has worked its way into every foundational fabric in this nation. And it's time to remove that stain."
"We seek to create a community that understands and addresses the systemic racism and xenophobia that has perpetuated throughout Virginia and the United States," said Ms. Whytni Kernodle of the Black Parents of Arlington. "History has proven that when blacks in America fight for civil and human rights, those efforts go a long way in helping all marginalized groups to achieve equity of rights."
“My goal has been to be an ally and to listen," stated Virginia Delegate Alfonso Lopez. "Over the years, I've worked to reverse unfair disparities, stop the school to prison pipeline, and tackle the remnants of Jim Crow in Virginia. Today, we have a unique opportunity to make real strides in the struggle against systemic and structural racism. With that in mind, I have over a dozen bills in the areas of judicial and police reform that I will fight for in Virginia. No more waiting. It is time for us to act!"