A message from AFR to our friends and allies in the Arlington community
Thank you for your patience while AFR took much needed time to internally process and then publicly respond to the disturbing events that preceded the April 10th Town Elections.
As many of you are aware, during the final days before the election, a member of AFR’s Steering Committee, acting independently and in another capacity, behaved in a manner in conflict with our values about how political campaigns should be conducted and more broadly, how people should treat one another. That member has since publicly apologized and resigned and AFR has accepted their resignation. AFR apologizes for the damage this behavior caused to the campaign of a candidate for townwide office, to the campaigns of Town Meeting members supported by AFR, and to our community and supporters. This behavior violated our values, our mission and the trust we have in each other to be respectful of all people in all situations.
AFR reaffirms our conviction that no matter how strongly we may disagree or how provoked we may feel, it is incumbent upon us to maintain composure while also remaining passionate about the cause we support. That is a delicate balance to maintain, and no matter the provocations, we, as public figures, should abide by an ethical standard that sets an example for others.
AFR will resume our Building Community Meetings on June 15th. We invite you to join us for a constructive conversation, to reflect upon these events with us, share your thoughts and concerns and help AFR define our organizational structure and our focus moving forward. AFR would also welcome an opportunity to speak to you individually, if you wish.
~ The AFR Steering Committee
A statement from Lynette Martyn
I am writing to announce that I am stepping down from the Arlington Fights Racism Steering Committee, effective immediately. I deeply regret the damage my actions have caused AFR and the candidates associated with AFR’s platform of advancing transparency and inclusion, promoting anti-racism efforts in Arlington, and helping to build a safe community. Independent of my intentions, in contacting Ms. Preston, my failure to reflect before reacting came from a place of privilege and is inexcusable. Most personally painful is the knowledge that I did not stop to reflect on the potential consequences of my behavior to Kelda Fontenot. For that I am incredibly remorseful.
My decision to resign is my way of acknowledging my abuse of the white privilege, class privilege, and a whole lot of other privileges I enjoy. It is my hope that this will enable others to separate my actions from the work and achievements of AFR and the candidates AFR has endorsed. I apologize to all the AFR candidates and supporters, as well as to those at-risk community members, who will be most impacted by the setbacks resulting from my behavior to the work of dismantling inequities in Arlington. The damage I’ve inflicted can never be fully undone and I own that. I will use this time to reflect on my actions, and to begin the work of doing better.
I encourage all Arlington residents to educate themselves fully about each candidate, and to vote tomorrow based on research and facts.
A statement from AFR about the Arlington Housing Authority race
The Arlington Fights Racism (AFR) Steering Committee is aware of the controversy involving one of our members and an Arlington Housing Authority board member. We are saddened by the distraction this is causing and are attempting to deal with the facts as they emerge. We wish to apologize to all the candidates running on the AFR platform for drawing attention away from their campaigns, and for the unfortunate predicament in which they find themselves because of it. Lynette Martyn has voluntarily stepped down from the Arlington Fights Racism Elections Committee and from her role as Kelda Fontenot’s campaign manager.
We categorically reject any insinuation that Lynette or any AFR Steering Committee Member has contacted Jo Anne Preston or any of the AHA incumbent’s supporters about their endorsements. No evidence has been provided to back up these false accusations.
We hope these allegations do not prove detrimental to Ms. Fontenot’s candidacy or to those of our TMM candidates, and we urge the community to focus on the many strengths each of them would bring to the offices to which they aspire. We are continuing to sort fact from fiction regarding this unfortunate episode. The voters should rest assured that we consider ourselves accountable to the truth and to the community.