Submitted to the Arlington Advocate on April 21,2020
In 2019 a group of concerned Arlington community members came together to form Arlington Fights Racism (AFR) in response to local racist and hate-filled writings, sharing a vision of Arlington as a more inclusive and welcoming place. United, we work to challenge racism, inequity and bias in all forms; to promote transparency in our town government; and to foster a culture in our town and in our schools that identifies, includes and empowers underrepresented and marginalized community members – thus, helping to make Arlington a safer, more just community for all. Through this work, we observed the roles that institutional racism and a lack of representation and transparency have played in our town. As a result, we focused our efforts on building a grassroots election movement.
With that goal, AFR both reached out to incumbent Town Meeting members running for re-election and encouraged new voices and faces to run for office. Many barriers may prevent people from running for election. It is expensive, time consuming and complicated. AFR encouraged new candidates to run by promising to support their campaigns. This group of candidates represent Arlington’s most diverse communities. Our election will significantly increase the representation of marginalized communities in Town government. Among us are naturalized immigrants, LGBTQ+ candidates, candidates of color, religious minorities, candidates with children of color and candidates hosting asylum seekers in their home.
AFR endorsed candidates for Town Meeting (TM) and town wide races share many values yet may differ on others. We are all individuals with our own experiences, perspectives and concerns. One issue we all agree on is the need to proactively work to uncover and dismantle prejudice, bigotry, racism and discrimination. AFR created an Inclusion Platform that articulates these goals and unites all endorsed candidates on this one issue. This Inclusion Platform pledges to pursue and support policies that increase the diversity of representation in town government, require implicit bias and cultural competency training for town employees and officials, develop a Communications policy, and reverse the harmful precedent set by the Town’s recent use of Restorative Justice for a police officer’s hate-filled writings. For the complete platform and more information, please visit our website at www.arlingtonfightsracsim.com or Facebook Arlington Fights Racism.
Please join us to create a town that is truly welcoming and inclusive for all Arlington’s residents. We respectfully ask for your vote in the upcoming Town elections. Thank you and stay safe.
Candidate for Town Meeting in Precinct 8
April 21, 2020