About AFR

Arlington Fights Racism relies on input from community members to inform the work we do, and to keep us accountable to the community we serve. We reflect on all concerns and suggestions as a group and often seek guidance from advisors outside the Steering Committee, in an effort to gain broader perspective and a diversity of views. We encourage anyone with feedback or suggestions for AFR to email us directly at ArlingtonFightsRacism@gmail.com.Thank you in advance for your engagement in racial justice matters that impact our community.

 

A Brief History of AFR

In 2019 a group of concerned Arlington citizens came together to form Arlington Fights Racism in response to local racist and hate-filled writings. Through our 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 work on building a grassroots election movement. Our goals are to increase the diversity of representation at all levels of town government, challenge institutional racism, reverse the harmful precedent set by our town's use of restorative justice with large, affected communities, and create a town that is truly welcoming and inclusive for all Arlington’s residents. 

 

Our Mission

We are a committed group of Arlington residents striving to promote a more compassionate, inclusive, engaged and welcoming town, by collaborating and networking with others to increase diversity; dismantle racism, bias and inequity; and create a richer, more culturally representative community and town government.    

 

Our Vision

To promote government transparency and foster an educational and townwide culture that welcomes all community members to the table and empowers them--in particular, those from marginalized groups.

Our Steering Committee

  • Robin Bergman

  • Melanie Brown

  • Lynette Culverhouse

  • Elizabeth Dray

  • Louise Popkin

  • Rajeev Soneja

  • Jordan Weinstein

AFR Values

 

Arlington Fights Racism (AFR) is committed to identifying, challenging and dismantling racism in those areas of public policy where it is manifested — namely, housing, community safety, education, social services, the environment and sustainability. We acknowledge the systemic and oppressive nature of racism; oppose all forms of bias against marginalized individuals; and affirm the value of diversity, inclusion and community participation in our civic and cultural life.

 

  • AFR values diversity of representation and cultural competence among our    representatives on Arlington’s boards, councils, commissions and committees.

Accordingly, and in order to enhance cross-cultural understanding and interaction, we encourage members of underrepresented groups in the community to run for elected positions and apply for appointed positions. We also favor mandatory anti-racist and cultural competency training for all participants in our Town government.

  • AFR values accessibility, transparency, and increased public discussion in Town government.

Accordingly, we support efforts that continue to make all town meetings accessible to the public by offering interactive, hybrid in person and remote meetings beyond the pandemic. To increase the diversity of voices in decision making, we support the development of mechanisms for open dialogue with town residents, especially marginalized residents, and the holding of annual precinct meetings where residents and their representatives can exchange ideas.  

  • AFR values safe communities, where all members feel they can access services and protections without harm, fear, intimidation or retaliation; where the police are subject to civilian oversight; and where allocation of Town resources and responsibilities reflects demonstrated community needs.

Accordingly, we support the creation of a civilian oversight body for Arlington’s Police Department and a study of the feasibility of defunding--that is, of reallocating part(s) of the APD budget, in order to separate social welfare responsibilities from law enforcement (see the October, 2020 Arlington Finance Committee report).

  • AFR values accountability in Town government.

Accordingly, we favor the adoption of a clear Communications and Social Media Policy as part of a Town Code of Conduct, and inclusion of that policy in all employment-related contracts, including collective bargaining agreements. We also favor the development of a clear policy governing  the Town’s use of Restorative Justice, based on a valid model of RJ; that policy should rule out the use of RJ for personnel matters involving Town employees.

  • AFR values equitable access to housing, opposes racism and bias in the rental and sales markets, and believes that decent housing is a human right.  We also acknowledge that developers, landlords, and homeowners all ultimately profit from structural racism, and contribute to the wealth gap.

Accordingly, we favor prioritizing people over profits and preventing the displacement of vulnerable, marginalized, and underserved residents. We support funding the Arlington Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), and believe that property sellers  should contribute a portion of the appreciated value of their properties, as a real estate transfer tax. Monies from the AHTF should be used to finance the creation of affordable housing rental units for residents earning no more than 60% of AMI*, and affordable home ownership for residents earning no more than 80% AMI**. Finally, we wish to ensure that town funds earmarked for low income residents are appropriately spent; and that living conditions in Arlington’s public housing are safe and sanitary.

  *60% AMI: For Arlington, a maximum yearly income of $53,760 for 1 person and $76,740 for a household of 4. U.S. Dept. of HUD

**80% AMI: For Arlington, a maximum yearly income of $67,400 for 1 person and $96,250 for a household of 4. U.S. Dept. of HUD