We at Grassroots Alexandria are horrified by the shootings in Del Ray on June 14, 2017, which targeted US government officials and workers, ordinary citizens, and law enforcement protecting them. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our hero citizens who, simply by being present or doing their jobs, found themselves in harms way. We affirm our commitment to nonviolent, nonpartisan political action and stand with groups such as Moms Demand Action against gun violence.
As a community, we must take concrete action to reduce violence. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. The way forward is through community dialogue and collective action that are guided by the principles of respect, equality, and justice. We value all members of our community, especially the most vulnerable among us, and stand with them against violence and injustice.
As everyone has seen, signs supporting white supremacy appeared all over Del Ray this weekend. Here is the story.
LaDonna Sanders, past president of NAACP Alexandria, posted this in response to a FaceBook post about this issue:
“I truly need for ppl to stop acting surprised…and stop blaming these kinds of acts on Richard Spencer’s move into the City or Trump…white supremacists, white supremacy, oppression, and injustice occur in Alexandria City everyday and people turn a blind eye!
Take a look at the disproportionality in suspension rates between students of color and their counterparts….look at how the police department, and neighbors responded during those community meeting after those shootings last year uptown…That darn confederate statute still standing in the middle of S. Washington St despite the trauma it causes for the few black people left living in the City (yes I know City Council voted to have it removed…and neither of our state delegates drafted legislation to have the statue removed)”
Our neighbors have been asking “what should we do?” This response comes from Jonathan Krall of Grassroots Alexandria:
“I’m pretty sure white supremacists would like us to continue to oppress communities of color. Perhaps an appropriate response would be for us to adjust our policies so we are no longer doing that.
Put another way, white supremacists are using our criminal justice system to accomplish their mission. Perhaps we should stop them.
Having said all that, I understand that my neighbors really are shocked. I’m on a learning curve myself. The basic reality is that we are living in a society that withholds opportunity and places barriers in the path of non-white residents. The polite way to say this is ‘white privilege is real,’ but even that makes it sound like everything is basically OK except that white people are getting a little something extra. The reality is that everything is not OK.”
Grassroots Alexandria was born on December 19, 2016, at a meeting called by co-founders Sarah Stott and Jonathan Krall. The impetus was the 2016 election, which led many to worry that democracy in the USA was not working well enough.
A founding idea of Grassroots Alexandria is that, in a democracy, individuals need a personal political practice. A political practice is like an excercise practice or a spiritual practice. It is an element of a healthy life.
“A personal political practice keeps me, my political allies, and my political leaders informed about my most important political goals. I will devote time, on a regular basis, to my practice.”
To support each other in developing our political practices, we found common interests and formed “teams.” Our current teams are: Environmental Stewardship, Healthcare, Vulnerable Communities, Anti-fascist, LGBTQ, and Communications.