May 20, 2020
The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial on the grounds of the Virginia State Capitol commemorates the protests led by 16-year-old Barbara Johns against segregated and unequal schools in the state. The protests led to a lawsuit that went to the US Supreme Court and was included in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.

In this Issue
  • Commentary: Beyond Equality to Equitable Funding of Our Schools
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

Beyond Equality to Equitable Funding of Our Schools
Passing by the elementary and high schools I attended as a youngster was a small yellow bus carrying about six children to a school 12 miles away in Luray. They were black children who by the constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia were prohibited from attending school with white children. I was reminded of that experience this past Sunday which was the 66 th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas , decision by the United States Supreme Court. In this landmark 1954 Supreme Court case, the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. They ruled that separate facilities were inherently unequal in public education. Among the cases that were heard along with the Brown case was a case coming out of Prince Edward County, Virginia, challenging racial segregation of public schools that I had seen as a young person.

It took more than a decade for black and white children to start attending school together in Virginia and throughout the Nation as state and local government actions and numerous lawsuits sought to reverse the Brown decision. Massive Resistance was the term applied in Virginia to the efforts over a decade of state legislation and court challenges to keep schools segregated.

The Brown decision 66 years ago was as critically important a step in moving towards equality in access to public educational opportunities as it was in helping to ignite the civil rights movement in the United States. Clearly it was a beginning and not a conclusion to the challenges of combating racial inequities in public schools. The concept it helped to foster was that there should be equality in funding among public schools regardless of the zip code in which they might be located.

Performance outcomes by minority students over decades demonstrate that equality of funding is not sufficient. Equal funding suggests that all students start at the same point and given the same support will progress equally. There are many social and economic factors as well as individual differences that affect student performance.

A depiction that has become popular recently demonstrates the differences among equality, equity and justice. Three children of different heights are shown looking over a fence at a sports game. With equality, the three children are given the same height box on which to stand; two children can see the game, but the shortest child cannot see over the fence. With equity the children are given the height box each needs to see over the fence. With justice, the fence barrier to seeing the game is removed.

More than six decades after the Brown decision there are real efforts to move forward on equity funding of our schools. The most recent General Assembly session did more in introducing equity concepts into school funding than ever before. School funding is to be divided along principles that more schools would get the funding they need and not the same as every other school. We cannot let the current economic depression take away that important step in supporting our schools. We have come too far in seeking to achieve equity to let it slip away. With equity in place we can move on to justice! 

Latest Updates on COVID-19
Fairfax County

5/19/2020 — Fairfax Connector Passengers Now Required to Wear Face Coverings.   Read details here .



Virginia

5/19/2020 — Governor Northam Postpones June 9, 2020 Primary Election to June 23, 2020 Due to COVID-19.  Read the release.


5/19/2020 — Stay.Home.Virginia. Provides Housing Resources.  Visit the website if you’ve been financially impacted by COVID-19 to  explore these resources .


Nationwide

5/19/2020 — The CDC launches Clinician On-Call Center,  a 24-hour hotline with trained CDC clinicians standing by to answer COVID-19 questions from healthcare personnel.  View or download an informational flyer.

5/19/2020 — IRS Information for 2020 Tax Filing Season.  Learn more here.

Bulletin Board
PPE Challenge
The Nova Labs community has partnered with the LaserThing.com and Makersmiths to manufacture thousands of reusable face shields and masks for medical professionals on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Fueled by the volunteer spirit that defines the Nova Labs makerspace, and the passion for problem solving that runs through the veins of makers, we have donated over 1,000 face shields to COVID-19 testing facilities, hospitals and clinics around the DMV and beyond!
Visit PPE Challenge to see how you can get involved.

Fairfax County Offers Free Grocery Pickup Service
for Older Adults
Neighbor to Neighbor has launched a free grocery shopping and pharmacy pick-up service for residents who are 60 years old and older and who require assistance. The service is provided to seniors at private residences by volunteers who have completed background checks. To request shopping and pharmacy pick-up, or to find out if you are eligible for financial assistance to obtain food, contact the Fairfax County Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resource line at 703-324-7948. 
Department of Environmental Quality Survey
DEQ is working on developing a new website to better serve Virginians, providing easier access to information, services, updates and so much more. Please help by clicking on the link and taking this five-minute survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F9SM6V3

What can I do? Civic Involvement

Donations Needed: Cloth Face Coverings

The Health Department is asking for your support with the donation of sewn cloth face coverings to protect the most vulnerable within the community. The cloth face covering donations will support our nonprofit providers and the low-income client households they serve.
Calendar of Events
Now through May 31, Stay-at-Home Chalk Art. Artists of all ages and skill levels – including children, families, businesses, and organizations — are welcome to participate. Simply find a safe place to chalk (driveways, sidewalks, traffic-free pavement) to join in this virtual shared art-making event. Details and theme schedule are at publicartreston.org/engage/events/stay-at-home-chalk-art .

Thursday, May 21, 6:30 p.m., Virtual Town Hall on Summer Metro Shutdown , hosted by Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn. The discussion will include representatives from WMATA and the county’s transportation department. All Orange and Silver line stations west of the Ballston station will be closed through the fall for platform reconstruction at the four Orange Line stations and work to connect the Silver Line with the upcoming stations running from Reston to Ashburn. For further information, contact the Hunter Mill office at 703-478-0283 (TTY 711) or huntermill@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Thursday, May 21, 7:00 p.m., Townhall: COVID-19 and Health Equity in Virginia (Virtual), hosted by Juan Conde, ABC 8 Anchor. Download a flyer with details.

Friday, May 22, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., Vienna Road to Recovery: Doing Business with the State of Virginia webinar , offered by Chris Ley, business services manager with the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity who will discuss the benefits of working with Virginia's procurement agency and how to position businesses to obtain contracts with the state. Sign up for this webinar at viennava.gov/bizwithva .

Friday, May 29, 5:00 p.m., Date Night With History (Virtual), hosted by Reston Historic Trust & Museum. Explore Reston’s history in a fun and new way. Games that can be completed online or printed will be made available, including Reston-themed puzzles, board game, and trivia. Details are at Virtual Date Night.

Tuesday, June 16, 5:00 p.m., Deadline for Registrar to receive your request for an Absentee Ballot to be mailed to you for the June 23rd Primary Election. Learn more here.

Tuesday, June 23, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., June Primary Election. More information about the election is here . View or download a list of candidates on the ballot.