August 5, 2020
Part of my early education on the needs of our community came from my volunteer service with the Fairfax County Community Action Program.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Lifetime of Learning
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

Lifetime of Learning
My mom and dad had little or no formal education which was not that unusual for children in large families growing up in rural Virginia in the 1920s. What they lacked in schooling they made up in basic values of honesty and hard work. Their ambition for their three sons of which I was the youngest was to finish school which for them meant high school. Mom’s advice to me for I had obvious interests in doing more than graduating high school and working a local job was captured in the words of the country music song of Earl Scruggs and later Ricky Skaggs, “Don’t Get Above Your Raisin.’”

Going off to college as the first in my family to do so was a frightening experience but one that soon became a labor of love. I could not learn enough about the world around me and most especially about history and politics. I was a product of a public school system in Virginia, and even as a youngster I knew that the story of the state was much more complex and involved than the glorification of its history presented in the state-approved textbooks. My love of learning led me to finish an undergraduate degree in history and political history at the then Old Dominion College. I went on to the University of Virginia where I received a master’s degree in teaching the social studies in 1967. That program had an internship experience that led to me being placed in Fairfax County Public Schools from which I retired thirty years later.

I refused to use the state-approved textbook on Virginia history in my classroom because of the distortions and misinformation it contained. My school administrator supported me, and a few years later I consulted with FCPS when it produced its own edition of a more-accurate Virginia history textbook. Also about the same time, I announced my candidacy for the House of Delegates and was elected on my third try. My interest was not to change school textbooks but to help alter the course of the state’s history to remedy the many wrongs of its past and to make it a state where all people had equal opportunity. I knew about the inequality of opportunity in the state by my volunteer work with the Community Action Agency.

Setting aside challenges related to the pandemic and the craziness of the current federal administration, I feel a greater sense of hope for the Commonwealth than I believe I have ever had. I have written often about the transformative General Assembly session this year and the passage of much-needed legislation on fairness and equality that had been debated and never passed for years. This month the General Assembly will take another important step in reforming our criminal justice system.

As my friend and historian Bent Tarter wrote recently in a column “Black Lives and Confederate Monuments,” (www.virginiaforum.org) “We all have much to learn, or we will continue to repeat the sorry sequences of violence that exacerbate rather than solve problems. Learning, one of my college teachers explained, should involve a change in behavior.” As a native Virginian I sense that now more than ever we will at long last be seeing changes in behavior in the Commonwealth. 

Latest Updates on COVID-19

Fairfax County

8/4/2020 — 3 Ways Small Businesses Can Seek COVID-19 Assistance. Read the article.

8/4/2020 — Cleaning Supplies and Children’s Face Coverings Donations Still Needed. Read the details.


Virginia

8/4/2020 — Virginia Joins Bipartisan, Interstate Compact to Expand Rapid Antigen Testing. Read the release.

8/4/2020 — Virginia Association of Community Services Boards Announces Warm Line Available for those Struggling with COVID. Read the details.


Nationwide

8/4/2020 — CDC Outlines When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19. Read the guidelines.

8/4/2020 — CDC Issues Advice for those Now Returning to Work. Read the recommendations.


Bulletin Board
Sales Tax Holiday This Weekend!
Cornerstones' Annual Back-to-School Drive is Underway
Cornerstones is once again hosting a Back-to-School Drive to support under-resourced students in Herndon and Reston schools. In years past, we asked for donations of backpacks to fill this major need. Along with Fairfax County Public School officials, we anticipate that backpacks will still be on the list as the school year progresses. But due to the uncertainty of the situation, we want to stand ready to pivot with the right resources to help these local children. For this year’s drive, please consider making a financial donation so we can purchase either backpacks or supplies, or both! Read more about the drive at Back to School.
2020 Census Takers to Begin Visiting
Unreported Homes in Fairfax County
Fairfax County households that have not yet filled out their 2020 Census may be visited by census takers over the next few weeks as the U.S. Census Bureau begins enumeration activities nationwide. Learn more.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Help Shape the Future of Law Enforcement
in the Commonwealth
The third joint meeting of the House Courts of Justice & Public Safety Committees on justice reform will take place tomorrow, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Sign up to speak or submit comments. To watch by live-stream, visit House Committees. To view (or review) the July 22 & July 29 meetings, use the "Archives" tab at virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/committees/.
Calendar of Events
Tonight: Wednesday, August 5, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Fairfax County NAACP's Townhall on Systemic Racism with Dr. Scott Brabrand. Watch on FB Live. Read more at Town Hall.

Thursday, August 6, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Virtual House Joint Courts of Justice and Public Safety Committee hearings on Criminal Justice and Police Reform. The final of three virtual meetings, this one focused on no-knock warrants, civilian review boards, and use of force. Link for submitting public comment.

Thursday, August 6, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Governor Northam's Community Townhall on Racial Equity and Policing Reform. Register here.

Thursday, August 6, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet at Lake Anne Plaza. Visit Take a Break Concert Series for details.

Sunday, August 9, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax Monthly Food Drive. Over the past several months, UUCF has organized monthly donations for area food banks to support their work fighting food insecurity in Fairfax County during the pandemic. Volunteers willing to follow social distancing guidelines are needed to assist with this effort. Learn more at UUCF Food Drive.

Monday, August 10, 6:30 p.m., RCC's Board of Governors Annual Public Hearing for Programs and Budget. Hear about RCC's budget approach for FY21 and FY22 and provide feedback to the Board of Governors. RCC's Annual Report will be distributed to attendees. In order to comply with social distancing regulations, people who wish to attend should reserve a seat by emailing RCCContact@fairfaxcounty.gov by Friday, August 7. Written comments or questions should be submitted to the same address; be sure to include your full name and address. People may also view the meeting live via RCC's Facebook page

Thursday, August 13, 5:30 to 6:45 p.m., Cornerstones Virtual Community Forum. In anticipation of the Virginia General Assembly’s upcoming special session, Cornerstones invites the community to join in a conversation with State leaders (Delegates Plum and Samirah; Senators Howell and Boysko) about their plans for stabilizing the economy and passing critically-needed legislation to ensure healthy, thriving, and equitable Northern Virginia communities. Register here.

Friday, August 14, 10:00 a.m., Gun Violence Awareness Vigil at National Rifle Association headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax. The vigil commemorates the anniversary of the day 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Please DO NOT park in the NRA's parking lot. There is plenty of free parking in the office building lot on Fairfax Ridge Drive across Waples Mill Road. Signs and flags will be provided. Most protesters will drive past the NRA with signs taped to their car windows or doors. Those who want to social distance and wear masks will stand on the sidewalk.

Wednesday, August 26, 8:00 to 10:00 p.m., "Marching from Suffrage toward Equality” Webinar, hosted by Turning Point Suffragist Memorial Association. Our discussion will center on the past, present and future status of women’s equality. The interactive webinar will provide the opportunity to ask questions online. Details are at Marching from Suffrage toward Equality