July 29, 2020
A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed last week from the state Capitol along with all busts and plaques relating to the Confederacy under the direction of House of Delegates Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: The Third Reconstruction
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

The Third Reconstruction
Virginia and the southern states of the Confederacy lost the Civil War with the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865, but for more than another hundred and fifty years it appeared that the South may have won the peace. There was the Emancipation Proclamation, three amendments to the Constitution, and a period of Reconstruction to guarantee the new social order without slavery, but Southerners who favored the old order found ways around the new laws to perpetuate a society of racial segregation and inequalities. Jim Crow laws replaced slave codes, oppressive laws limited the freedoms of Blacks, unequal schools limited their opportunities, and various voting limitations kept Blacks from registering and voting. There were thousands of lynchings to remind Blacks of their status in society and a Lost Cause movement that erected thousands of monuments in celebration of the old order of white supremacy.

After World War II, historian C. Vann Woodward wrote that America went through a Second Reconstruction as Blacks started to win significant victories against racist policies and laws with the various civil rights laws that passed including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Supreme Court decisions like Brown v. Board of Education ending school desegregation. Even those advances were short-lived and limited; the Voting Rights Act was repealed, and inequities suffered by Blacks in educational programs and employment persisted. The mistreatment of Blacks by policing authorities became more tolerable than society could stand.

A series of events over many years culminating with a police officer murdering George Floyd from his knee on Floyd’s neck signified that, like the original Reconstruction, the Second Reconstruction left many inequalities and much work to be done. The Black Lives Matter message seems finally to have been heard and finally for many understood. There is no postponing change.

Much of what has been happening to date in what Rev. William Barber II has termed a Third Reconstruction has been symbolic but important. No longer do visitors to the original House of Delegates chamber in the Capitol in Richmond have to walk around a bigger-than-life and impossible-to-miss statue of Robert E. Lee. While his statue on Monument Avenue remains at present, it too will be taken down as soon as the court case about it is resolved. Throughout Virginia and the South more statues have been removed along with other symbols of the old South. Even the state of Mississippi gave up the Confederate flag as part of its flag.

More meaningful changes are coming. As a member of the House Public Safety Committee I am pleased with the public testimony we received last week. Other hearings are scheduled for this week and next to determine the changes we need to make in our policing policies and criminal justice system to remove the racial biases. We will enact important changes at a special legislative session in August. We have had two chances at getting reconstruction right for all our citizens; we must commit ourselves to making this third effort a charm!  

Latest Updates on COVID-19

Fairfax County

7/28/2020 — Coronavirus Update – Food Resources: For Those in Need, and How to Contribute.   Access the links here .

7/28/2020 — Help Still Wanted: Recruitment of Contact Tracing Staff Continues.   Read the announcement.


Virginia

7/28/2020 — Northern Virginia Regional Commission Shares Spanish Language Video for COVID-19 Prevention.  Watch the video.

7/27/2020 — Governor Northam Announces $70 Million Rebuild VA Economic Recovery Fund for Small Businesses, Nonprofits Impacted by COVID-19.  View or download a flyer .


Nationwide

7/28/2020 — CDC Provides School Decision-Making Tool for Parents, Caregivers, and Guardians Read the guidance.

7/28/2020 — Medicare Issues Alert About COVID-19 Fraud.  Read the details.

Bulletin Board
New Purple Bin for Glass Recycling Now Available in Reston
Following a break at the beginning of the pandemic, all the original recycling locations are back in business, and the public works team recently added a new site at Baron Cameron Park in Reston. Read more.
Justice Advisory Council Application
Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano has formed the Justice Advisory Council the purpose of which is to hear from local voices, discuss the potential for better processes, exchange data, group think policy ideas, and help lead the fight for tangible justice reform. This group will be made up of community representatives from throughout Fairfax County. Read more and submit an application here.
Free Digital Resources for Understanding and Dismantling
Racial Injustice Now
Demand—and therefore wait time—for materials on race and racism has increased significantly in recent weeks as readers seek out books to help them understand racial injustice and learn what they can do to dismantle it. Read an article that highlights resources you can access right now or share with others.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Help Shape the Future of Law Enforcement
in the Commonwealth
The second joint meeting of the House Courts of Justice & Public Safety Committees on justice reform will take place today, beginning at 10:00 a.m. Sign up to speak or submit comments. To watch by live-stream, visit House Committees.
Calendar of Events
Wednesday, July 29, 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 second of three virtual meetings, this one focused on police training and mandatory minimum sentences for crimes. Sign up to speak or submit comments. To watch by live-stream, visit House Committees.

Wednesday, July 29, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., Virtual Community Meeting for Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Study. This is the first of three virtual opportunities for residents to participate in community input meetings to present preliminary recommendations for the Fairfax County and Franconia-Springfield Parkways Alternatives Analysis and Long-Term Planning Study. The other meetings are July 30 and August 4. Details are at FCDOT Community Meetings.

Friday, July 31, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., Friday Night Live! Herndon Rocks with The Reflex . Celebrate summer with the most popular outdoor concert series in the DC area - now via live stream. Learn more at Herndon Rocks

Saturday, August 1, 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., Policing and Criminal Justice Reform--What Changes Do We Need? The Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia invites you to an online Community Conversation meant to gain input from the public on what changes need to be made in Policing and Criminal Justice, particularly as it pertains to police brutality and the Black communityRegister here.

Sunday, August 2, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum: FREE Online/Virtual Tour via Zoom . The FREE program is open to all. For security reasons the Zoom meeting info is typically emailed as opposed to being posted publicly online. More is at Virtual Museum Tour.

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 will be published later.

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.

Friday, 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.