June 24, 2020
Jane and I have our rainbow flag out to celebrate Pride Month.
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Words Have Meanings
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar
Commentary

Words Have Meanings
Words have meanings defined in the dictionary that can take on other meaning within the context in which they are being used. Never has it been more important that we understand the meaning and use of words than in present day politics.

Last week I wrote about “Black lives matter” and the importance that we hear the message that is being conveyed with that sentence. It is a group of words whose meaning has been ignored for too long. The current demonstrations literally around the world are intended to place an exclamation point at the end to emphasize that they must finally be heard and understood. I believe with each demonstration of thousands of people and with each statue that comes down the message that black lives matter is finally coming through. We need to get on with the changes that are needed in society and in our laws that show that we understand that black lives do matter. There is no turning back now.

When the grossly disproportionate number of black persons killed by white policemen that videos have made totally clear, the need for major and immediate changes to our policing system have become obvious. We need to make sure that the words we use to bring out those changes are not used against us. The societal needs for which our current police forces have been given responsibility in recent years are too broad and need to be reimagined and redefined. We cannot allow those who view societal challenges in law and order terms to use the term “defund the police” against those who understand that policing policies need to change. While some people mean a total defunding of police departments when they use the slogan, “defund the police,” many of us believe police departments will continue to need to exist but be demilitarized and not be the sole responders to community incidents. We need to define a role for public safety and community personnel who can keep our communities safe without confrontation and expand the availability of mental health workers in our communities. You can be sure that there will be a war of words over public safety and policing in the next several elections, and we must work hard to get our message clear.

In 1993 the first woman attorney general of Virginia was up by 20 points in a race to be the first woman governor of Virginia by defeating the Republican candidate, George Allen Jr. An incident of a person committing a crime while on parole from a Virginia prison during the political campaign led to Allen adopting an “end parole” theme to keep Virginians safe that led to his upset victory. The resulting end parole policy led to filling the jails and prisons, a massive prison building program, and lengthy prison terms for persons who were no longer a threat to society. We have only recently begun to undo the damage done by that simple bumper-strip term “end parole” that led to many lives—disproportionately black—being destroyed by a terrible public policy.

Words do have meaning, but we need to be clear what those words truly mean as they impact public policy.

Latest Updates on COVID-19
Fairfax County

6/23/2020 — Fairfax County to Make Temporary Shelter Available During COVID-19 Read the details about eligibility and contact information.

6/23/2020 — Fairfax County Shares Information to Protect Your Tenant Rights during COVID-19.  Read the announcement.


Virginia

6/23/2020 — HCA Virginia Health System Establishes Hotline to Help Recently Unemployed Get Health Insurance Coverage.   Read the release.

6/23/2020 — State Corporation Commission Cautions Virginians to Understand Private Offering Risks.  Read the release.


Nationwide

6/23/2020 — CDC Offers Considerations for Travelers—Coronavirus in the US.   Read their guidance.

6/23/2020 — CDC Offers Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps.  Read the article.

Bulletin Board
Virginia Moves into Phase Three

Governor Northam announced that the entire Commonwealth is planning to move into Phase 3 on July 1 to allow gatherings of up to 250 people. Non-essential retail and restaurant capacity limits will be lifted. Virginians remain required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing‬.
Reston Community Center to Reopen on July 6
with Limited Programming
RCC will reopen its facilities on July 6 with limited programming accompanied by enhanced social distancing and safe health practices. Read the details at RCC Reopening.
Virginia Visual Artist Emergency Relief Fellowship Program

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is offering one-time grants of $5,000 each to 40 working visual artists residing in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This grant program is funded by the museum’s existing Artist Fellowship Endowment. Application DEADLINE: July 10, 2020. Read more.
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Take Action to Address Racial Injustice
This virtual event will include leaders, elected officials, community organizations and community members that will join to have the hard conversations about racial injustice. Email uniteforjustice@gmail.com for more information.
Calendar of Events
Thursday, June 25, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Virtual Trivia Happy Hour, hosted by Reston Regional Library Staff. Registration is required. For more information and to register, visit Virtual Trivia Happy Hour.

Friday, June 26, Deadline for Reston Multicultural Festival Applications. Information for Entertainment, Arts Vendors, Community Organizations and Food Vendors applications is now available. Please follow the appropriate links for more information and to download forms at this page.

Sunday, June 28, 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., Honor Our Covid-19 Heroes. As we enter into COVID-19 Phase 3, let's take a pause to cheer for and honor those who helped us get this far .... our COMMUNITY HEROES in Northern Virginia and beyond. These heroes are our hospital workers, grocery store workers, teachers, the frontline workers, neighbors, the faith based community, food pantries, non-profits providing COVID-19 relief, and many other unsung heroes. Thank you to the residents at the Reston Town Center who provided inspiration for this event. They have cheered enthusiastically every night at 7:00 p.m. since the beginning of the pandemic joined by fire truck and police sirens to honor the workers at Reston Hospital. At 7:00 p.m. on June 28 grab your cowbell and cheer from where you are to celebrate and honor our heroes! Make a poster to thank your hero and tag them on social media!

Monday, June 29, 11:00 a.m. to noon, Avoiding COVID-19 Investment Scams Online Workshop, hosted by the Fairfax County Public Library Administrative Staff. Registration is required. For more information and to register, visit Avoiding COVID-19 Investment Scams.

Monday, July 6, 8:00 p.m., County Health Department Director to Address Vienna Town Council meeting. Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, director of the Fairfax County Department of Public Health will make a presentation to Town Council regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The public may see the presentation by attending the meeting in person at Town Hall, following social distance requirements, or via Zoom. The meeting and presentation will be broadcast live on TVCN (Channel 27 on Cox and 38 on Verizon Fios) and live streamed at viennava.gov.

Tuesday, July 7, 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., Navigating the Complexities of Race: Racial Healing and Reconciliation, virtual event hosted by the Fairfax County Public Library Administrative Staff. Registration is required. For more information and to register, visit Navigating the Complexities of Race.

Tuesday, July 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.