2023 Position Papers and Public Statements
NAACP National HQ Officially Calls for DOJ Patterns & Practice Investigation
Press Release - December 18, 2023
The NAACP has been made aware of egregious civil rights violations in the Arlington County Detention Facility," stated Janette McCarthy Wallace, General Counsel of the NAACP. Today, December 18, 2023, via written letter, the National General Counsel for the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization formally called on the Department of Justice to conduct an independent pattern and practice investigation into the Arlington County Detention Facility.
Letter from NAACP to The Honorable Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice - December 18, 2023
Call for DOJ investigation after yet another tragic death at the Arlington County Detention Center
Press Release - December 14, 2023
The NAACP Arlington Branch of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization renews the call for the Department of Justice to conduct an independent investigation after the recent news of yet another tragic death at the Arlington County Detention Center.
Arlington County’s Microgrid Feasibility Study Project
Letter from NAACP Arlington Branch to Virginia Department of Emergency Management - November 15, 2023
NAACP Arlington Branch supports Arlington County’s application for a Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) grant under FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. The grant would help fund Arlington County’s Microgrid Feasibility Study Project. Ensuring energy reliability and security for our critical facilities, resiliency hubs, and vulnerable community service sites is most important during and immediately following disaster events when widespread power outages have and will continue to occur. Part of the grant application is aimed at fortifying energy supply and distribution for facilities that serve our most at-risk communities, which represents a critical step towards achieving long-term resiliency. Microgrids provide power continuity to customers during both planned and unplanned outages. Increased energy resilience during events that cause stress on the larger grid network can reduce duration and severity of disruption to electric service to impacted individuals and communities.
Affordable Homes and Legacy Businesses in the Langston Boulevard Corridor
Letter to Natasha Alfonso-Ahmed, Principal Planner and Plan Langston Boulevard Project Manager - September 29, 2023
NAACP Arlington Branch (the “NAACP”) supports the vision of Plan Langston Boulevard: to transform the corridor into a place of opportunity, where locally owned businesses can thrive, residents enjoy better access to green space, transit connections, and other urban amenities, and housing is more abundant, equitable, and affordable. We applaud Arlington County staff for recognizing that a “new development paradigm” can “increase opportunities for all households, including households of color, to live on this corridor,” that “legacy and historic Black or African American businesses” serve as “anchors” for communities of color, and that “placemaking and programming” should be used to “promote the corridor’s small, legacy, and minority-owned and operated businesses.” That is why we are disappointed that the draft plan released on June 23 fails to meet the County’s own affordable housing goals, while the updated plan released on September 28 removes all estimates of affordable housing production. We join the calls of other community stakeholders in urging the staff to modify the plan so that it produces significantly more affordable homes.
Opioid Crisis in Arlington
Joint Press Release with LULAC - September 24, 2023
We cannot afford to wait any longer; we must act now. Community leaders have called on the County Manager to establish a meeting to no avail. As two of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organizations, and on behalf of the thousands of residents of color we represent, we demand action.
Another Death at our County Jail
Press Release - August 27, 2023
We are devasted and saddened to learn that another loss of life has occurred at our county jail, and we send our most heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones. In recent years, 8 people have lost their lives at the county detention center. All of them have been people of color. It is well-established that Black people are policed and arrested at significantly higher rates than their peers in Arlington, Virginia. While Arlington is only 9% Black, the jail population on any given day is over 65% Black. "It's unimaginable that a 73-year-old woman being held on trespassing charges would ultimately lose her life while in custody. Unfortunately, we have seen a pattern and practice of blatant disregard for basic care at the Arlington County jail and it is leading to deaths at an alarming rate," said Michael Hemminger, President of the NAACP Arlington Branch.
NAACP Arlington Branch donates $60,000 to EcoAction Arlington to further tree equity in historically underserved neighborhoods
Press Release - May 18, 2023
Today the local branch of the oldest and largest civil rights organization in America announced a $60,000 charitable contribution to EcoAction Arlington, which was founded in 1978 and whose mission focuses on encouraging environmentally-friendly behaviors, ensuring environmental justice, and addressing the climate crisis. The NAACP selected EcoAction Arlington through a strategic grant and partnership from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has more than 17 million members and churches in over 30,000 locations across 160 countries and territories. While Arlington is the smallest self-governing county in America, disparities continue to impact communities of color in disparate ways. “Arlington has a 10 year life expectancy difference amongst its neighborhoods, and this donation will create focus and provide much needed tree canopy in places that have, for decades, been left out of the conversation,” said Branch President Michael Hemminger.
NAACP National on the Missing Middle Housing Proposal
Letter from NAACP National to County Board - March 14, 2023
NAACP National has decided to weigh in on the Missing Middle Housing Proposal by way of the General Counsel. This a powerful inquiry and one not often seen by branches at the local level.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (“NAACP”), the oldest civil rights organization in the nation, has become aware of recent amendments to Arlington’s proposed rezoning initiative. This rezoning initiative disproportionately negatively affects Black residents. Rather, Arlington’s original rezoning plan would put affordable rental and home-ownership in Arlington in reach of Black and other community members of color.
Law Enforcement Community Oversight Board Memorandum of Understanding
Letter from NAACP Arlington Branch to County Board - February 20, 2023
In 2021, the Arlington County Board established the Community Oversight Board (COB) to improve transparency, accountability, and community trust in the Arlington County Police Department (ACPD). The COB will have the ability to independently receive, investigate, and make recommendations in response to complaints from the community. The ordinance also calls for an accompanying Independent Policing Auditor to support the work of the COB.
The Community Oversight Board, which was appointed in spring 2022, consists of seven voting members and two non-voting members with prior experience in law enforcement. All COB members are residents of Arlington, are appointed by the County Board, and reflect the demographic diversity of the County.
Inequity and Illegality in Restrictions to the Missing Middle Housing Proposal
Letter from NAACP Arlington Branch to County Board - February 1, 2023
The NAACP Arlington Branch (the “NAACP”) was stunned and deeply disappointed by the County Board’s recent decision to restrict the Missing Middle Housing proposal in ways that would deny attainable homes to people of color as compared to their white counterparts. On January 25, the County Board voted to advertise amendments to the Zoning Ordinance and General Land Use Plan that would legalize some forms of missing middle housing, but only after striking any option for dwellings of more than six homes and adding an option to limit dwellings of more than four homes to large lots. The NAACP fiercely opposes these restrictions and urges the County Board to enact only the set of options that will supply our community with the highest number of attainable homes across all of Arlington’s residential neighborhoods.
Missing Middle Housing Options
Letter from NAACP Arlington Branch to County Board - January 19, 2023
The NAACP Arlington Branch supports the goals of the Missing Middle Housing Study and is committed to ensuring the most equitable and inclusive outcome possible. We wrote the County Board to express which options presented in the County Manager’s January 13, 2023 request to advertise will best address Arlington County's history of racial discrimination and segregation, as well as provide additional housing opportunities to create a more diverse and prosperous community.