The goal is “to normalize the conversations that we know are really challenging but we also think will help to lay the foundation for how we can move forward together in the county,” said Samia Byrd, Arlington County’s chief race and equity officer.
Local governments across the nation, including in New York and Minnesota, are brainstorming ways to address racial disparities in their jurisdictions. While critics have dismissed the initiatives as vaguely defined or public relations stunts, advocates say they are a necessary step toward real policy change.
In Arlington, officials said the dialogues are part of a years-long focus on addressing equity issues, rather than a newly formulated response to racial justice demonstrations this summer in the region and throughout the country.
“This is not about just responding to the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and the protests that have existed in communities,” said Arlington County Board