ALL Alexandria means each and every resident thrives in our historic, vibrant and diverse city.
ALL Races, Religions, Countries of Origin, Sexual Orientations, Ages, Genders and Abilities
Alexandria is a caring, kind, compassionate, fair, just, and equitable city that is an affordable, livable community for ALL.
Reduce and eliminate disparities and inequities experienced by ALL Alexandria residents, especially residents of color and those that have been historically and systemically marginalized.
“The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be. More than ever before we, as a society, need to renew a commitment to truth telling.” – bell hooks
The appearance of Northern Virginia as a haven of affluence and upward mobility is shattered when examining census data, which reveals disparities in education, health, housing, economic resources, and more. A 2017 report from the Northern Virginia Health Foundation identified 15 “islands of disadvantage” across the region--clusters of adjacent census tracts where affluence and upward mobility rub shoulders with communities struggling with poverty and inequity. Two of these “islands of disadvantage” are located in the City of Alexandria.
In many instances, the disparities within Alexandria are just a few blocks apart. In 2011, in one Census tract separated by W. Glebe Road, the median household income was nearly $166,000; just across the road, the median house income was $49,370. More recent Census data show that racial disparities persist in educational attainment, household income, and other areas:
- In the City of Alexandria, white median household income ($122,401) more than doubled that of Hispanic or Latinx ($60,637) and Black or African American ($58,821) households. White households earned approximately 15% more than Asian households ($104,043). Source: American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates 2018
- Poverty was higher among Blacks or African Americans (34%), which represented only 20 percent of Alexandria’s population, and among the Hispanic or Latinx group (29%), which made up only 16% of the population. By comparison, poverty among white people was 20%, even though whites made up 49% of the city’s population. Source: ACS 5-Year Estimates 2018
- More members of the white (39%) and Asian (30%) populations received bachelor’s degrees compared to Black or African American (22%) and Hispanic or Latinx (14%) groups. Similarly, more white (47%) and Asian (39%) populations received graduate or professional degrees compared to Black or African American (14%) and Hispanic or Latinx (12%) populations. Source: Latest Available ACS 1-Year Estimates 2016-2018
But data is only part of the picture; it does not help us understand how and where the City can tackle inequity. Programmatic data, collected through the City, coupled with community engagement, and using proven and tested tools and best practices, can help Alexandria.
To understand these disparities, as City government and as a community we need to take an honest look at history, and the systemic and institutional nature of disproportionality across all indicators of life and well-being. This is not just a Northern Virginia problem or a City of Alexandria problem: it is a national and global concern, deeply rooted in racism and anti-blackness.
We must thoroughly understand that people are not the problem, it is the systems and institutions (including government), and the policies and practices that they have created, perpetuated and maintained that lead to these outcomes.
Building Alliances to Reduce Disparities
The goal is not to just eliminate the gap between white people and people of color, but to increase the success for all groups. Racial equity develops goals and outcomes that will result in improvements for all groups, but the strategies are targeted based on the needs of a particular group. Systems that are failing communities of color, are actually failing all of us. Targeted universalism will increase our collective success and be cost effective – Government Alliance on Race and Equity
The City’s racial and social equity initiative grew from the efforts of an interdepartmental Race and Social Equity Working Group, formed in 2018. These City employees developed and piloted social and racial equity programming in four City departments. The programming was based on the work of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. The City became a member of GARE in 2019, developing its inaugural Racial Equity Learning as part of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ year-long Advancing Racial Equity Cohort.
As a member of GARE, Alexandria joins governmental jurisdictions across the country in
- Making a commitment to achieving racial equity
- Focusing on the power and influence of their own institutions, and
- Working in partnership with others
When this occurs, significant leverage and expansion opportunities emerge, setting the stage for the achievement of racial equity in our communities.
GARE Theory of Action
The GARE normalize, organize, operationalize, national best practice is being used by more than 200 local, regional, and state government jurisdictions across the country to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. This Theory of Action will help to drive the City’s efforts to develop a framework for action to achieve racial and social equity.
- Normalize concepts and conversations around race, incorporating conversations around race at every turn and opportunity within city government and in the community; making ourselves more comfortable with naming race as a key indicator and predictor for how well people do.
- Organize City staff, with involvement and input from the Alexandria community, around advancing equity throughout City government, and consequently, in the community.
- Operationalize Moving from racial equity theory to action, by using local data and racial equity tools, to develop and implement equitable policies, programs, and procedures across City government and the community.
Under the direction of the City’s first Race and Social Equity Officer, Jaqueline Tucker, City departments and an interdepartmental work group are working to build a framework, in collaboration with City employees, community members, and other stakeholders, to ensure policy decisions advance race and social equity for all Alexandria residents.