Commission for Women Initiatives
Commission for Women Webinar Event: Virginia Post Dobbs: A Discussion on Abortion Access Across the Commonwealth, Thursday, June 8, 2023 @ 7:00 p.m.
Nearly one year after the United States Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, more than 23 million women in the United States of America live in a state that has banned abortion. Join us for a virtual discussion on the status of reproductive health care in our communities and across the Commonwealth. Click here for a recording of the webinar.
The City of Alexandria is committed to addressing needs specific to women and to LGBTQ+ people. This commitment can be seen in the City programs and services targeted to these populations and in the active advisory bodies for women's issues and LGBTQ+ issues, including the Commission for Women, the Human Rights Commission, the Commission on HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ+ Task Force.
Commission efforts are largely centered on:
(1) Supporting existing City programs that focus on women: Domestic Violence Program (DVP), Sexual Assault Program (SAP), Reproductive Health, Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), Affordable Housing and Transportation.
(2) Providing guidance and advice to the City on relevant legislation and public policy issues.
(4) The preservation and promotion of women's history in Alexandria through the Women's History Tour and related projects.
In addition, the Commission stays active on affairs within the City. Commissioners learn about and provide insight on local issues by attending Council meetings, hearings and symposia, inviting speakers to Commission meetings, and attending educational and civic programs within the City and around the region. In 2014, the Commission celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the formation of the Commission on the Status on Women in 1974 at the 34th Annual Salute to Women Awards Ceremony.
Women's Events & Awareness Months
"In recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the Alexandria Commission for Women is hosting a panel discussion to help our community understand what human trafficking is, how to recognize it, and the ways in which to help in Alexandria and beyond." This panel will take place on Monday, January 23, 2022, 7 - 8:30 p.m., at the Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson Street.
"Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including right here in the United States, including Alexandria."
- Women's History Month
- Salute to Women Awards
- Sexual Assault Awareness & Women & Girls' Wellness Month
- National Denim Day
- The Clothesline Project
- Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
- Teen Pregnancy Prevention Awareness Month
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month & Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Bathroom Poster Distribution
- Silent Witness Candlelight Vigil
- Clothesline Project
Vola Lawson Breast Cancer Memorial Fund
In 1994, the Alexandria Walk to Fight Breast Cancer was established by former City Manager Vola Lawson. The Annual Walk to Fight Breast Cancer was discontinued in 2014, but to ensure that women who remain in need can access critical screenings, the Vola Lawson Breast Cancer Memorial was established. The Fund is named in honor of Vola Lawson who passed in December 2013.
With support of community members, city government, local businesses and non-profit organizations, we are able to keep the memory of Vola and her vision alive.
Every year, the Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program exhibit The Clothesline Project in the community during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (April) and Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October). The vividly decorated t-shirts are strung on a clothesline to bear witness to violence against women and their strength to survive.
The Clothesline Project began in 1990 when members of the Cape Cod Women's Agenda hung a clothesline across the village green in Hyannis, Massachusetts with 31 shirts decorated by survivors of assault, rape and incest. Women viewing the clothesline came forward to create shirts of their own and the line kept growing. Since the first display, The Clothesline Project has grown through cooperation with schools, universities, State Houses, shopping malls, churches and women's events. An estimated 35,000-50,000 shirts have been made.
"Doing the laundry has always been considered women's work and in the days of close-knit neighborhoods, women often exchanged information over backyard fences while hanging their clothes out to dry," said Carol A. Chichetto of East Dennis, MA, quoted from www.now.org , the NOW organization website. "The concept is simple. Let each woman tell her own story in her own unique way and hang it out for all to see. It was and is a way of airing society's dirty laundry."
Creating opportunities for people to learn and speak openly about sexual and domestic violence is a goal of the Sexual Assault Center and Domestic Violence Program. Twice yearly, the programs host t-shirt making nights where survivors and their friends and family are invited to create a t-shirt that represents their experience.
Call the Domestic Violence Program at 703.746.4911 or Sexual Assault Center at 703.683.7273 if you are interested in making a t-shirt and participating in this awareness event.
Children's Holiday Party
Every year, the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program and Sexual Assault Center organize a Holiday Party for children and mothers who have been recently served by the programs. At the party, the families reunite with past shelter friends and staff, eat and take pictures with Santa Clause, among other activities. Each mother and child receive a bag of gifts to wrap and place under their own tree on Christmas Day. More than 100 families look forward to this exciting event, and our community's generosity is what makes it a success.
If you would like to participate in the party this year, we have a gift suggestion list for ideas. If you wish to donate children's toys or other gifts, please provide newly purchased, unwrapped items. We will provide each mother with wrapping paper to personalize each child's gift.
We are also requesting gift certificates to local stores in denominations of $25. This way, each woman will have the opportunity to purchase something special for herself or her children.
We accept donations at our main office, located at 123 North Pitt Street, Suite 225 Alexandria, VA from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on holidays. The deadline for delivery or pick-up of unwrapped gift donations is December 9.
If you need help deciding what to purchase, or if you have any other questions about donating for this event, please call the Domestic Violence Program at 703.746.4911. Thank you for helping to make this a great day for the children and families we serve.
Bathroom Poster Distribution
The Alexandria Domestic Violence Program needs volunteers aged 18 and up to help distribute educational and public awareness materials. Volunteers are given a list of locations in the City of Alexandria and can go at their own pace. Please call 703.746.4911.
Salute to Women Awards
Shining a spotlight on the distinguished work of women, men and youth in our community is at the heart of the Alexandria Commission for Women's Salute to Women Awards Program.
Visit the Salute to Women event page for more information.
Silent Witness Project & Candlelight Vigil
"Witnesses are red because it is the color of our life's blood, the one way in which we are all united...no matter our race, creed, or culture. The shields are placed over the heart-our life's rhythm."
- South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The Silent Witness Project is a nation-wide initiative that began in Minnesota in 1990. The project was launched by a group of Minnesota women who felt an urgency to do something about the escalating domestic violence in their state. Twenty-six life-size red silhouettes were created, each bearing the name of a woman whose life was brutally cut short due to the violence in her life.
Since the project began in 1990, Silent Witness exhibits have been springing up across the United States. By 1997, 46 states had joined with Minnesota in creating these silhouettes. In 2002, the Commonwealth of Virginia joined the silent witness project.
Alexandria has silhouettes of our own victims who died due to domestic violence. Family, friends, and community members will honor these lives by displaying these silhouettes at various locations throughout October. The silhouettes memorialize Alexandrians who died at the hands of domestic violence, since 1990. They will also represent the thousands of City residents who are still being hurt by those they love and are still in danger.
Each year, in Market Square, in front of City Hall at 301 King Street, the Domestic Violence Program holds the Silent Witness Candlelight Vigil, an annual event during which we remember and honor all those who have died, or are still suffering, due to acts of domestic violence. Learn about the City's Domestic Violence Program.
Contacts and Resources
- Debra Evans, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Division Chief, 703.746.4911
- Lisette Torres, ACAP Coordinator, 703.746.3130
- Erika Callaway-Kleiner, LGBTQ+ Task Force and Project Coordinator, Erika.Kleiner@alexandriava.gov
- Commission for Women Chair - Crystal Kramer, CommissionforWomen@alexandriava.gov
- Human Rights Commission Contact - Jean Kelleher - 703.746.3140
Substance Use Outpatient Treatment Team Leader, 703.746.3606
Housing and Transportation Information
The Office of Housing works with many government agencies and organizations that are essential in promoting affordable housing in the City of Alexandria, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Virginia Housing, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and The Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers. Learn more about Affordable Housing Projects and Housing Partners here https://www.alexandriava.gov/housing/affordable-housing-projects-and-partners
The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, a state-chartered public housing authority established on June 27,1939 by City Ordinance and Mayoral appointment of a five-member Board of Commissioners, manages Alexandria’s public housing units and provided affordable housing, economic opportunities and a living environment free from discrimination for low income and moderate income citizens of Alexandria. Learn more about ARHA including resident services here https://www.alexandriava.gov/housing-services/renter-resources
In 2013 the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved the City’s first Housing Master Plan (HMP). It guides preservation and enhancement of affordable housing opportunities and community diversity through 2025 with the following principles, learn more about HMP here https://www.alexandriava.gov/HousingPlan
Get involved in the Alexandria Housing Affordability Advisory Committee (AHAAC). AHAAC advises City Council on issues regarding the preservation and creation of affordable housing; makes recommendations on policies governing the City's Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and Housing Opportunities Fund; works with staff to monitor the implementation of the Housing Master Plan; and oversees the administration of the HTF. Meetings are open to the public. Spanish interpretation will be available at each meeting. Learn more here https://www.alexandriava.gov/housing/housing-boards-and-committees
Follow the City’s eNews notices, select "Affordable Housing” here: https://www.alexandriava.gov/eNews
The Office of Housing provides a range of services to renters in collaboration with the Department of Community and Human Services, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and local and regional partners. Learn more about Affordable Rental Options, Trainings and Workshops, Housing Choice (Section 8) Vouchers, Discounted Memory Care Unit Waitlist, Complaint Mediation, Rental Accessibility Modification Programs, Fair Housing Testing, Area Relocation Counseling, Mold Remediation Requirements and State Rental Assistance Program… here https://www.alexandriava.gov/housing-services/renter-resources
As of May 15, 2022, new Rent Relief Program (RRP) applications are no longer being accepted by the State of Virginia. For eviction prevention services, please contact the Alexandria Eviction Prevention Program at 703.837.9300; Legal Aid of Virginia; or the Office of Community Services (OCS) at City’s Department of Community and Human Services at 703.746.5700 [text 703.346.5599]. Learn ore about Alexandria Eviction Prevention Program here https://www.alive-inc.org/aepp/
In addition to Eviction Prevention program, learn more about other housing assistance and homeless service programs, including Housing Crisis Assistance, Homeless Services, PATH Homeless Assistance Program, Homeless Youth Awareness, 24-Hour Crisis Line here https://www.alexandriava.gov/dchs/housing-and-homeless-services-hub
For general information on housing services and programs, the 2022 Housing Resource Guide is in English, Spanish, Amharic, and Arabic and as well as Rental Housing Options Guide in English, Spanish, Amharic, and Arabic.
DASH bus launched the New DASH Network and became 100 percent fare free in September 2021. Learn more about the New Network here https://www.dashbus.com/newnetwork/ and fare free here https://dashbus.com/free/
The Alexandria Transit Vision Plan is a project led by the City of Alexandria and DASH to design a future bus network for the City of Alexandria. The purpose of the project is to create a more useful and equitable bus network that encourages more people to get to more places using transit. The New DASH Network is the first phase of the 2022 ATV Plan. Learn more about the ATV Plan here https://www.alexandriava.gov/transportation-planning/program/alexandria-transit-vision-plan
The Alexandria Transit Company (ATC) Transit Development Plan (TDP) provides a comprehensive vision of future service development, fare adjustments, and capital investments. It provides an evaluation current DASH system performance, outlines projected service levels for the following fiscal year based on the draft budget, and provides fiscally-unconstrained guidance on future service changes and capital improvements for the remaining five years of the six-year plan cycle (ex. FY25 – FY30). The TDP is updated each year by DASH staff and is subject to annual public comment as well as review, amendment and adoption by the ATC Board of Directors. Learn more about TDP here https://www.dashbus.com/tdp
Starting April 2022, DASH allowed all-door boarding and expanded stroller use, two new policies that will make transit even more accessible and convenient, especially for families with young children. The policies will improve how riders board DASH buses and how strollers may be used. See more here https://www.dashbus.com/alldoorboarding/
Part of the city’s FY2017 – FY2022 Strategic Plan adopted by City Council in 2017 is the theme of Multimodal Transportation - working towards an integrated, multimodal transportation system that is accessible and safe for all users. See more here https://www.alexandriava.gov/sites/default/files/2022-06/04.00%20-%20Strategic%20Plan_0.pdf