April 25, 2017 Published in Letters/Opinions

Fascism In Alexandria

Dear Editor:

I am writing with concern over the presence of a white supremacist, Richard Spencer, here in Old Town. My concern is that he and his organization have been emboldened by our failure to make progress on civil rights. Mayor Silberberg and the City Council issued a statement shortly after the election declaring Alexandria an inclusive, hate-free city. The sentiment was beautiful but we need to do more.

We as a community must protect each other, especially those who lack “privilege” of being straight, white, male and US citizens. By not speaking loudly enough, we may have emboldened racists like Spencer. I personally feel that these troubled times call for action.

Right here in Alexandria, we do not yet track and publicly release data on police stops in order to measure racial bias, if any, in Alexandria policing. If we are not careful, we risk criminalizing blackness by repeatedly searching African American citizens until crime is found. Alexandria courts impose bail that force innocent people to enter guilty pleas for lack of resources. Alexandria schools have not adequately supported students who are at risk of deportation under Trump’s draconian policies. We need to do more.

Local groups such as Grassroots Alexandria are working to address this. We need to work together to show that we are united against misguided white supremacist ideas and that our policies make us a champion of civil rights, not an enabler.

Glenn Klaus

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