My ReACTion by Heather Peeler
Creating A Thriving Community
One of the lessons from the pandemic is our interconnectedness. Our collective health, safety and prosperity depends on how we care for ourselves and for one another. The pandemic has also highlighted our shared goals – a desire for our families to thrive despite any hardships or setbacks we may face.
Unfortunately, the pandemic highlights how our current economic system is off track. Some families have a harder time thriving and bouncing back from hardship. Inequality and poverty continue to be persistent foils to our collective wellbeing. The pandemic’s disproportionate impact on Black, Latino, Indigenous and immigrant households is well documented.
The good news is that our community has many assets we can deploy to make a change. Although the economy is struggling to rebound, our communty is generous, resourceful, and creative! Our recent report, Stronger Together, highlights how Alexandrians led a compassionate response to the pandemic.
As we begin to focus on the longer-term recovery, Alexandria is following the footsteps of many cities and towns around the nation actively seeking ways to address economic insecurity. Economic insecurity means that families do not have the financial standing to endure adverse economic events such as a health crisis or the loss of reliable job, transportation or childcare. Any one of these hardships would be a challenge in ordinary times; during the pandemic they became catastrophic. With so many of our neighbors navigating financial crisis, the resilience of our community is at stake.
There is an exciting a new opportunity afoot. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in initiatives that target economic insecurity in Alexandria. You can shape how the City prioritizes these funds. The City of Alexandria is seeking input via survey; the survey is open until May 13.
Next month, Nisha Patel, a recognized expert on economic mobility will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming IMPACT Racial Equity Forum, June 9 & 10. Ms. Patel will share what has worked in other communities to move families up the economic ladder. The virtual conference will also include presentations from Audrey Davis, Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum, Jaqueline Tucker, the City’s Race and Social Equity Officer, and a panel of racially diverse community members sharing their experiences and personal histories. There will also be breakouts on operationalizing racial equity and communications.
There is much we can continue to do as a community to achieve true economic opportunity for everyone. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you at the IMPACT Racial Equity Forum!