My ReACTion: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

by Heather Peeler

What does a thriving community look like?

This question has been top of mind for me as we think about our work at ACT and how we can make a difference.

ACT envisions a community where all residents can achieve their full potential and where the color of one’s skin, ethnicity, or citizenship status do not determine their outcomes in life.  Our work in 2021 focused on the urgent needs of our community and considered the ways to invest in a better future.  We supported basic needs, such as access to vaccines and rental assistance, as well as strengthening structures and future leaders.  For example:

  • We continued to respond to urgent needs brought on by the pandemic and engaged community organizations to be trusted messengers for vaccine outreach with innovative partnerships and grant programs like Sleeves Up, ALX.
  • We sought new ways to help low-income Alexandrians establish more secure financial footing by building awareness about the Child Tax Credit and the potential of a guaranteed income pilot.
  • We brought together local nonprofits with City governement and Alexandria City Public Schools to strengthen the network of support for young people at risk of falling behind in school and life.
  • We launched our first-ever Youth Council, an inspiring group of high school students that are using their voices to shape our community.

These efforts are grounded in ACT’s commitment to a racially just and equitable community.  We are exploring ways to share power and leverage our influence in service to community members who have been marginalized or discriminated against because of their race.  And we’re targeting resources to the neighborhoods most harmed by systemic racism. We remain passionate about continuing our learning journey and making changes that advance racial equity.

This commitment, coupled with the insights and lessons learned from our successes in 2021 informs the course ahead.  In 2022, ACT’s priorities are:

  • Support the economic security & mobility of low-income Alexandrians
  • Ensure that vulnerable youth have the supports they need to succeed in life and school
  • Build capacity of nonprofit organizations and individuals to address racial inequities
  • Change public perception about poverty and create opportunities for residents to influence community priorities and decision making
  • Strengthening nonprofits by providing regular communications, trainings and financial assistance

Our supporters, partners, and friends all play a role in making this vision a reality.  That’s why we are so proud of the clarity, creativity, and urgency that you—our community members and partners—have so consistently shown. As we continue to navigate and recover from the pandemic’s harm, we must continue to harness our collective generosity, ingenuity and compassion to build a future where everyone thrives.  With Team Alexandria, we are confident and resolute.  Together we will create an Alexandria where everyone thrives.



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