This agenda was created by leaders and members of Tenants and Workers United (TWU) to outline the priorities of Alexandria’s low-income immigrant communities of color. Our proposals aim to lift up everyone by focusing on sustainable and equitable solutions to long-standing injustices.
We ask our leaders: What type of Alexandria do you envision? A City designed for the wealthy? Or a vibrant, diverse community that is welcoming and inclusive for everyone who calls Alexandria home?
Problem: Low-income communities of color have been priced out by unchecked gentrification for decades, forcing families to leave the City they call home. According to data1 from Alexandria’s Office of Housing, among households earning less than $75,000 a year, 74% are either cost-burdened or severely cost-burdened.
Solutions: Require every new development to make at least 30% of all units affordable at and below 40% the area median income (AMI); require affordable units provided for bonus density to be at 40% of AMI; require all future developments seeking special use permits or increased density to provide a displacement analysis; increase the current ½ penny per $1,000 of assessed property value to a full penny reserved for affordable housing; ensure no net loss of affordable units; include state legislation on rent control in City Council’s legislative packet
Equitable and Racially Just Schools
Problem: ACPS students of color have lower graduation rates2 and are disproportionately suspended and referred to police3 compared to their White peers. When schools reopen, the lingering stress, trauma, and academic slide from COVID-19 -- which has disproportionately impacted4 low-income communities of color -- will require better mental health and holistic resources in schools.
Solutions: Continue to unfund the School Resource Officer (SRO) program; increase funding for more counselors, social workers, psychologists, and support staff to foster a holistic approach to education
Equitable Health Care Access
Problem: The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color and immigrants. Low wages, exorbitant rent prices, crowded living conditions out of financial necessity, lack of access to healthcare, and limited eligibility for services and resources due to immigration status made our community more vulnerable to the dual health and economic crisis. Now, we face an inequitable vaccine distribution and a lack of accessible information in languages other than English.
Solutions: A city-wide plan for an equitable distribution of COVID vaccines that prioritizes zip codes with the highest infection rates5; accessible information in various languages and communication modes; a fully-funded health promotion program to (a) conduct COVID-19 education outreach among communities hardest hit by and in greatest need of protection from the virus and (b) provide general preventative health information, education, and support for low-income residents; improved access to testing, treatment, and overall health care for those without health insurance
Transparency and Fairness in Law Enforcement:
Problem: The Alexandria Police Department has not published adequate, complete, disaggregated data on police stops and the demographics of those stopped. This lack of transparency fuels distrust and does not foster public safety. Additionally, the APD’s policies on sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are not clear, and the Alexandria jail still voluntarily collaborates with ICE through internal policies and its Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the U.S. Marshals.
Solutions: Pass a city-wide policy to prohibit all City agencies, including the police department, from voluntarily sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); establish a diverse, independent, and community-led police oversight committee with subpoena and investigatory power; conduct a study to determine the feasibility of shifting a portion of police funding to mental health and social services; have traffic enforcement conducted by unarmed officers or by traffic control specialists; sell or dispose of military hardware; encourage the Sheriff to end all voluntary collaboration with ICE.