25th Annual Martin Luther King March and Celebration

Monday, January 16th | 10:00 a.m. | Loudoun County Courthouse Lawn

Families, friends, and community organizations from all over Loudoun County will come together on the Loudoun County Courthouse lawn in Leesburg for the Annual March and Celebration honoring the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The theme of this year’s celebration is:
Community Power for Change & Courage to Create a Just World

Featuring Keynote Speaker Blake D. Morrant
Dean and the Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law
at The George Washington University Law School

Bring your nonperishable food items to Douglass Community center
between 8AM and 1:30PM for a FOOD DRIVE to benefit Loudoun Interfaith Relief

For more information visit: www.facebook.com/MLKMarchLeesburg, twitter.com/MLKmarch, call 540-955-8186, or email themarch08@yahoo.com

2017 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Schedule:

8:00 AM – 1:30 PM – Food Drive at Douglass Community Center
9:00 AM- MLK- Love to Unity Community Dialogue
10:00 AM- Program starts at Douglass. 2017 Program Theme: “Community Power for Change and Courage to Create a Just World”
10:00 AM – Marchers assemble at the Loudoun County Courthouse
10:15 AM – Invocation
10:30 AM – March begins – Courthouse to Douglass Community Center
11:00 AM – Refreshments and visiting at Douglass Community Center
12:00 PM – Speaker: Blake D. Morrant followed by music and inspirational performances
1:30 PM – Conclusion of program and clean up

mlkday2017

Loudoun School Board proposes stripping all classes from non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies

The Loudoun County School Board is proposing to remove all classifications from its non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies.

We strongly urge attendance at the next School Board meeting to make our voices heard:

LCPS_SealTuesday December 13, 2016

6:30pm

School Administration Building
21000 Education Court
Ashburn, VA 20148

Contact individual School Board members here.

At their November 29 meeting (watch the discussion here), several School Board members expressed the belief that employees and students shouldn’t be “labeled” by having legal protection from discrimination on the basis of personal characteristics such as gender or sexual orientation. They then voted to consult the LCPS attorney to determine whether all classifications can be eliminated from the current policies: race, ancestry, color, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, marital status, age, religion, national origin, disability, or genetic information and any other characteristic provided by law.

Members who suggest that protecting classes of people who have historically been subject to discrimination and bullying amounts to “labeling” them have a fundamental misunderstanding of how discrimination works. It is the act of discrimination or bullying itself that labels the person being targeted, and in the absence of policy language prohibiting such conduct there is no basis for that person to make a claim of discrimination.

Several members also stated that the School Board cannot add “sexual orientation or gender identity” to its policy language because that language is not included in the Virginia state code. This claim is false. The Attorney General determined years ago that public education governing bodies are free to determine their own policies with regard to discrimination, and LCPS is lagging behind surrounding school districts and also the Loudoun County government, which added this language in 2010.

The national PTA has adopted a resolution, and provided a detailed explanation of why the recognition of gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes is necessary. That document is available here. Discrimination and bullying directed against members of the LGBTQI community, and the harm it causes, is well documented. The NAACP Loudoun Branch strongly supports including this language in LCPS policies.

Efforts to avoid revising non-discrimination and anti-bullying policies to protect LGBTQI employees and students by removing reference to all protected classes from these policies is UNACCEPTABLE and must be met with uncompromising opposition.

If you are unable to attend the meeting, you can also contact School Board members here.

Participation by the Public at School Board Meetings

If you would like to speak before the School Board, please contact the Superintendent’s Office at (571) 252-1020 or via email at clerk@lcps.org prior to 4:00 pm the day of the School Board meeting.

  • You are asked to provide your name, address and telephone number, subject matter, and organization represented, if applicable.
  • Speakers must limit comments to the time allotted by the Chair and announced prior to the public comment period. (Usually 2-3 minutes)
  • The Chair determines the time based on the number of speakers and the agenda.
  • Those who, due to a disability, need assistance to be able to participate meaningfully in School Board meetings should contact the Superintendent’s Office at least three days prior to the meeting.
  • Copies of materials for Board members should be given to the Public Information Officer or designee in the back of the meeting room (in the media box) prior to the start of the meeting for distribution to Board members.
  • Please provide 12 copies of materials. (Having copies of your FULL position is helpful if you are unable to articulate in the given time allotted and asking for a response in a reasonable timeframe is recommended)
  • Under no circumstances will a speaker approach the dais.
  • The Chairman will warn a speaker if the speaker is out of order prior to taking further action.

The School Board also is open to receiving comments orally or in writing outside of school board meetings as an alternative means of public participation.

Collision or Cooperation: Policing and Race

Thomson_Chapman-Interview-2-690x450Last week the Loudoun Tribune sat down with Loudoun’s top cop Mike Chapman and local NAACP president Phillip Thompson, to talk about policing, traffic stops, Black Lives Matter and more. The following are excerpts of that conversation.

Are relations between the African-American community and local police worse than in the recent past, or are incidents more visible thanks to body cams, cell phone cameras, YouTube and the 24/7 news cycle?

THOMPSON: Nationwide you’ve seen acts of violence against unarmed black men where there have been no consequences. When there are no consequences there is a concern that it’s open season. When you fly in a plane you’re taught to believe it’s safe until you see pictures of a plane crash. Then you start thinking about how safe it is. It’s the same thing with violence against young black men. Seeing it on television makes us feel less safe, and that adds to the perception that there’s a problem between law enforcement and the African-American community.

With everything going on, we haven’t had an act of racial violence here in Loudoun and my goal is to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Read more in the Loudoun Tribune

NAACP leader calls Loudoun County Public Schools’ diversity training ‘a joke’

In response to community criticism over the lack of diversity of its teaching staff, Loudoun County Public Schools is offering a “diversity training workshop” to all of its hiring managers this summer. A local NAACP leader says the effort is “a joke.”

LCPS_SealThe Loudoun chapter of the NAACP began pressing the school system to be more aggressive in hiring minority teachers in November when a school district report showed 88 percent of its teachers are white while 48 percent of its students are non-white. A community meeting on the subject was hosted by the school division and two parent groups in December. Shortly after the meeting, the School Board added money to its budget for the summer diversity training and to hire a personnel specialist to focus on the issue. The Loudoun NAACP says the school system’s latest efforts are not enough to combat the problem. The group says it plans on filing federal complaints about various “racial inequities” within the school system.

Read more in the Loudoun Times-Mirror