Connecting Fairfax City's Past and Present to Build a More Equitable and Inclusive Future

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Connecting Fairfax City for All

The City of Fairfax recognizes there is strength in diversity and acknowledges the need for a broader community conversation around the issues of racial and social equity, systemic racism, symbolism, and identity.

Confederate Lane and Plantation Pkwy signsNomenclature in the City of Fairfax
Evolving views about who and what should be memorialized in public spaces and on public land present an opportunity for the City of Fairfax to examine its nomenclature. Confederate-related street and place names, historical markers and monuments, and elements in the city seal will be discussed in the context of how these symbols reflect the City Council’s goals of inclusivity and building community.

City residents are invited to participate in thought-provoking conversations that connect current realities with the city’s historical past. Ultimately, through a series of listening and learning opportunities, the goal is to connect the present to a more equitable and inclusive future for all city residents, businesses, and visitors.

“This initiative, endorsed by the City Council, holds great promise for our city residents to engage with each other with respect, compassion, and an openness to learning and gaining a greater understanding of each other,” said City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “This is an opportunity for all of us to discern what actions we may take to create a preferred future that is inclusive and more just and equitable.”

Partnership with George Mason University
To accomplish this work, the city has partnered with the George Mason University Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Working with the Carter School, the city has outlined a process to listen to community voices, engage the community in learning sessions and structured, facilitated discussions, and will form a diverse working group to make recommendations on action items and identify areas for further community discussion. City Council will consider the recommendations in 2021 before making decisions regarding the city’s nomenclature.

Please explore this project site, drop a pin on the map, share your ideas, tell your story, or leave a comment. Click on the social media icons to share with others.

Connecting Fairfax City for All

The City of Fairfax recognizes there is strength in diversity and acknowledges the need for a broader community conversation around the issues of racial and social equity, systemic racism, symbolism, and identity.

Confederate Lane and Plantation Pkwy signsNomenclature in the City of Fairfax
Evolving views about who and what should be memorialized in public spaces and on public land present an opportunity for the City of Fairfax to examine its nomenclature. Confederate-related street and place names, historical markers and monuments, and elements in the city seal will be discussed in the context of how these symbols reflect the City Council’s goals of inclusivity and building community.

City residents are invited to participate in thought-provoking conversations that connect current realities with the city’s historical past. Ultimately, through a series of listening and learning opportunities, the goal is to connect the present to a more equitable and inclusive future for all city residents, businesses, and visitors.

“This initiative, endorsed by the City Council, holds great promise for our city residents to engage with each other with respect, compassion, and an openness to learning and gaining a greater understanding of each other,” said City of Fairfax Mayor David Meyer. “This is an opportunity for all of us to discern what actions we may take to create a preferred future that is inclusive and more just and equitable.”

Partnership with George Mason University
To accomplish this work, the city has partnered with the George Mason University Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Working with the Carter School, the city has outlined a process to listen to community voices, engage the community in learning sessions and structured, facilitated discussions, and will form a diverse working group to make recommendations on action items and identify areas for further community discussion. City Council will consider the recommendations in 2021 before making decisions regarding the city’s nomenclature.

Please explore this project site, drop a pin on the map, share your ideas, tell your story, or leave a comment. Click on the social media icons to share with others.

Questions?

Share your questions or concerns. We will respond within a few days. 

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    In a time when the public school children are not attending school 5 days a week. When food banks are stretched due to people needing help. Do you feel that spending time and money on things like this is a top priority? Be relevant.

    Edward McCaughey asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your question. City government is capable of addressing multiple issues at one time. City Council tasked staff with this initiative because it is important and very relevant. Communities throughout the South and around the country are having similar conversations. If this effort leads to stronger community, it’s worth pursuing. 

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    I participated in Thursday evening (3/11) Listening and Learning session and following dialogue. I missed the survey link - Is that link still available? I was fascinated (during the Facilitated Dialogue) to hear stories from those who went to City of Fairfax Schools when they were still segregated, and just as that practice was ending. Likewise hearing stories of growing up on School Street - where there are now $1,000,000 townhouses. Is there a process/possibility of capturing these stories in oral histories?

    Clayton asked 7 months ago

    Thanks for attending the session. Each one has been informative and thought provoking. If the survey is still available, we'll let you know. As for School Street stories, we don't have a means to capture oral histories, but the Stories tool is designed for people who want to share their personal experiences as they relate to racial and social inequality. We'd love to hear them! 

    Update: 

    Here is the link to the Evaluation form for Thursday’s dialogue session (March 11, 2021)

     

    https://forms.gle/VpKKE2XxJCrcx66G9 

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    The first listening session is on 4 February. Can you please share the link to join?

    Green42 asked 9 months ago

    We will share the link as soon as it's available. Thanks for your patience. 

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    I submitted an application for the stakeholder group online, but never received an email. I understand the selection has been made, but for future reference, it is disconcerting that the online process seems to have hiccuped.

    Green42 asked 9 months ago

    Well, that's disappointing. Please contact Cityclerk@fairfaxva.gov. Applications were received there. Thank you for your interest in this initiative. Please participate in the upcoming virtual sessions and use the tools on this site to share your feedback on the issue. Thanks. 

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    How do we register for the upcoming Listening and Learning Sessions?

    Clayton asked 9 months ago

    The link for the virtual listening and learning sessions will be shared soon. We wanted to share the dates first. Please note that the first session was pushed back a week. The posted date is correct. Thanks for your interest and your patience.

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    When will notices be sent to applicants who applied to be a member of the nomenclature stakeholders group? Thank you.

    SuperNoVA asked 10 months ago

    An invitation to participate in a group session was emailed last Thursday to all email addresses that were provided on applications. Selection and appointment to the stakeholder group will not happen until January 12. 

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    I understand that you're showing different perspectives on the conversation. However, the supposed importance of acknowledging the normalcy and even positive aspects of slavery within the historical context is not an acceptable perspective. It is offensive and a form of defending a positive view of slavery. Accepting that as a valid perspective is also defending a positive view of slavery. That doesn't have to be a part of this conversation by any means, and furthermore the acceptance of that as a valid perspective on this issue may disenfranchise other visitors to this site who may have otherwise left their own comments. It also isn't what I would consider family friendly material, and this page should be something families can go over with their children.

    BlackLivesMatter asked 10 months ago

    Conducting a candid conversation about racial and social equity requires listening to all perspectives. Allowing a comment to be viewed and reacted to is not a defense or endorsement of the commenter's opinion. 

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    If there was a private feedback form I would leave this there, but why has the post from tiredofthepettiness not been removed by a moderator? It says, "Can we remember that back in history this was the everyday norm. I''m not saying by any means it was right but also, this was the normal practice back then. Any also, please remember too that many a slave owner treated them with kindness and even gave them property when the Civil War was over. You can't turn a blind eye and just say everyone was evil and wrong." This post shows a great deal of insensitivity in defending slave owners, saying they were capable of kindness toward their slaves, and categorizing slavery as "normal back then," while not acknowledging the brutality and inhumanity of slavery.

    BlackLivesMatter asked 10 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Comments will only be moderated if they contain hate speech, vulgarity, or personal attacks. While some may disagree with the commenter's opinion, we feel removing it would defeat the purpose of the project. There is a wide range of opinions about our country's history and how we understand it today. At this early stage in the project, we think it is important for the community to see and react to all points of view. If you haven't done so already, please consider sharing ideas with the ideas tool, or if you have a personal story to share, we would love to hear it. Thanks for participating. Please stay engaged as the project moves forward.

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    Why are the comments from residents not visible? I am interested in the different views.

    MsClean asked 11 months ago

    Comments are visible to registered participants.

Page last updated: 13 October 2021, 04:41