Position Papers and Public Statements

Call for police reform into investigations of opioid overdose deaths

Press Release - July 2, 2024

In 2023, 22 people died of opioid overdose in Arlington County. On July 5, 2023 one of those people was Tori Thompson, a Black Arlington community member, who was deeply loved by his family. Arlington County did not notify the family of his passing before moving to declare him unclaimed and cremating him against the family’s religious beliefs. “Tori’s passing has left a void in our hearts, he was a devoted father and beloved member of the family,” said Angela Thompson, his mother. “He had a birth certificate, a note from his loving mother and his ID in his possession. The police’s failure to make sincere efforts to notify the family and treatment during the investigation is unacceptable.”

NAACP Arlington Branch files amicus brief in missing middle housing lawsuit

Amicus brief to the Virginia Circuit Court - July 1, 2024

NAACP Arlington Branch submitted an amicus brief to the Virginia Circuit Court supporting recent zoning reforms in Arlington County. Those reforms are being challenged in the case of Nordgren v. County Board of Arlington. The case raises important questions about the ability of Virginia localities to expand housing opportunities and make neighborhoods more inclusive. The NAACP is not a party to the case. Having advocated for zoning reform in Arlington, however, the NAACP has strong interests in centering the experiences of marginalized people, sharing their stories, and clarifying how they will be affected by the possible outcomes of the case.

NAACP Arlington to Hold Press Conference in Arlington

Media Statement - June 30, 2024

The NAACP Arlington Branch is supporting the family of Tori Thompson at a celebration of life event entitled “Truth for Tori.” The Thompson family and concerned community members will stand together for this important community action. This call to action is in response to the failure of Arlington County Police Department to properly notify the family after the tragic loss of Tori Thompson’s life.

Stop and Rethink the Taking of 1802 Columbia Pike

Letter from NAACP Arlington Branch to Arlington County Board Chair & County Manager - May 29, 2024

NAACP Arlington Branch (the “NAACP”) demands that Arlington County immediately stop all efforts to take an elderly and disabled Black woman’s long-time family home at 1802 Columbia Pike. We further urge the County to consider alternative designs for streetscape improvements that would not require taking the home but would still accomplish the County’s safety goals.

Support for prevailing wage requirements for Arlington Career Center construction

Letter from NAACP Arlington Branch to Arlington School Board - May 9, 2024

The NAACP Arlington Branch is writing to urge you to include a prevailing wage requirement in the bid for the Arlington Career Center Project. The NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. We have a long history of advocating for economic and social justice for Black people and all people of color, including ensuring fair compensation for workers. We firmly believe that the implementation of prevailing wage requirements for the construction of the Arlington Career Center is crucial in achieving equity. Prevailing wage requirements align with the NAACP's mission to eliminate racial discrimination and secure equal rights for all people. By mandating prevailing wages, Arlington Public Schools not only upholds ethical labor standards, but will also contribute to the economic stability and well-being of workers and families who we know will be disproportionately Black and Brown. 

Statement on Revisions to Chapter 69 – Independent Policing Auditor & Community Oversight Board

Statement Release - March 16, 2024

The NAACP reiterates its call for Arlington County to produce a broader version of the ordinance governing the Independent Policing Auditor & Community Oversight Board. For months last year, our elected leaders took secretive actions to attempt to amend the Chapter 69 Ordinance. The board attempted to skirt their legal obligation to publicly advertise the proposed changes by claiming the changes were administrative in nature. Nothing could be further from the truth. The NAACP counted over 170 proposed changes with hundreds of words removed and hundreds of words added. What’s worse is that the county attempted to conceal these changes by listing changes to the ordinance on the consent agenda silencing the dozens of community voices that joined the call from the NAACP, ACLU, Arlington for Justice, and the Public Defender on producing a fair and just ordinance. Not a single member of the public had any opportunity to engage or provide any input on the 170+ changes that were made last year.

When Breonna Taylor was executed in her sleep, surprisingly the Louisville Civilian Oversight Board was not permitted to conduct their own investigation. In Minneapolis, the Civilian Oversight Board could not act on the 18 complaints that Derek Chauvin received before he murdered George Floyd. There are numerous lessons from the past and extensive national research conducted by law enforcement experts that should guide the composition of the Chapter 69 Ordinance in Arlington.

NAACP Arlington Branch supports legislation to redesignate Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Press Release - January 24, 2024

NAACP Arlington Branch strongly supports legislation to redesignate “Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial” as “Arlington House National Historic Site.” Descendants of the Branham, Custis, Gray, Henry, Lee, Norris, Parks, and Syphax families who lived enslaved and free at Arlington House Plantation are leading the effort to redesignate the site. Many of the descendent family members live in Arlington County to this day. NAACP Arlington Branch firmly stands with them to support legislation to redesignate the site. The new name will focus on a more holistic history of Arlington House and bring recognition to all who lived there.

Letter to Senator Kaine in support of redesignating Arlington House - January 24, 2024
Letter to Senator Warner in support of redesignating Arlington House - January 24, 2024
Letter to Representative Beyer in support of redesignating Arlington House - January 24, 2024

Statement Supporting Virginia House Bill 1225

January 25, 2024

Arlington's current form of government was established in 1930. It was a time when physical walls were erected to divide our community and a time when racial deed restrictions were used to keep Black people out. It is well documented that Arlington changed its form of government to weaken minority participation. Fifty years after this change, no single person of color was elected to any county office. In the nearly one hundred years that have followed since 1930, only four people of color have been elected to the Arlington County Board. “This bill is permissive in nature meaning it broadens powers available. It is a step towards eradicating the legacies of racism and discrimination that still bind our community even today,” said Michael Hemminger, President of NAACP Arlington Branch.

In the last few decades, significant efforts have been made to shift power from the Virginia General Assembly to the local jurisdictions. Unfortunately, Arlington has not benefited from those revisions like other Virginia localities have because of our form of government. Arlington has the weakest local power in the region and perhaps the entire commonwealth. This bill shifts power back to local Arlingtonians and our county board to decide what is best for our community. Additionally, NAACP Arlington Branch strongly believes the county board must be given the ability to hire staff. Conflicts of interest have arisen when Arlington County staff members charged with transparency are expected to seek accountability from those who supervise them. These positions must report to the county board, who ultimately report to the people. “For these reasons, NAACP Arlington Branch strongly supports HB1225 and we call on all of our members, allies, and partners to join us in our support for this bill,” said Hemminger.

2023 Position Papers and Public Statements

2022 Position Papers and Public Statements

Pre-2022 Position Papers and Public Statements

From previous years