To the editor:
I want to express my thanks to the Alexandria City Council for their concern with and combating of systemic racism. In a June 11 press release the City Council “condemns police brutality and systemic racism [and] reaffirms that Black Lives Matter[.]”
Furthermore the “City Council acknowledges that the plight of Black and brown Americans is not only present in the form of police brutality, but is also entrenched in institutions such as the judicial system, the electoral process, career advancement, education, housing and the health care system.”
I also want to congratulate the people of Alexandria and the institutions that represent them for overturning the past discrimination that occurred in Alexandria. The days of slavery and slave trading are long gone; the days of Jim Crow and segregation are also long gone.
Because of its growth the great majority of Alexandria residents never experienced those past evils. The city’s growth has meant that fair housing is available to all and that the City of Alexandria is not segregated in housing or schooling.
Alexandria’s electoral board runs a model system, where everyone can register and vote without discrimination, every vote is counted and there is effectively no room for fraud. Reminders of the deplorable past have been removed or repurposed. What was once a slave pen is now a museum. What once was a street named after the head of the secessionist states has been renamed. Silently and with practically no protest, statues representing the terrible cause are gone. Churches have downgraded the memory of slave holders.
Alexandrians should be proud of the fact that their last three mayors were two Black men and a woman and that a sizable majority voted for a Black president.
They have cause for pride that there is no systemic racism in city government, including its housing, zoning, health and police departments and its courts. Alexandria long ago saw the end to entrenched discrimination in the judicial system, the electoral process, career advancement, education, housing and the health care system.
All of this was accomplished peacefully. We can be proud that there have been no riots, violence or destruction in our city.
I salute the many citizens, elected officials and city employees who have made this a reality.
-Gerald D. Chandler, Alexandria