On July 12, 2016, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a One Fairfax resolution to achieve “racial and social equity” and “direct the development of a racial and social equity policy for adoption.” The Board of Supervisor adopted the final One Fairfax Policy on November 20, 2017.
The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) issued a history of the One Fairfax policy that is available on the Fairfax County government web site and the CSSP web site. A review of the CSSP document shows that One Fairfax was conceived, developed, and adopted without any meaningful effort at seeking the input or approval of the people of Fairfax County.
The chronology and quotes in this essay are from the CSSP document, “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity,” December 2018.
In 2009, Fairfax County government commissioned CSSP to analyze the Fairfax County juvenile justice system. The CSSP analysis concluded that problems with the juvenile justice system were contributed to by “structural and institutional factors across County agencies and institutions.”
In 2010, the Disproportionality and Disparity Prevention and Elimination Team (DDPET) was founded to “educate representatives from various government agencies about institutional/structural racism, and then help them pass on their findings to their peers.” DDPET conducted monthly meetings, moderated by a CSSP representative, with “targeted leaders from the school system and county agencies.” The meetings aimed at “getting conceptual buy-in — and a collective commitment to better understand and address the institutional contributors to racial inequity.”
Members of Fairfax County government attended a 2014 “Governing for Racial Equity Conference” hosted by the Pacific Northwest Governing for Racial Equity Network. At that conference, the Government Alliance on Race Equity (GARE) gave the Fairfax County government “templates of what other municipalities had done” in “grappling with how to confront inequity.” The Fairfax County government attendees collaborated with GARE to “make the transition from focusing on ‘disproportionality,’ a concept and language that could be politically difficult, to a focus on equity and opportunity.” (Italics added.)
After the GARE Conference, the attending Fairfax County government members decided “the next step [was] to boldly reimagine equity and opportunity in the context of the local landscape,” and “the vision and power of becoming One Fairfax emerged.”
“In July 2016, following a series of committee meetings (joint, as well as among each respective board along with work behind the scenes) sparked by the building blocks paving the pathway forward, the One Fairfax Resolution passed.” In November 2017, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors passed the final One Fairfax policy.
It is amazing and disturbing: A group of people in Fairfax County government, working with individuals and groups outside Fairfax County conceived of, developed, coordinated, and worked toward the adoption of the One Fairfax policy over a period of several years without ever bothering to tell the people of Fairfax County what they were doing, and without bothering to ask the people of Fairfax County whether they thought it was a good idea or agreed with the effort.
Perhaps the people who brought us One Fairfax think the people of Fairfax County are too prejudiced, too stupid, and too unenlightened to be informed, consulted, and actively engaged. Perhaps they think the people of Fairfax County are not fit to participate in the formulation and making of decisions aimed at fundamentally transforming their community and their lives. Perhaps they think that they are entitled to contrive a sweeping far-reaching policy change without consulting with the people of Fairfax County — whom they are supposed to serve, not rule over as mere subjects. Perhaps they do not care enough to respect the Virginia Constitution, Article I, Section 2: “People the source of power. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people, that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.”
One thing is clear: One Fairfax is not the product of representative democracy or the will of the people of Fairfax County. One Fairfax is the product of arrogant, elitist people who think they have the wisdom of philosopher kings and need not deign to consult with, or gain the consent of, the people whose communities and lives they seek to transform.
Emilio Jaksetic, a retired lawyer, is a Republican in Fairfax County.There are currently no comments highlighted.