I believe in Service ★ I believe in Representation ★ I believe in Arlington
Dreams Deferred No Longer In Arlington
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Growing up in a small American town where I was almost always the only brown kid in the room, the oft-quoted words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made great sense to me even as a little child:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
With time, I absorbed the deeper complexities of MLK and realized the fundamental connection between social justice and economic justice; that the time for action is always now:
“Time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”
Today in Arlington County, Virginia:
- Life expectancy for residents in the majority-Latinx neighborhood of Buckingham where I live is 10 years lower than in other parts of Arlington.
- Residents in the historically African American neighborhood of Green Valley are incarcerated at the highest rate in Arlington — 4.8 percent of people in the area are currently in jail.
- Only 3 percent of Arlington Public Schools teachers are Asian American compared to 9 percent of the student body as of the last available report.
- Arlington’s supply of rental units for moderate-income families has plummeted by ~14,000 between 2000 and 2017.
- The minimum wage in Arlington (and the rest of Virginia) remains at $7.25.
- Arlington was the only county in Northern Virginia to become less diverse as of the last census. The combined black and Hispanic population shrank 7% from 2000 to 2010 while the non-Hispanic white population grew by 16%.
These social and economic disparities and trends in Arlington shock people when I share them. I am running for an elected seat at the table of local government because I cannot wait on the current status quo. I will fight for:
- Piloting an equitable, high-service public transit system that eliminates the $1 to $2 bus fares for riders, thus filling our underutilized county buses, reducing car traffic, improving our health through better air quality, putting more money into the pockets of working-class residents, encouraging tourist visits throughout Arlington, and boosting businesses along non-metro corridors such as Columbia Pike and Lee Highway.
- Building a pipeline of police officer talent from our neighborhoods that reflects the diversity of those neighborhoods.
- Creating restorative justice programs that promote healing and diversion rather than punishment and detention.
- Adding accessible after-school and summer enrichment programs that reduce the opportunity/achievement gaps between Arlington kids rather than cutting such programs.
- Partnering with colleges and employers to connect Arlington’s underrepresented populations with the right training for the right jobs.
- Gaining delegated authority from the Virginia state government to allow Arlington County to set its own local minimum wage at $15 or higher.
- New housing and land use policies that halt declining diversity and the segregation of neighborhoods and schools by race and income.
- An Arlington Truth And Reconciliation Commission that is tasked with researching, highlighting, and resolving past wrongdoings approved explicitly or implicitly by local government.
At the end of the day, just policy and just governance is about loving one another. If we lift up the goodness of our neighbors, we lift up the goodness of ourselves. We can achieve the dream of everybody having the opportunity to reach their full potential; to voluntarily become one of many possibilities. This is the Change, Action, and Unity that I seek. Please join me in this fight. This Thursday evening is my Campaign Kickoff Party. Hope to see you there.
Candidate for Arlington County Board
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To learn more, please visit www.ChandaChoun.com
You may also follow the campaign on social media at: www.facebook.com/ChandaChounArlington
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VOTE ON JUNE 9 , 2020
CHANDA CHOUN ★ DEMOCRAT FOR ARLINGTON COUNTY BOARD
CHANDA CHOUN CURRENTLY SERVES PART-TIME IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY RESERVE. USE OF HIS MILITARY RANK, TITLES, OR PHOTOGRAPHS IN UNIFORM DO NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT BY THE ARMY OR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.