Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Newsletter - June 19, 2020

Today is Juneteenth, which marks the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas finally learned that slavery had been abolished in the Confederate states, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.

"What is Juneteenth?" by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

As we celebrate Juneteenth today, let us imagine ourselves what it was like to be enslaved and reflect upon what it really means to be free. Juneteenth reminds us that knowledge itself is a key to freedom.

I'm proud of Virginia for striving to become only the second state in the nation (after Texas) to make Juneteenth an official state holiday, and I support legislation to do so. It is important to have one day out of the year when all Americans take time out to focus on our history of slavery and our incomplete recovery from its evil.

Other national holidays from Presidents' Day to Columbus Day to Independence Day are celebratory. They obscure the deeper, darker past that still tells us so much about our current day. Even Memorial Day and Veteran's Day -- though somber -- are heroic in tone. And Martin Luther King day, vital to study and honor our Civil Rights Movement, only hints at what made it necessary.

Juneteenth is both celebratory and somber, a happy day but also the only holiday in the calendar that directly confronts America original sin from our earliest days: the institution of slavery, which eventually led to the Civil War; Jim Crow; and the lingering racism, voter suppression, and police brutality of the present day.

Juneteenth reminds us we have come a long way in 155 years. But it also impels us to action, because we still have a long way to go.

Please take time some time today to reflect upon Juneteenth, what it meant to Americans in 1865 and what it means to us today.

"Juneteenth, explained" by Fabiola Cineas


Tomorrow, June 20, at 9:30am:
Alexandria City Council Public Hearing on Local Gun Ordinance

Register to speak by 5 pm today!!! 

The Alexandria City Council is meeting tomorrow at 9:30 am to take public comment and vote on an ordinance to ban firearms on city property, a move made possible by legislation passed this year that I copatroned, HB421.

This includes public buildings and city parks. You may recall several men with assault rifles drove more than two hours from Hopewell, Virginia to disrupt and terrorize our Old Town Farmers' Market last year. You may also recall one of these men came back to Alexandria earlier this year to threaten me personally, standing with a massive shotgun in an Alexandria public park just outside my kitchen window and threatening that I and other legislators should "kiss our loved ones goodbye" if we didn't back down on gun regulation.

We didn't back down. And the law I copatroned and helped draft, HB421, would make this conduct clearly illegal. In fact, it's the passage of our state law that is allowing the City to put forward this ordinance.

I encourage you to join me in speaking in favor of the ordinance, which you can read in its entirety by clicking here. The ordinance is number 19 on their docket for the meeting.

The meeting will be conducted virtually, over Zoom.

The meeting can be accessed by the public through the live broadcast on the government channel 70, streaming on the City's website, and can be accessed via Zoom by the following link:

Click Here to Register for the Meeting
Dial-in: 301-715-8592
Webinar ID: 912 9205 7858
Password: 364964

Those wishing to address Council should submit a Speakers Form by 5pm today. Submission of written statements by emailing them to the City Clerk (gloria.sitton@alexandriava.gov) is strongly encouraged.
 
All persons wishing to speak before City Council must complete a Speaker's Form
Learn more details about how to make your voice heard tomorrow by clicking here
_____
 
If you want to practice your First Amendment right to protest, do so.
But armed intimidation is something completely different.
 
You can threaten not to vote for elected officials. But you shouldn't threaten to shoot us.


Gunman outside my house.
He told everyone where I lived and urged others to come as well,
after threatening to kill lawmakers who regulated his guns.

 
Members of the Virginia Citizens' Defense League
Armed and protesting to intimidate Alexandria's City Council 
to keep Alexandria from banning their weapons in public buildings and parks.

You shouldn't have to worry about a gunman as you buy vegetables on a Saturday morning, just as I shouldn't have to worry about people who oppose my legislation trying to intimidate me into giving up my values or not advocating for my constituents. Neither should Alexandria City Council.

So, please, let the Alexandria City Council hear from you that you support their ordinance.


ARLINGTON SPECIAL ELECTION ON JULY 7

Elect Takis Karantonis to the Arlington County Board!

Arlington has a special election on Tuesday, July 7 to fill the seat vacated by the late Erik Gutshall on the Arlington County Board

I am proud to endorse the Democratic nominee, Takis Karantonis
You can learn more about Takis by clicking here.

I strongly encourage you to vote – absentee! – for Takis Karantonis for County Board. 

June 30 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot. 
I've made it easy to apply for an absentee ballot
by putting a form on my website

Click here to vote absentee.


Upcoming (Mostly Virtual) Events

(I personally participate in the events in blue.)
(If you wish to join me at any of these virtual events,
please contact the organizers or 
email us to learn how.)

Saturday, June 20
9:30 am
Alexandria City Council Hearing on Gun Ordinance

(Details above.)

Saturday, June 20
Democratic Party of Virginia State Convention

(I'm a delegate to this convention. We'll vote on DNC Members,
Electors, and delegates to the national nominating convention.)

Sunday, June 28
1:00-3:00 pm
Mark's Monthly Meetup

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81764046761
Meeting ID: 817 6404 6761
(Don't miss it! This is your chance to speak up, ask questions, and tell me what's on your mind.)

Tuesday, July 7
 ELECTION DAY
6:00 am-7:00 pm
Arlington County Board Special Election

https://vote.arlingtonva.us/
(If you live in Arlington, vote for Takis!)
Click here to get an absentee ballot.
(No election for my Alexandria or Fairfax residents.)


I thank you again for the honor and privilege of serving you.

Delegate Mark Levine
Proudly serving Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax
      in the Virginia House of Delegates