PARTICIPANTS, PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK WITH US The Alexandria People's Assembly is building community and empowering advocacy that elevates the systemic racial justice and mental health that is making life better for our children and families. The ongoing work of the Alexandria People's Assembly is a specific, local, Black-led, community-based solution.
On behalf of the board of directors, our parent advocates, and youth leaders, thank you for joining us for the Affordable Housing Advocacy: Stories of Structural Oppression, Black Resilience, and People Power
This three-hour Alexandria Film Festival showcase was curated by the PLTI Alexandria People's Assembly to explores the hidden history behind the evolution of Alexandria's affordable housing crisis, and how structural oppression targeted at African Americans now impacts the entire community.
Here are a few things we invite you to bring with you into this moment: We want you to keep the Year 1939 in mind as you invite your elders, ancestors to join you. What do you know about where and how your elders and ancestors lived in 1939? For context, during 1939 -- United States is in the midst of the Great Depression. Hitler invades Poland, leading to World War II Lou Gehrig gives his "Farewell to Baseball" speech at Yankee Stadium The Wizard of Oz premieres Paul Robeson's performances at Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm spontaneously turn into anti-Nazi demonstrations. Marian Anderson performs before 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial, after having been denied the use both of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and of a public high school by the federally controlled DC Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", the first anti-lynching song, in the United States.
1939 was the year -- Mavis Staples was born, and Paul Winfield, Claudette Colvin, Toni Cade Bambara, Marvin Gaye, and John Amos, famous for his roles as James Evans the father on Good Times. the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) was established. Attorney Samuel Wilbert Tucker led the Queen Street Alexandria Library Sit-In on August 21, 1939.
What do you know about your elders and ancestors housing in 1939? How did their living conditions resemble your housing conditions now?
Housing and Other Structural Impacts on Health and Wellness The Northern Virginia Health Foundation released an updated report in June 2023 called Dying Too Soon, which found Black/African residents in Northern Virginia are 44% more likely to die before age 75 than white residents. Black people in Alexandria are 117% more likely to die before age 75 than their white neighbors. This report also maps Fifteen "Islands of Disadvantage" across Northern Virginia. Seven of the 15 “Islands” are in Alexandria City proper or the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. Woodbridge, one community where native Black Alexandrians settled after being displaced, sits in another “Island.”
The Films Our PLTI Alexandria People’s Assembly Showcase includes: (click the poster to watch the movie or film trailer)
Takeaways Now that we know better, we are responsible for doing better for ourselves. Take what you have learned here as a charge for you to advocate for 3 things that will make life better for you and your own family: 1. Self-determination for African American people in Alexandria, 2. Ownership for African American people in Alexandria and 3. A thriving community of African American people across the City.
The Alexandria People's Assembly is building community and empowering civic advocacy that elevates the systemic racial justice and mental health that makes life better for our children and families. Please be on the lookout for upcoming community education and mental health events. Our next event will be our Community Kwanzaa Celebration and Sound Bath Series.
History of the Photograph on the Showcase Flyer: Charles William Gray and Lillian Curry-Gray are photographed in November 1927 at 1021 Oronoco Street, the Alexandria, VA home and funeral business they lost in 1938.* If you look close, you can see Mrs. Miller standing across the street in the doorway of her home and preschool. Her early childhood development prepared students for school at an advanced level.
"The Fort" - Snapshots of an African American Neighborhood
The Alexandria People's Assembly was intentional to highlight images portraying a variety of African American housing circumstances to include the concepts of African American ownership, self-determination, and thriving communities in the conversation of affordable housing. Images and captions of The Fort provided by Mrs. Arminta Wood
Please don't forget to share your feedback with us here