A controversy at the library level led to a heated exchanged at Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today (Tuesday) as the Board’s lone Republican pushed back against a motion to ensure the various boards and commissions consider the county’s standards of diversity.
Board of Supervisors Chair Jeff McKay started the meeting with a motion for staff to circulate the One Fairfax policy and training to all boards and commissions and that members sign acknowledgement to confirm they have received and reviewed the policy. The One Fairfax policy adopted in 2017 creates a standard of social and racial equity that the Board of Supervisors committed to considering when making decisions or developing programs and services.
Just now, the Board approved my motions to make sure our commitment to One Fairfax is extended to our Boards, Authorities and Commissions. pic.twitter.com/OvROKGY3Oc
— Jeff McKay (@JeffreyCMcKay) September 15, 2020
The fight centered around what Supervisor Pat Herrity lambasted as an attack on Phillip Rosenthal, a Fairfax County Library Board of Trustees member who faces calls for resignation from Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay and others.
At a July 29 meeting, Rosenthal decried highlighting material about Black Lives Matter and by Muslim authors, Patch first reported.
Backlash to Rosenthal’s comments was swift, but Herrity has vocally defended Rosenthal, who he appointed to the Library Board of Trustees in 2018. At the Board of Supervisors meeting, Herrity defended Rosenthal again and said the motion was a move towards silencing dissent.
“When we try to silence the other side we enter a slippery slope,” Herrity said. “To take someone out because they don’t agree with our political agenda… I think that’s a slippery slope.”
While McKay protested that the board matter wasn’t about an individual person, the text of the item did say “comments made at a recent Library Board of Trustees meeting highlight that we still have a long was to go before we truly become One Fairfax.”
“Things appointee said were hurtful,” McKay said. “I called for his resignation for a lot of reasons.”
Herrity found little support from the other members of the Board of Supervisors, receiving particular rebuke from Dranesville Supervisor John Foust.
“[Herrity] totally misstakes and mischaracterizes the statements Mr. Rosenthal has made,” Foust said. “Everything I hear about Rosenthal is that he’s a decent man who makes many contributions to our community, but his comments at the library board need to be read to understand why so many people were so hurt and why we’re being so misled by Supervisor’s Herrity comments about this.”
Foust ran through a list of Rosenthal’s controversial statements at the library board, which included calling Black Lives Matter activists Marxists and expressing frustration about a reading program aimed at supporting LGBTQ youth.
“To characterize them as Herrity does about the statement for the need for more diverse views in the catalog of books is ridiculous, outrageous, and totally misleading,” Foust said.
Supervisor Dalia Palchik, representing the Providence district, argued that while Herrity had appointed Rosenthal, what Rosenthal said and did reflects on the Board of Supervisors as a whole.
McKay’s motion was passed, with only Herrity voting against it.
Image via Fairfax County
Lake Anne Plaza will become a melting pot of culture this Saturday as the Reston Multicultural Festival kicks off on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Attendees for this free event can enjoy arts, crafts, food, entertainment, shopping and other family-friendly activities. The program is available online.
Reston Farm Market is also celebrating it’s one-year anniversary under new ownership on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the market. The celebration features a fall festival with games, moon bounces, train rides and pumpkin pies. Admission is $10 per person and admission for kids under ages two and under are free.
(Editor’s Note: This is just a limited list of all the events taking place in the Reston area this weekend. If you have an event you would like to ensure is listed on the website, be sure to submit it to our Events Calendar.)
- Enjoy free Zumba at Life Time Athletic (1757 Business Center Drive) today from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Zumba Pool Blacklight Party.
- The Herndon Homecoming Parade is on Saturday from 9:30 a.m to 2 pm. on Elden Street. This year’s theme is Big Top. Bring a chair and support the Hornets in downtown Herndon.
- On Saturday, you can also help remove what Reston Association calls an “English ivy overload” on RA’s open space by participating in the organization’s Habitat Heroes event. Volunteers will work in various areas near the Wiehle overpass from 10 a.m. to noon.
- A green screen photo booth will be on-site at Reston Regional Library from 2-4 p.m. You can take your picture by placing yourself directly in a story.
- The Northern Virginia Senior Olympics will hold a Twilight 5K on Saturday at 6 p.m. at South Lakes High School. Residents of Northern Virginia who are 50 years or older are eligible to sign up.
- On Sunday, channel the seven chakras or energy centers within your body with this mindful painting workshop at Rise Well-Being Center from 2-5 p.m.
- If you’d rather be out and about on Sunday, you can take part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Reston Town Center from 2:30-4 p.m. Registration is free and there’s no minimum fundraising requirement.
- And the annual Reston Runner tradition is back on Sunday. Participants will run from Reagan National Airport back to Reston beginning at 7 a.m.
- Lake Anne Brewhouse’s Saturday morning beer run is on at 9:45 a.m. The taproom opens at 10 a.m. for pretzels, coffee and beer.
File photo via Reston Community Center
Lake Anne Plaza is the place to be on Saturday (Sept. 22) at for the annual Reston Multicultural Festival.
The festival, which is organized by Reston Community Center, hosted by Lake Anne Plaza and cosponsored by Reston Association, aims to celebrate culture and honor diversity as one of Reston’s “greatest strengths,” according to organizers. Attendees are encouraged to wear attire representative of their cultural roots.
The event kicks off at 11 a.m. with remarks by local and state leaders, including state Sen. Janet Howell and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Cathy Hudgins. Remarks will be followed by a naturalization ceremony for the area’s newest citizens. The festival also features National Heritage Award fellows, arts and crafts activities, an “Art Mirrors Culture” 3D exhibit and family activities from around the world. The festival ends at 6 p.m. and will take place rain or shine.
Entertainment will be offered in three areas: the world stage, the global stage, and RCC Lake Anne. Other activities include a global cafe and a global market. The complete program and a map are available online.
Photo via Reston Community Center
This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.
On a recent early morning walk from my home in the South Lakes area of Reston I met a new neighbor that I learned lately moved into the area weeks ago. I would not call the new neighbor friendly; he seemed to be more disinterested in me although his family acted a bit jittery with me being around. While he may not have been interested in me, hundreds have been interested in and curious about him. A photo I took of him that I posted on social media has elicited nearly 400 reactions. I continue to use the male pronoun, but truthfully I am not sure of the neighbor’s gender.
I introduced the new member of our community on social media as being an albino deer, but I was quickly corrected. The almost white deer did not have the pink eyes, pink nose, and pinkish hooves of an albino deer. One neighbor suggested that he was probably a piebald deer. Although I grew up in rural Virginia where there is a lot of wildlife, I had never heard of a piebald deer. That sent me to the internet where I learned that contrary to popular belief, a piebald deer is not a cross between a normal whitetail deer and an albino. The origin of the word “piebald” comes from “pie” meaning “mixed up” and “bald” meaning “having a white spot.”
Piebalds have various amounts of white and brown patches similar to a pinto pony, and they have normal brown eyes and nose with black hooves like a normal whitetail deer. Their coloration is due to a rare inherited genetic defect that fortunately affects less than one percent of the white-tailed deer population because it also may result in the deer having short legs, scoliosis of the spine, internal organ deformities and other health conditions.
At the risk of turning this story into another diatribe on my part about the importance of diversity in our community and the need to welcome all, I will end with an acknowledgement that some people do not want another someone in the community who may eat their flowers. It does make me appreciate our trails and natural areas where we can see our animal neighbors. When you see our pielbald deer near Snakeden Branch Trail or wherever else in Reston, take a photo if you can and share it on my Facebook page, Kenneth R. Plum. We want him to feel welcome. You might want to call him by the name I understand Terraset Elementary students have given him: Blanca.
By the time you are reading this column I will be back in Richmond for the serious work of the legislature of passing a budget for the next biennium. The outstanding issue to be resolved is the expansion of Medicaid to nearly 400,000 Virginians who do not have health care even though taxes are being collected in Virginia to pay for the program. I support the Governor in his insistence that we approve the expansion. Thanks to all the citizens who have been calling and writing supporting the program. I will be back with details on the budget issue as soon as it is resolved.
The Reston Historic Trust and Museum will host a panel tonight exploring whether Reston is living up to founder Bob Simon’s goal of being a diverse place.
The panel of speakers will include residents who have lived in Reston for different periods of time. Panelists are Beverly Cosham, Victoria Cosham-Rivera, Omer Gorashi, Gerald Zavala and Anthony Zavala.
The event is free and will run from 7-9 p.m. at the JoAnn Rose Gallery at the Reston Community Center Lake Anne.
One of Simon’s goals was to ensure individual dignity was the focal point of all planning.
“We are interested in not only the experiences of the early pioneers, but also the experiences of those who grew up in Reston, those who came later and their children’s experiences, and the impressions and experiences of those who are the more recent members of our community,” organizers said in an Facebook event page.
Fairfax County Adopts Social and Racial Equity Policy — The county’s Board of Supervisors and the school board have instituted the policy, called One Fairfax in order to consider equity in decision-making and in the development of future policies, programs, and services. [Fairfax County Government]
Cops and Kids Coat Drive Seeks New or Gently Used Coats and Warm Clothes — Bring the items to Herndon’s station at 397 Herndon Parkway through Sunday. The drive is made possible through a partnership between the Herndon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #64 and the Loudoun-Dulles FOP Charitable Foundation Lodge #69. [Herndon Police Department]
Company in the Spotlight: Serco — The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority recently featured the Reston-based technology company Serco on its website. [Fairfax County EDA]
Police Body Cameras Coming to Fairfax County Early Next Year — Patrol officers from district stations in Mount Vernon and Mason will be equipped with the body cameras as part of a three month pilot approved by the county’s Board of Supervisors this week. [Fairfax County Police Department]