In a mix of party and protest, people have gathered for nightly protests outside the White House for three weeks. Acting as the backdrop of the crowd is Herndon-Reston Indivisible, a community action group that aims to push back against President Donald Trump.
Clad in neon yellow shirts, group members hold brightly lit orange letters spelling out the words “treason,” “puppet” and liar. For the last 23 nights, they’ve gathered at Wiehle-Reston at 6:30 p.m. to join in the protest, called “Kremlin Annex.”
Protests began on July 16 after Trump appeared to agree with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who denied interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Kremlin Annex plans to be there as long as Trump is in office. On average, seven people from the organization join the nightly protest, according to Joanne Collins, a member of Herndon-Reston Indivisible and co-leader of the group’s elections committee.
Collins says the environment is full of energy. Earlier this week, Rosie O’Donnell, an actress and TV personality who has been vocal against Trump, stood alongside Broadway musicians for the protest.
“It’s kind of like a party. It’s led by a young guy and they have bagpipes and have even had a mariachi band,” she said. “It’s been raining a lot and we’ve attended rain and shine.”
Herndon-Reston Indivisible was formed by Heidi Zollo and Carrie Bruns following the 2016 presidential election. The organization rallies on ten issue groups, including topics like the environment, immigration and election activities.
Photos via Herndon-Reston Indivisible
It’s no surprise lemonade stands manned by elementary or middle school students pop in the area in the summer. But one lemonade stand in Reston this weekend, operated by Emaan Rawn, 7, was a little different.
The second-grade student at Al-Fatih Academy in Reston raised $505 to help separated immigrant families. The stand is part of a national effort dubbed “Kids Take a Stand,” run through the activist group Lawyer Moms of America. Funds will be used to help reunify families separated at the border following the Trump administration’s since-reversed family separation policy. Although roughly 1,400 children have been reunited with their families, others remain in government custody.
Rawn was inspired to put up a stand when she saw her mother reading a news story about families separated at the border. Wondering how she would respond and if she would be able to take care of her brother in a similar situation, Rawn explored the idea of sending children toys or video games to the children.
When her mother Mahwish Hamlani heard of the lemonade stand initiative, Rawn was excited about the idea. She set up a stand at the intersection of Autumn Crest Drive and West Ox Road on Saturday from 9-11 a.m.
Hamlani said the experience was humbling for her daughter, who is a third-generation immigrant.
“Her grandparents left their home countries amid political turmoil in pursuit of safety and stability. Her parents availed educational and career opportunities to give Emaan and her brother the financial security that they enjoy. Everyone deserves a chance at the American Dream – regardless of their religion or place of birth.”
Funds from lemonade stand sales will go to Project Corazon. Thus far, the initiative has raised more than $20,000.
Photos by Mahwish Hamlani
The United Christian Parish (11508 North Shore Drive) will host an interfaith vigil in support of the national “Families Belong Together” campaign tomorrow.
A rally is scheduled for Saturday in the District in order demand the reunification of families and the end of family separation in detention.
In Reston, organizers hope Friday’s event will “shine a light of truth and hope.” The event is open to all and is organized by United Christian Parish Reston, Unitarian Universalist Reston, Washington Plaza Baptist, Shoreshim, Unity Fairfax, ADAMS Center, MCC NOVA, and others.
“The vigil is very important as we join together to light candles of hope and resistant to unjust and inhumane policies that separate families [and] put children, immigrants, and asylum seekers into cages,” said James Dean, co-chair of UCP’s justice and peace ministry team.
“Some of us can’t march, but we can gather together as part of this interfaith vigil,” Dean said.
Organizers of the national campaign issued the following description of the event:
The Trump Administration is a threat to the lives and safety of millions of immigrant children. Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have torn babies from their mothers, run over, punched, and sexually abused children and Health and Human Services have lost track of thousands of children and youth in their custody. They are unfit to be in charge of children.
We demand that Trump’s immigration agencies stop the implementation of any policy that separates children and youth from their families and that the Administration enlist qualified social service agencies to ensure the well-being of children who are still in their custody or have gone missing.
Photo via UCP
An announcement Tuesday morning from the Trump Administration that it will be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy has elicited spirited response from Virginia’s Democratic delegation in Congress.
DACA, implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012, allows nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants living in the United States to apply for renewable two-year visas. It is available to individuals who arrived in the United States before the year 2007 who were under the age of 16 at the time of arrival and under the age of 31 at the time of implementation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning on behalf of the Administration. Afterward, both of Virginia’s senators released statements of outrage on their Twitter accounts. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says the decision is “heartless.”
Ending DACA is a heartless decision that breaks the President's promise to kids who were brought here through no fault of their own
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) September 5, 2017
Rescinding DACA forces #DREAMers back into the shadows & puts them in danger of being deported from the country they love & know as home
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) September 5, 2017
In the wake of the President’s heartless decision to end DACA, Congress must immediately pass the bipartisan DREAM Act to protect #DREAMers
— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) September 5, 2017
The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced several times in Congress in recent years. The current version was introduced in July by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). It would institute a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors (so-called “DREAMers”) in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), in his statement, said DACA is a “promise” that has allowed children of undocumented immigrants to “realize their full potential.”
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) September 5, 2017
In a statement released following Sessions’ remarks, President Donald Trump said DACA has “helped spur a humanitarian crisis — the massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.”
The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system. Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.
Trump said existing work permits will be honored until their date of expiration. He also said that applications already in the pipeline will still be processed, and so will renewal applications for those facing near-term expiration.
“This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out,” the President said. “Permits will not begin to expire for another six months, and will remain active for up to 24 months.”
In his statement on the decision to end the program, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says it is a “moral outrage” that attacks people who have been “creating jobs, serving in our military [and] teaching our children.”
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) August 31, 2017
In Richmond, Gov. Terry McAuliffe also said the decision is “an attack on the fabric of our nation [that] makes us less safe and hurts our economy.”
— Terry McAuliffe (@TerryMcAuliffe) September 5, 2017
Trump said that “enforcement priorities [will] remain unchanged, and that he has “advised the Department of Homeland Security that DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity, or are members of a gang.”
‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ — With heavy rains expected today and Saturday, the possibility of flash flooding exists. County officials are reminding residents that cars should not be driven through flooded roadways. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Police Seek Suspect in Vienna Stabbing — Fairfax County Police have been searching since Thursday morning for the suspect in a stabbing that took place near the Vienna Metro station. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect is a male of unknown race, about 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a medium build, and a light- to medium-brown complexion. He was wearing a black, hooded shirt pulled over his head. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Deadline for Cardboard Boat Registration Nears — The first Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta is coming up Aug. 12, and the last day to get a boat registered for the event is Tuesday. [Reston Museum]
New Name Coming for J.E.B. Stuart High — By 2019, the Falls Church school named after a Confederate general will have its name changed. The Fairfax County School Board voted last night to make it happen. [NBC Washington]
Connolly: Trump’s Boy Scout Speech Shameful — In a letter to the national president of the Boy Scouts of America, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) says the BSA should denounce the speech President Trump gave recently at the National Scout Jamboree. Connolly says Trump’s politicized rhetoric “directly contradicted the spirit of Scouting and the tenets of Boy Scout Law.” [The Hill]
Synthetic Soccer Field Coming to Great Falls — The $1.3 million project at Great Falls Nike Park (1089 Utterback Store Road) includes the conversion of an existing grass field to a synthetic turf field, a trail, storm drainage facilities, landscaping, field lighting and related improvements. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Hot, Hot, Hot! — Last week was sweltering, and the rest of this week may actually be worse. Weather models predict the possibility of triple-digit temperatures and heat indices as high as 110 through this weekend. [Capital Weather Gang]
Pink Fire Trucks Paying a Visit — The Pink Heals organization will visit the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax) on Friday. Pink Heals partners with the public safety, medical professionals, local businesses and community leaders to bring more support for local citizens by keeping fundraising activities local. [Fairfax Fire and Rescue]
Laughs Take Over at Lake Anne — A recent comedy night at Lake Anne Plaza’s Café Montmarte was deemed a great success. Another is being planned for September. [Reston Connection]
FCPD Officer Put on Leave After Crash — Officer Pshko Siteki did not have his emergency equipment on and was going 68 mph in a 40 mph zone prior to the February crash in Falls Church, which left a private citizen with extensive injuries from which he is still recovering. [Fairfax County Police Department]
Portion of Potomac May Shut Down for Trump — Boaters who enjoy paddling their canoes and kayaks in the Potomac River are facing a new hazard on the water: the closure of a 1.6-mile stretch of the river whenever President Trump visits his golf course in Sterling. [Washingtonian]
Photo courtesy Fairfax Fire and Rescue
Need for More Athletic Fields Broken Down — In Reston Association’s latest “Reston Today” video dispatch, land-use attorney John McBride talks about the requirement for athletic fields in Reston’s Transit Station Areas. The video shows five potential sites where they could be considered. [Reston Association/YouTube]
Transportation Authority Info Session — The public is encouraged to attend an informational meeting tonight with the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, to learn about its Draft TransAction Plan and provide comments. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). [Northern Virginia Transportation Authority]
Another Potomac River Bridge? — The idea to ease traffic in the region has been debated since the 1950s, and the North Capital Region Transportation Planning Board will consider listing the bridge project at its July 19 meeting. [WTOP]
Cancellation of FBI Replacement Decried — Fairfax County was one of three finalists for a new FBI headquarters before plans were scrapped. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay, among others, say the decision to abort the project was driven by President Trump’s conflicts of interest. [Washington Post]
Among the many actions of the new federal administration in Washington, few have drawn sharper disagreement around the world as has the unfortunate decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Only two nations of the world did not join, with the United States being the first and only to withdraw. The Agreement was difficult to reach and showed real promise to bring nations together to curtail climate change.
The response has been swift and determined among those concerned with climate change as to what can be done to stay the course on dealing with the issue. Recently, I joined with more than 550 legislators from throughout the country, including 11 from Virginia, organized by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL, ncel.net) in sending a letter to the administration indicating our opposition to withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Following is the text of that letter:
We are state legislators representing 45 states with a total population of over 298 million United States citizens and we stand united in opposition to the president’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement.
We are committed to continuing the United States’ leadership in working toward a clean energy economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Now more than ever, in the wake of this short-sighted decision by the Federal Administration, it is important that state and local governments come together to strengthen our resolve to meet our regional goals to reduce carbon pollution and our national goals to achieve the reductions agreed to in Paris in 2015.
We stand with the 292 United States mayors representing more than 60 million Americans, the governors of 12 states with a total population of over 102 million, and 194 countries committed to upholding the ambitious goals adopted in the Paris Agreement. At the same time, we explicitly refuse to stand with President Donald Trump in his repudiation of the agreement.
Climate change is not a conspiracy, a hoax, or a partisan cause. Climate change will not affect just a few low-lying countries and the polar regions. Climate change is real and caused by human activity. People around the world and here in our own country, in our own states, in our own communities have already experienced the impacts and will see significantly increased impacts in the coming decades.
As state legislators, we declare our commitment to work with our legislative colleagues, our governors, and our constituents to ensure that we continue this country’s leadership role to build a 21st Century clean energy economy and that we meet or exceed all of the deliverables in the Paris Agreement. To this end, we will reach out across local, state, and federal borders to work together for our future. These ties will strengthen our economy as we build upon American ingenuity, entrepreneurship, productivity, and scientific and technological know-how to reduce carbon pollution while producing the next generation of clean transportation, clean power and energy-efficient devices and strategies.
With or without the president’s leadership, our country must continue to lead the fight for climate action. Working together across multiple states, we will ensure our great nation does not go backward and meets or exceeds the Paris Agreement.
If you decide to write a letter as well, please feel free to borrow any or all of the text of this letter.
That’s according to his own personal cover of Time magazine, which the U.S. congressman’s staff created in response to President Donald Trump’s current scandal.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a slew of fake Time magazine covers featuring the president’s image hang in his golf courses. In response, Connolly tweeted out what may be the most noteworthy reaction yet.
— Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) June 27, 2017
Featuring a full headshot similar to the faux Trump cover, Connolly sprinkled the photo with headlines written in Trump’s linguistic style, such as “FITARA is a legislative smash!” (FITARA is a reform bill for federal information technology).
Jamie Smith, Connolly’s communications director, said that all credit for the tweet goes to the congressman.
“He saw the reports of Trump’s fake Time cover and thought this could be a fun way to highlight the absurdity of it,” Smith said. “We never expected it to go this viral. I guess we will have to hang our cover in our four offices.”
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the post had more than 5,200 retweets and 19,000 likes, with hundreds of replies and notable comments.
Omg just noticed the headlines. Congressman, your social media person deserves a raise.
— Sarah Mimms (@SarahMMimms) June 27, 2017
I never realized we had such a celebrity in the @OversightDems!
— Raja Krishnamoorthi (@CongressmanRaja) June 27, 2017
We have a winner. No more submissions today. The Internet is now closed.
— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) June 27, 2017
“The response has been incredibly positive,” added Smith, but there were a few left unimpressed.
Yawn. Nobody cares. Not even your constituents.
— The Mad Moderate (@MadMadModerate) June 28, 2017
U Need2 Stop Your Fake News Agenda!U will Need 2Apologize as CNN FallOut 4Lies!Try Work Instead of Attacking
— Sarah (@deltaweese) June 28, 2017
So, what do you think?
Reston Rider Tackling Country by Bike — Len Forkas talks about the perils of riding cross-country on a bicycle in 11 days, and about why he’s doing it again: to help raise $1 million for a children’s charity during the annual Race Across America event. [Bicycling]
Reminder: Community Center Pool Closed — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center is closed through Friday as soil testing is conducted around the pool. [Reston Community Center]
SLHS Team Finishes Fifth in State — Freshman Hannah Waller finished third in the 100 meters and fourth in both the 200 meters and 4×400 meter relay in leading the South Lakes High School girls team to a fifth place finish at the state track and field championship June 2-3. [Press Release]
Virginia Leaders Continue Climate-Change Fight — In reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, both Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday said Virginia is joining coalitions that remain committed to the agreement. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Lieutenant Governor in Reston Tonight — Ralph Northam, Virginia’s lieutenant governor and a Democratic candidate for governor in the 2017 election, will be a guest speaker tonight at a meeting of Herndon-Reston Indivisible. Other speakers will be Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) and Del. Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax/Loudoun). The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills Montessori School (11180 Ridge Heights Road). [Herndon-Reston Indivisible]
Bulova: ‘Painful Cuts’ in Proposed Federal Budget — The chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors says she is hopeful the local congressional delegation will address what she sees as a number of problems with the Trump administration’s budget proposal, unveiled last week. [Sharon Bulova/Facebook]
Arrests Made in Chantilly Gun Store Heist — Two 23-year-old men and a 19-year-old man have been arrested in connection with the theft of 35 guns from a Chantilly store earlier this month. The men are also charged in the theft of firearms from two shops in Fredericksburg. They each face up to 10 years in prison. [U.S. Department of Justice]
Digital Marketing Agency Opens New Office — Baltimore-based Jellyfish has opened a new office at RTC West (12120 Sunset Hills Road). The office will house more than 20 employees and serves as the development and technology hub for the agency. Five job openings are available. [Jellyfish]
A number of restaurants and other businesses across D.C. and the nation are closed or operating on restrictions today as part of the “Day Without Immigrants.” The protest is part of an effort to show the impact immigrants have on daily lives of Americans, and was spawned out of President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies.
At least two Reston restaurants are showing their support. Sweetgreen (11935 Democracy Drive) is closed for the day, as are all of the company’s 18 locations in the Metro area.
“Our diversity is what makes this family great, and we respect our team members’ right to exercise their voice in our democracy,” reads signs posted on the restaurant’s doors Thursday. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and hope you understand our commitment to our people.”
Meanwhile, PassionFish (11960 Democracy Drive) says its menu options may be limited Thursday as part of the protest.
Due to today’s observance of #ADayWIthoutImmigrants, some of our menu items are limited & seating may be modified. Thanks for your suppport!
— PassionFish Reston (@PassionFishRest) February 16, 2017
A representative for PassionFish owner Passion Food Hospitality said the Reston restaurant is “not particularly affected” and “most staff” would be working Thursday.
“[Management is] supportive of their staff on whichever decision they choose,” said spokesperson Meg Malloy.
Trump Wine Flying Out the Door — As grocery chain Wegmans faces scrutiny for selling Trump Winery products, wine stores around D.C. are reporting booming sales. In Reston, The Wine Cabinet (1416 North Point Village Center) says they’ve sold more than 10 cases since Election Day — and they could have sold more, co-owner Mike Mackie said, if they hadn’t run out. [The Hill]
Area Couple on the Road Performing Show — Sam and Susan Simon are presenting “The Actual Dance,” the true story of their journey through Susan’s breast cancer diagnosis, this weekend in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Susan Simon is the former marketing director at Tall Oaks of Reston. [Elmira Star-Gazette]
ArtSpace Herndon Kicks Off Concert Series — Guitarist-songwriter Parthenon Huxley played with indie rocker and violinist Ben Hoyt as Herndon’s arts district began its 2017 concert series last weekend. In addition to original music, the performers played love songs from ELO and the Beatles. [Reston Connection]
About two dozen employees of Comcast’s offices at Reston Town Center took to the streets Thursday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration. The rally was one of a number nationwide by the telecommunications company’s Technology and Product team.
Holly Bazemore, the company’s director of elastic cloud strategy and deployments, was part of the rally Thursday at the corner of New Dominion Parkway and Reston Parkway. She said shutting the nation off from immigrants would have a devastating effect on companies like Comcast.
“Diversity is what makes innovation, and innovation is what makes great products,” she said. “We’re here to say that our products wouldn’t be as wonderful without our diverse teams — we can’t [be diverse] with this immigration ban.”
Bazemore said simultaneous rallies took place outside Comcast offices in New York, Washington, Denver and the Silicon Valley, as well as at the company’s corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.
Employees of Comcast in Philadelphia are walking out in protest against trumps immigration order. pic.twitter.com/hk69WdH088
— Bianca Portillo (@BiancaAmarilis) February 2, 2017
— Tajha C-L (@TajhaLanier) February 2, 2017
The employees were protesting personally, Bazemore said, not on behalf of Comcast; however, she added, the company allocated time to any workers who wished to participate in the hourlong rally.
Comcast spokesman John Demming responded to technology news website Technical.ly about the rallies:
“We understand that some of our employees are concerned and we respect their desire to express their opinions. Our primary focus is to make sure that all of our employees feel safe in their jobs, including while traveling.”
The rallying employees in Reston on Thursday received a lot of feedback, positive and negative, from passing motorists as they chanted and raised their signs, but they remained undeterred.
“We are all together for the same cause, all over the country,” said Dwarkesh Marakna, a DevOps engineer at the Reston office.
Amid a political climate growing more divided by the day, a local group looking to stand up for what they believe is reporting big growth.
According to information provided by Herndon-Reston Indivisible, about 300 people attended a meeting the group held Thursday night at Sunset Hills Montessori. Eileen Minarik, the school’s founder and owner, offered up the space.
“People are not just coming to meetings — they’re doing things,” Minarik said. “It’s been really gratifying to see the number of people who are out here, not to be anti-someone, but to be pro-social justice.”
The group is following the suggestions of the Indivisible Guide, developed by former congressional staffers as “a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda.” Hundreds of such groups have formed across the nation, including more than 150 within a 100-mile radius of Reston.
Members of the group participated in the Women’s March on Washington earlier this month, as well as in a protest Sunday outside the White House. Now, as protests regarding President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration continue at nearby Washington Dulles International Airport, members of the group’s base have taken part.
The executive order has prompted outrage from a number of the area’s representatives on Capitol Hill, including Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who addressed protesters at the airport this weekend.
The Herndon-Reston group is also asking members to call Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Democratic Virginia Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner to urge them to “publicly oppose and filibuster” any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court.
In the 2016 General Election, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton took about two-thirds of the vote in Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, which includes Herndon and Reston.
Minarik said Herndon-Reston Indivisible’s meeting last week was its second, and the turnout was about twice as large as for the first. The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills Montessori (11180 Ridge Heights Road).
Photo via Herndon-Reston Indivisible