We had some pretty cute canvassers out with us today for our second day of Get Out the Vote in Manassas! Over this whole weekend VOICE has knocked on over 1,200 doors, talked to 338 voters and made over 200 vote plans to make sure every voice is heard in this year’s critical election!
On Wednesday night nine VOICE leaders from Alexandria braved the cold to attend the city Planning Commission first public hearing on Zoning for Housing. The room was packed with both allies and those opposing the new inclusive zoning proposals. Over 20 speakers spoke up in favor of passing the city’s recommendations for inclusive housing. Among those were VOICE’s own Rev. Jo Belser from Resurrection Episcopal Church, Rev. Blair Moorhead from Fairlington Presbyterian Church, and Marcia Trick from UUCA. We spoke in favor of the commission approving the inclusive zoning recommendations that would increase opportunities for affordable housing, and open up overall supply by effectively eliminating single family or single unit exclusive neighborhoods and instead allowing 2-4 units of housing on the same footprint. VOICE speakers emphasized the need to pair passage of Zoning for Housing with increased tenant protections and investment in affordable housing for people making under 50% AMI. Close to midnight, the Alexandria Planning Commission finally voted to pass all recommendations before them. VOICE and our allies now move on to City Council who have their hearings November 14 and 18th, prior to their final vote November 28 – Sign up to show you’ll be there on our events page!
We celebrate this first victory on the step to being more loving of neighbors in Alexandria! As Rev. Moorhead said, “Zoning for Housing and Housing for All seek to keep and make Alexandria home to more neighbors, and diverse neighbors. It’s our chance to say yes to neighbors and no to the racist history of segregating white and black families apart, and rich and poor families, no to the reasons we established exclusionary zoning in Alexandria to begin with. It’s our chance to say yes to neighbors and yes to inclusive zoning, yes to the possibility of affordable housing, and yes to this step on the path of what Alexandria can be.”
From October 6-8th, over the holiday weekend, 13 VOICE leaders from across our jurisdictions joined a cohort of over 65 trainees from across the country for the School of Power advanced leadership training. This training was organized through the New Organizing Alliance, a group of seven other organizations like us across six different states. Over these three days leaders spent time imagining the world as they would wish it to be, getting trained on the fundamentals of power-building and working within a broad-based organization, practicing relational meetings, and sharing their passions, joys, and challenges with leaders from all over the country working to create needed change in their communities.