Legislation

One Fairfax

Headquarters:

12000 Government Center Parkway

Location:

Faixfax, Virginia

Type:

Policy of Fairfax County

Established:

2017

One Fairfax is a critical race theory-aligned policy of the Fairfax County, Virginia, municipal government. [1] Legislation adopted in 2017 by the board of supervisors requires that the board of supervisors and school board “consider equity in decision-making and in the development and delivery of future policies, programs, and services.” [2] [3]

Background

In 2009, citing concerns regarding persistent “disproportionate minority contact” with the juvenile justice system in Fairfax, the Fairfax County municipal government commissioned the Center for the Study of Social Policy, a left-of-center public policy advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., to conduct an institutional analysis. It concluded that the concern in question did not rest particularly with any one county agency or set of political actors, and that, therefore, any policy solution to the problem could not be the prerogative of any given agency. [4]

To address these and related concerns, Verdia Haywood, then serving as deputy county executive for human services, convened a community initiative, “Together We’re the Answer.” However, given Haywood’s impending retirement in 2010, Karen Shaban, a strategic project manager in Fairfax County, in an effort to continue the work of the initiative and broaden its scope to encompass concerns with the whole juvenile justice system in Fairfax, founded the Disproportionality and Disparity Prevention and Elimination Team in 2010. [5]

This team, co-led by Shaban and Marlon Murphy, the director of shelter care in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, aimed to educate representatives from government agencies in Fairfax about critical race theory-aligned notions. Meanwhile, the Center for the Study of Social Policy conducted its commissioned institutional analysis, which reviewed the juvenile case files of 70 youths and conducted interviews with eight youths, their families, and service and education staff who worked with them in the past. [6]

After the publication of this analysis, a contingent from Fairfax County including Shaban and Murphy, as well as Karla Bruce, Fairfax County’s Chief Equity Officer, attended a weekend conference hosted by the Government Alliance on Racial Equity. At that conference, this contingent came up with the idea that their concerns could be addressed by way of a resolution or policy. [7]

According to a retrospective report about the One Fairfax’s policy inception published by the Center for the Study of Social Policy, these individuals and other advocates of such a prospective resolution or policy were given “an unlikely helping hand” from the 2008 economic crash, which the municipality was then recovering from. “The crash created an opportunity: those concerned with Fairfax’s economic success were finally ready to hear that disparities in outcomes would continue to lead to under-utilization of resources and productivity, with negative economic impact.” Consequently, in 2015, the Fairfax County Economic Success Strategic Plan of 2015 featured “social equity” as one of its goals. [8]

In July 2016, after a series of committee meetings led by the advocates a prospective critical race theory-aligned policy or resolution to address concerns over “disproportionate minority contact” with the juvenile justice system in Fairfax, the county passed the “One Fairfax Resolution,” which affirmed, among other things, the county’s “commitment to racial and social equity.” [9]

Before the proposal of a policy, which would mandate this commitment, Francisco Duran, the chief equity officer of the Fairfax school district, and Pat Harrison, the former deputy county executive for human services, organized “two by two” meetings, in which each county supervisor met with a counterpart on the School Board. [10]

Legislation

On November 21, 2017, Fairfax County passed the One Fairfax Policy, which requires that the board of supervisors and school board “consider equity in decision-making and in the development and delivery of future policies, programs, and services.” Additionally, the text of the policy includes a framework for its implementation, which features suggested “training” and “capacity building” sessions, “equity tools,” “racial and social equity planning,” and “an accountability framework.” [11] [12]

References

  1. “One Fairfax.” Fairfax County. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/one-fairfax ^
  2. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  3. “One Fairfax Policy.” Fairfax County. November 21, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/sites/topics/files/assets/documents/pdf/one-fairfax-policy.pdf ^
  4. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  5. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  6.  McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  7. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023.  https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  8. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023.  https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  9. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023.  https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  10. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023.

    https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^

  11. McCarthy, Kyle. “One Fairfax: A Brief History of a County-Wide Plan to Advance Equity and Opportunity.” The Center for the Study of Social Policy. December 2018. Accessed January 9, 2023.  https://cssp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/One-Fairfax-FINAL.pdf ^
  12. “One Fairfax Policy.” Fairfax County. November 21, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2023. https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/sites/topics/files/assets/documents/pdf/one-fairfax-policy.pdf ^
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