ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — Arlington County Board member Katie Cristol and School Board member Reid Goldstein have been accepted into the E Pluribus Unum’s first fellowship program to study the community’s racial inequities. For a year, they’ll learn from other fellows across the South and develop projects to address those inequities.

Cristol, who last served as board chair in 2018, will explore how Arlington County does or doesn’t invest in its organizations that are led by people of color. “The opportunity to bring a rigorous, data-driven way of looking at these questions back to those discussions is going to be a real benefit in making decisions, and I hope by extension for my colleagues,” she said. 

She’ll bring fellowship funding and training to offer seed grants to grassroots organizations that benefit people of color. County Board Chair Libby Garvey and Co-Chair Christian Dorsey recently launched a series of community conversations about the legacy of racism in the county. Cristol says she plans on bringing some of the “aspirations, fears, recommendations, and ideas” she hears from participating county residents back to the group of fellows. 

Former Mayor of New Orleans Mitch Landrieu presented the opportunity to board members in January. Cristol says she wanted to build “progressive futures in communities where systemic racism has shaped almost every aspect of our life,” while learning about the “Southern context” in which Arlington was developed.