On Second Chances
By Amy Jackson
Alexandria, VA – As we ring in 2023, we bid farewell to another difficult year for many. Re-entry into an almost post-Covid society with in-person social interactions, whether personal, work, or school-related, was laced with anxiety for some in our community as we adapt to a new normal and continue to recover from the pandemic and the crisis on economic and educational fronts.
As we work together as a community to support the many levels of our community, we look to create and streamline a network of much-needed equal, equitable resources for our individuals, families, and businesses and be intentional in providing restorative practices that will contribute to the overall success of our citizens and our city as a whole.
When my children were a bit younger, I read them the book What Would You Do With A Chance? The title alone engages the reader, and the story probes the continual question as it tells the story of a child’s fear of failure, fear of mistakes, but all the while hoping she will master her fear, correct mistakes, be successful, and create the confidence to move forward to the next opportunity given to start over.
With the new year, we often ask ourselves, “What can we improve?, What changes can be made?, What can we do better?” or “What can we try to do that we have never done?” Known as New Year’s Resolutions, the opportunities we seek are available year-round, even daily, not just once a year.
With this in mind, it is essential to continually reflect upon the values on which Alexandria prides itself. As we seek the betterment of all and wish to give opportunities to all, we also extend that inclusiveness to our community members who have made non-life-threatening mistakes in their past or been charged with crimes because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
With coordination among several City departments, community organizations, elected officials, and advocacy groups, a partnership has been created to offer an expungement clinic for those seeking to have prior offenses eliminated from their record on Saturday, March 25, 2023. Many thanks to the Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter, in conjunction with the Alexandria Bar Association and President Colleen Haddow, for assisting in training ABA members to assist with this clinic, as well as Clerk of Circuit Court Greg Parks, his office, and Sheriff Sean Casey and the Alexandria Sheriff’s Department for their role in assisting our public with this restorative justice. We are also grateful for the many community partners in this city-sponsored event, including the West End Business Association (WEBA), Mark Center Hilton, and the League of Women Voters.
I am proud of our city and its high expectations of its citizens, but also because it continually seeks out how we can help those that need it most and offers that chance to rectify mistakes and create a basis for a successful future.
If you are interested in finding out more about the City of Alexandria’s expungement clinic being held in late March, please look for more information on the City’s website in mid-February or the Alexandria Bar Association coordinator at [email protected].
Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, a career educator, is currently serving her second term on the Alexandria City Council. Raised in Alexandria, she is the first ACHS (TCW) “Lady Titan” to hold a seat as an Alexandria City Councilwoman and now as Vice Mayor. She currently lives in the West End with her husband and two children, who attend Alexandria City Public Schools.
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