The following was written by Janelle Brevard, who serves on the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors, as part of our Board Perspective blog series.
My husband and I are Loudoun County transplants. So, when we moved into our Aldie home a few years ago I was heavily influenced by my childhood growing up in the Deep South where my earliest memory of community was our first evening in our new home when my father and older brother sat watch all night, protecting us from a planned Ku Klux Klan visit to protest our move.
For us, Loudoun County represented planting roots firmly in a growing community making serious efforts at acceptance and engagement, whether with those who may not look the same or come from the same socioeconomic status. Loudoun County, for us, represented an area that was in it together, and the current COVID-19 pandemic serves as a stark reminder why we all need each other now more than ever.
As we mourn the loss of lives from this disease and pray for the recovery of those afflicted, we are reminded of the toll it has taken on countless Loudoun County families. The Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties has launched a Community Emergency Relief Fund as a way for the entire community to come together and get resources to those who need it most. Some of the funding allocations so far have included:
• Direct monetary assistance to Loudoun County residents impacted financially by the COVID-19 crisis
• Financial assistance to those underemployed or unemployed individuals
Further troubling, experts have warned that this pandemic will only widen the inequities scores of Loudoun County nonprofits have spent years trying to address, such as poverty and the lack of access to quality healthcare and affordable housing. And that’s why it’s imperative that we all come together, support the Community Emergency Relief Fund, and when it’s deemed safe, roll up our sleeves and continue the work of improving and building healthy, viable neighborhoods throughout Loudoun County.
These days, in the midst of such unsettling times, I find hope and comfort often when least expected. Recently, one of my neighbors suggested in an online chat that we all allow our children to flicker our lights each evening, just as the day turns to dusk. It would serve as a silent communication she said, one home to another.
I admittedly thought this was a bit silly at first. But a few days in, I sat and watched as my three children were crouched in a corner, excitedly flickering our lights on and off. Around them were homes representing families of various cultures, many of whom came to Loudoun seeking the same as things as us. And as light after light quietly flickered and dusk turned to dark, it was as if the lights shined bright with an unspoken yet common language among us all: Community. Compassion. Grace. One home after another, neighborhood by neighborhood, we are one Loudoun, in this together.
To donate to the Community Emergency Relief Fund, visit: communityfoundationlf.org/emergencyrelief