Arlington County Board Member Katie Cristol has been named one of 14 Southern elected leaders who will form the inaugural class of E Pluribus Unum (UNUM) fellows. The program is designed to equip Southern leaders with resources that advance racial and economic equity within their communities.
Over the next year, the cohort will address inequitable and discriminatory policies and practices within their communities. The program comes with a commitment of up to $75,000 to support the implementation of an equity-focused project led by the fellow.
Founded by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu in 2018, UNUM is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to build a more just, equitable, and inclusive South, uprooting the barriers that have long divided the region by race and class.
“Elected leaders play a crucial role in setting the tone for communities on discussions of racial and economic equity because of their ability to change inequitable and discriminatory policies and practices,” said Landrieu. “Just a few years ago, I was in a very similar position as Arlington County Board Member Cristol. I know what’s at stake, and I know how important it is to have support and access to resources, experts, and tools. That’s where EPU comes in—we designed a program that creates the space for Ms. Cristol and other local elected leaders to better realize their power to make lasting change, and leverage the invaluable support of peers, expert advisors, and community partners to do so.”
“Arlington’s difficult, important conversations on racial injustice in recent months have shined a light on the ways in which systemic racism continues to shape our lives,” Cristol said. “As my colleagues and I embark, along with Arlingtonians and County staff, to confront and change inequity in our government and community, I am grateful to have the support of the UNUM Fellows program and to work in partnership with this cohort of local leaders.”
Fellows will leave the program equipped to:
- Foster meaningful participation among key community partners and leaders to drive the advancement of equity goals and projects;
- Advance initiatives—beginning with their Fellowship project—that address racial and economic disparities in communities;
- Cultivate long-term visions for equity within their communities that outlive any single term or administration;
- Talk about racial and economic equity in ways that advance discourse, with a common language and understanding; and
- Act with urgency with the support of a strong peer network and community.
About Katie Cristol
Katie Cristol has served as a member of the Arlington County Board since 2015 and served as Chair in 2018. Regionally, Cristol represents Arlington as the Chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission. she also is the Immediate Past Chair of the Operations Board of The Virginia Railway Express. Cristol represents Arlington on the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and serves on the Human Services Policy Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Cristol has been an advocate for women’s issues for more than a decade, and was appointed to the Arlington Commission on the Status of Women by the County Board in 2012, where she supported the Commission’s efforts to garner attention for women’s professional advancement, childcare affordability, and to recognize the achievements of women in the community.
To learn more about UNUM Fellows, visit www.unumfund.org/fellows.
To learn more about UNUM, visit www.unumfund.org.