Simone: I decided to come back because I wanted to be with my family during the pandemic – I missed Falls Church. The Little City is truly unique. Although I’ve traveled and lived elsewhere, nowhere evokes the same feeling as Falls Church. We are privileged to have access to the resources of DC within a 20 minute drive still while maintaining a small-town atmosphere. A few of my favorite things about Falls Church are the civic engagement, sense of community, plethora of green space, and the downtown full of small businesses. How could I stay away?
Simone: I decided to run for City Council to bring a fresh perspective to the Council and draw attention to issues that I felt were being glossed over. If elected, I will be the first non-binary person elected in Virginia, and the second in the nation. As a non-binary Jew I know what it feels like to be ignored and unrepresented. I want to be a voice for everyone else who feels they aren’t represented in Falls Church City politics.
Everyone’s voice is equally important. I recognize the privilege I have in being able to run for local office – it is one not afforded to many who are equally as passionate about local issues. My campaign has accumulated 10 endorsements, ranging from State Delegates to local environmental groups and unions. We all agree that I am the most qualified candidate to address the systemic equity and environmental issues facing Falls Church in 2020.
Simone: Right now, my dream day would start with ordering a London Fog latte from Northside Social and walking to pick it up – wearing a mask, of course. I can’t make a London Fog easily myself at home so it’s a nice treat. And starting off my mornings with a walk helps me wake up and start my day on the right note. I’d spend the rest of my day hanging out with my family and making candles for my small business. Lately, I’ve been trying to perfect the wick-making process…a lot more chemistry goes into candle making than you’d think! We have a fire pit in my backyard, so my ideal day would end with a family bonfire and stargazing.
Post-pandemic, my dream day in the DMV would start with a walk to a local coffee shop, like Rare Bird or Cafe Kindred. Then I would hop on the metro and head to my favorite art museum, The Hirschhorn. The Hirschhorn always has visually stunning exhibits with apt socio-political commentary. After spending a few hours there, I would head back home to Falls Church to meet up with some friends. We would get dinner, probably at the Eden Center – they definitely have the best Vietnamese food on the East Coast. After that, we’d either head home or grab a couple drinks at a local bar, like Spacebar or Dogwood Tavern.
Simone: I have loved and cherished Shabbat for as long as I’ve practiced, but during the pandemic it has become even more meaningful. I run a small candle business from home. Between that, my job, and the campaign, it’s hard to check out or unplug. To some extent, I think everyone can relate. Being available and/or online 24/7 isn’t healthy, but has become an unfortunate reality for many of us.
I look forward to Shabbos every week because it is an intentional boundary that I set for myself. Once the candles are lit, I turn my phone off and allow myself time to be present and undisturbed until Saturday evening. Then I’ll pick up where I left off. I spend the day doing things that bring me joy and relaxation. This includes meditation, knitting, sewing, painting, reading Torah, singing, woodworking, and gardening. I am so thankful for the congregation where I attend Zoom services for allowing me to feel a sense of Jewish community during the pandemic, they are always the best part of my week.
Simone: So many! Politically, Bernie Sanders is very inspiring – the grassroots movement he has built is impressive, and I admire his devotion to his [Jewish] values. Religiously and philosophically, I think the answer would have to be Maimonides. I read The Guide for the Perplexed a few years ago and was instantly enamored with the connections he drew between philosophy and religion.
Simone: Costa Rica, hands-down. Not only is it a gorgeous country with universal healthcare, but their commitment to the environment is astounding. I would love to have the privilege of learning from their environmental successes firsthand, and be able to bring that knowledge back to my own community. I would also love getting to spend time in the immense biodiversity of their rainforest. I’d probably spend most of my time outside!
Simone: I want to encourage all concerned citizens, particularly young activists like myself, to run for local office. If you feel unrepresented and fed up, who better to represent the issues you and your community care about than you? Imagine how different our country would be if more young people were calling the shots. Channel that frustration and energy into a campaign, and together let’s change the world.
Simone: We solve our kvetches.
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