Upcoming Screening of Elementary Genocide 2

Please join I Vote For Me for their upcoming screening of Elementary Genocide 2: The Board of Education vs. The Board of Incarceration. This film addresses the School-to-Prison Pipeline, a system of referring students to law enforcement that has had a profoundly negative impact on youth in Virginia, which has the highest rate of referrals in the nation. The film director Rahiem Shabazzwill be present to provide commentary and answer questions following the film.

Friday, October 27th at 6pm
Virginia Union's Wall Auditorium
Free and open to the public! 


Join activists in demanding solutions that will work

As we gear up for our November 12th event on Transportation, we note that Richmond residents are currently immersed in a struggle that touches on issues central to the work of our film series: housing, public safety, and transportation. 

On Sept 12th City leaders held a meeting to address increased violence in Richmond’s public housing. While the topic of this meeting was public safety, the public was not invited. While the community discussed was residents of public housing, those residents have not been included in generating solutions. Despite the city’s attempt to disenfranchise those who most need to be at the table, members of our team were present and demanded a voice. You can see footage of that meeting here.

While residents of public housing in Richmond are not only disproportionately impacted by violence, but also by low access to viable transportation, the proposed solutions of our city government are to further imperil the access of RRHA residents to what transportation they currently have. Richmond city mayor Levar Stoney, along with our police chief Alfred Durham, have proposed to address violence in public housing through the implementation of a parking decal system. 

The Community Justice Film Series has a large planning team, and an even larger community of individuals across the city who care about education, safety, housing, transportation, health, and wealth-building. We come together as a community during our free time because we are engaged, inspired, and knowledgable. We know what works, and we expect just treatment from our public officials. 

Parking decals will have no impact on gun violence in our neighborhoods. It will, however, mean increased revenue for towing companies and increased costs for already financially-strapped individuals and families. The choice to implement this program was made without input from the community and without regard for outcomes. 

Across Richmond, residents are organizing against this directive, speaking out against further economic disenfranchisement of our poorest residents and speaking in favor of the solutions we know will work: just treatment in our schools, from our police, in our homes, in our access to transportation, with regard to our health, and in our ability to access living-wage jobs. 

Please join us at the upcoming RRHA meeting on October 18th, at 901 Chamberlayne Parkway at 5:30pm. Support your community and make your voice heard. 

“Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.” -- Malcolm X

by Kristin Reed

In his “Message to the Grassroots,” El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (writing then as Malcolm X) argues that land is the first and most fundamental tenant of freedom. He makes a compelling case that this is a global truth, and the foundation for three centuries of major revolutions. His message to the grassroots is as relevant today as it was in 1963. Indigenous communities continue to fight for land access eroded by centuries of colonial advancement and treaty violations. Rural communities relaunch old fights for land rights anew as fracking expands across the American landscape. Throughout the nation economic and racialized disenfranchisement forces the question again in the form of housing. As in the nation, so it is in Richmond.

The last two decades have made Richmond a very different city, with rapidly changing demographics along lines of race and household income. While many agree Richmond is in need of development, we must carefully consider the ethical questions that underpin this endeavor: who should benefit from development, and who decides? Our current model of development does not favor a people-centered approach to wealth-building. Rather, we see a pattern of economic displacement that follows directly from Richmond’s history of racialized disenfranchisement.

Housing accessibility in Richmond today is in crisis. Affordable Housing is no longer accessible within range of available jobs. Public Housing faces an overhaul without clear participatory engagement from residents. In an economic system that so tightly ties geography to life outcomes, equitable housing access is, as the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute recognizes, “a critical element in our nation’s opportunity structure.” Meaningful housing access has the capacity to generate access to all of the target subjects of this film series: education, food, public safety, and wealth building. As our communities are dispersed through housing reduction, so too is their ability to self-organized impaired.

We invite you to join with a community of people concerned about housing access in Richmond for film, discussion, and solution-oriented planning. Join us at The University of Richmond Downtown on August 17th from 6:00pm to 8:30pm. The gathering is free, family-friendly, and part of an ongoing effort to bring Richmonders together in support of more equitable personal and economic advancement for all.

Join us!

Safe, stable housing is out of reach for too many in RVA

RTD Op-Ed by Adrienne Cole Johnson, Heather Crislip, Lillie A. Estes, and Alex Wagaman

For some people in the greater Richmond community, choosing where you live is about location, asset-building, property values, and school districts. There is a quiet luxury of choosing safety and using housing as a way to leverage resources and develop wealth.

However, there are many Richmond residents who are subjected to unjust housing laws and practices — even while working hard to create a different reality for their families.

Sadly, unjust practices are nothing new, as the Richmond region has long suffered from the repercussions of its past.

Beginning in the 1930s, federal housing policy promoted segregation through incentivizing the growth of white, middle-class suburban areas.

Entire neighborhoods were denied credit — or red-lined as the act came to be known due to the red line that realtors, insurance agents, and mortgage lenders would draw around African American neighborhoods.

In essence, a dual track housing policy greatly influenced the current state of our region today.


Public safety in Richmond isn't possible without community justice

RTD Op-Ed by Adrienne Cole Johnson, Lillie A. Estes, Howard Manly, and Kristin Reed

Public safety and community justice are not mutually exclusive, societal objectives. In theory the goals of both are broadly rooted in the U.S. Constitution and daily demonstrated — for better and for worse — on American streets.

In reality, it is necessary that we deepen our perspective on public safety as a community justice concern, in order to ensure just and equitable communities throughout our beloved city. There cannot be public safety without community justice, because without community justice, only some are safe.

We suggest that at the root of public safety is the basic human desire to live in consciously caring neighborhoods, where children are able to play outside without worry, where elders are comfortable with moving about, and where there is a sense of community, respect, and neighborliness. When we understand how these ideals are necessary to one another, we are better able to assert our needs — to one another as citizens as well as through policy and law.


Inclusive engagement empowers full body well-being

RTD Op-Ed by Adrienne Cole Johnson, Maya Rockeymoore, Monica Chambers and Duron Chavis

Nothing grows in trauma ...

When residents are relatively secure in the knowledge they are safe from harm and that their well-being is affirmed by a non-toxic environment, they are better able to broadly focus on building the skills, assets, and social ties that will sustain a lifetime.

Neighborhoods are the heart of any city and healthy childhood experiences are vital for promoting healthy adults. This is why we lovingly reflect the words of Frederick Douglass so often: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Whole body well-being is our attempt to look into what we are and what we become as individual citizens in this what we call “Community.” We suggest whole body as the collective mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional presence of entities that share in humanity. We further suggest well-being as the condition that provides for continued creativity, evolution, and expansion of life.


RVA has work to do on education, the foundation for social justice

Sunday, October 15, 2016

RTD Op-Ed by Michelle Saka El, Arthur L. Burton, Adrienne Cole Johnson, and Tawnya Pettiford-Wates

"Education is political and powerful. Beyond classrooms, schools and institutions, knowledge gives an individual the ability to affect their destiny and impact the community and world in which they live. It is a potent and dominant factor in the level of success that a person or a community can ultimately achieve — not only related to our educational system, but also related to our daily interactions and approaches to educating one another..."


It takes community to achieve justice

Saturday, August 13, 2016

RTD Op-Ed by Adrienne Cole Johnson. L.T. Moon, Ram Bhagat, and Trey Hartt

"Justice is a common theme throughout American history, with varying perceptions of goals and definitions along the way. While some may feel as though justice is alive and well, many citizens with a close pulse on the diverse communities of our country identifying with a growing perception of the divide regarding just and fair treatment for individuals within the intersection of race, class, and culture..."