RPA New LogoThe Activist

Issue #211, 10-27-2016

In this issue:
Five ways you can help secure a progressive victory!
Who inspires us: Interview with volunteer canvasser Abebe Mesfin
Special canvass event this Saturday!
1st annual Trick or Treat on 23rd Street
Save the date: RPA membership meeting November 12

We are in the home stretch!
Five ways you can help secure a progressive victory!

Well…we are unlikely to see a triumph of progressive values in our presidential election, but as Bernie Sanders has pointed out, our political revolution will continue -- but only if we carry the banner forward. And what better place than Richmond to carry forward the vision for progressive change.


Although we Richmond progressives have a track record we can be proud of, it’s no time to rest on our laurels. Just because Chevron has not crammed our mailboxes this year with nasty mailers, it doesn't mean that there is any less at stake in next month's election. And just think of how much more we could achieve with Melvin and Ben on City Council – more affordable housing, better funding for county social services, the fight for a hospital in West County, and more.

If you haven’t pitched in yet, now is the time! Here are five ways you can help ensure that our city government continues to make Richmond a more healthy and just place to live, work, play and pray:

  • Canvass! It’s fun and makes a huge difference. We meet on Saturdays at 10 and Sundays at noon at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center at 2540 Macdonald Ave. And check out our special canvass event this Saturday (below)!

  • Phone bank. We will be doing phone banks every day up until the election, starting this weekend. You can RSVP online or call Zak Wear at 510 621 7566.

  • Sign planting. We have plenty of signs to plant in public places. Come by the office at 2540 Macdonald Ave and pick up as many as you can use. Plant them in public places – freeway off ramps, vacant lots, etc.

  • Election Day! This is a huge day for us! We need people to hand out slate cards at polling stations, canvass the day-of, and work the phones in order to get out the vote. If you can help out all day, please do so -- otherwise we have plenty of shifts ranging from 2 hours or more. RSVP here.

  • Donate. Of course, your donations are always needed and welcome. Donate securely to the campaigns of Ben Choi  and Melvin Willis.

[Photo credit: A Kang]
Who inspires us: volunteer canvasser Abebe Mesfin

In our second interview in a series, we speak with Abebe Mesfin, who is one of the many volunteer canvassers who form the engine of our grassroots progressive movement in Richmond. Abebe’s advice for first timers? “Simple. Get involved. You are going to enjoy it and have fun with it."

What was it like the first time you went door to door?

The first time was last year. I was kind of scared. I was with Melvin Willis. Now he’s running for the City Council. He’s a really nice young man. He showed me how to approach a person, how to explain in a short way the thing you’re trying to.

And when you went by yourself?

I was supporting Bernie Sanders that time. I walked around Atchison Village where I live and around Macdonald Street. It was a really good experience for me.

What about this year?

I walked for Measure L. That was with Melvin again. We knocked on doors. Actually he knows every person by name. He met them before. He’s knows whose going to vote for it and not vote for it.

What do you think about the campaign materials?

I feel confident that we’re giving them good things. We knock at the door. If nobody answers, we leave the materials in front of the door. And if the person is very willing, we’re going to give them a yard sign.

Do you have any advice for first timers?

Simple. Get involved. You’re going to be enjoying it and have fun with it. Besides that, you get to know your neighbors. You get to know your area.

People want to know more, want to get more information.  The more you can tell them, the more will show up to vote for it.  

[Photo credit: M Beer]

Team Richmond 2016
Special canvass event this Saturday!

Please join us on Saturday, October 29 to canvass and phone bank with our candidates, and to support Measure L (Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction)! The fun and food starts at 10:00 am at Bobby Bowens Progressive Center, 2540 Macdonald Avenue.

Refreshments will be served along with a festive atmosphere and camaraderie. We will have special guest speaker Councilmember and former Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to cheer us on and send us on our way. Then we will pair up and hit the streets for a few hours. Please come on down with your families, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Call (415) 734-0711 if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you Saturday!

Happy Halloween!
1st annual Trick or Treat on 23rd Street

On Monday, October 31, from 3:30 - 5:30 pm, 23rd Street will host its first annual "Trick or Treat on 23rd Street," a pedestrian-friendly Halloween family event for Richmond and West Contra Costa County.

This event is free and fun for all ages, with treats, activities, and a costume contest. Activities include Lego Robotics by YMCA, a NASA robot table & "slime making" demos courtesy of Contra Costa College, a Wish Wall mural, animal balloons, face painting, and masks. There will also be a community altar dedicated to families of gun violence.

Organizers hope that this event will start to change perceptions of 23rd Street, encourage more foot traffic, and help take back the neighborhood with a positive event that involves our diverse community.
Save the Date
Next RPA memberhip meeting: November 12

Please save the date for the next RPA general membership meeting: Saturday November 12, from 2:30 – 5pm. We will have an election recap, and exciting updates from various RPA committees which are working to improve our schools, accelerate affordable housing, etc. We will also have a discussion with the new RPA nominating committee, which will work over the winter to nominate a slate of new Steering Committee members (to be voted upon in early 2017).

Signed articles are the opinion of the author. Official RPA positions are noted as Steering Committee decisions. Other content created by Michelle Chan, editor.