RPA New LogoThe Activist

Issue #219, 02-15-2017

In this issue:
Vote for the new RPA Steering Committee!
Join CCISCO in building unity and resistance
Sisters in Solidarity event
Measure L still needs your support!
RYSE Love and Rage series
Steering committee spotlight: ACCE
Board of Supervisors votes for jail expansion
Free screening of "The Healthcare Movie"

2/25, 3pm - Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
Vote for the new RPA Steering Committee!

We hope to see you at the upcoming RPA General Membership Meeting on Saturday, Feb. 25, 3:00-5:30 pm at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald). At the meeting, we will be conducting important business, including electing a new Steering Committee. All members in good standing should have already received two email announcements with candidate information, as well as an agenda.

If you have not yet received these emails, it may be because your membership has expired or you are not on our official membership roster. But never fear! You can email Michelle for meeting/ election materials, and show up a few minutes early on Saturday the 25th to refresh your membership at the door. Please bring a check or cash to cover membership dues, which are $12/year minimum.

We thank you for your ongoing involvement!

[Photo: 2016 Steering Committee, courtesy of Juan Reardon]
2/25, 9am - Nevin Community Center
Join CCISCO in building unity and resistance

There are no shortage of excellent opportunities in Richmond to build unity and grassroots resistance against the Trump agenda! Please join the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization for a community summit on Saturday, February 25, 9am - 1pm (lunch provided) at the Nevin Community Center, 598 Nevin Ave.

For more info, contact Nancy Ybarra: 510-334-8821, nancy@ccisco.org

3/4, 10am - City Hall and Lavonya Dejean
Sisters in Solidarity event

Commemorating International Women’s Day, we invite women of all ages and male allies to #beboldforchange by participating in the 2017 Sisters in Solidarity celebration to affirm our shared values of peace, justice, equity, inclusion, caring for future generations and the community.

The day will begin with a rally on the steps of City Hall at 10am, followed by a march to LaVonya Dejean where we will enjoy entertainment, lunch, roundtable discussions and inspirational speakers. Community Violence Solutions Executive Director Cynthia Peterson will be our keynote speaker. Ms. Peterson is a tireless West County advocate for eliminating all forms of violence against women. Don’t miss this wonderful event and opportunity to Be Bold for Change! For more information, contact Trina Jackson at 510 620 6581 or Trina_Jackson@ci.richmond.ca.us

California Apartment Association takes Richmond to court
Measure L still needs your support!

From our friends at Fair and Affordable Richmond...

In November, 65% of Richmond voters voted yes on Measure L to establish rent control and just cause eviction protection in the City of Richmond. Now, these protections are under attack from the California Apartment Association (CAA).

A Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge will decide whether to pause the implementation of rent control and just cause eviction protections after the CAA sued the City of Richmond claiming Measure L violates federal and state laws.

This is not the only assault on rent control; several opponents for Measure L are being considered to serve on the rent board. This body is crucial to the implementation of Measure L and opponents of rent control on the board could hurt efforts to create a fair and affordable Richmond.

As Measure L continues to come under attack, we need your support. Like our Facebook page to stay up to date on the CAA vs. City of Richmond court case, and how you can make your voice heard on rent control.

Learn more about the battle over Measure L in The East Bay Times.

[Photo: Fair and Affordable Richmond]

2/16, 6pm - Catholic Charities
RYSE Love and Rage series

In response to incidents of hatred in our community, and to defend and strengthen our rights and resources, the RYSE Center, in collaboration with Catholic Charities of the East Bay, the RPA and other organizations, are presenting the latest in the Love and Rage in Action series!

This series is aimed at creating community spaces focused on unity, safety, and empowerment to help continue the tradition of our youth and adult residents cultivating beautiful things in Richmond.

Thursday, February 16th, 6-8:30pm
Catholic Charities of the East Bay
217 Harbour Way, Richmond CA 94801

David Brazil, EBASE - Bay Resistance, Rapid Response Network
Jess Heaney, Critical Resistance - Oakland Power Project
Fei-Fei Chang, Girl Army
Soo Hyun Han, Self-Defense Instructor & Advocate

In addition to the panelists, two of our partners will share information on local efforts:
Claudia Jimenez, Contra Costa Racial Justice Coalition
Cat Willett, Catholic Charities of the East Bay

For more information please contact: jamileh@rysecenter.org

Steering committee spotlight
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment

As the RPA membership heads into Steering Committee elections, we wrap up a series featuring organizational representatives on the current RPA Steering Committee. We encourage all those who are interested in the work of these organizations to get involved and join them!
Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) Action is a grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working with more than 10,000 members across California. ACCE is dedicated to raising the voices of everyday Californians, neighborhood by neighborhood, to fight for the policies and programs we need to improve our communities and create a brighter future.

ACCE runs several campaigns around issues such as worker justice and sustainable communities. In Richmond, they are known for their housing justice work, most recently through their leadership in Fair and Affordable Richmond and the campaign to pass Measure L (rent control and just cause for eviction).

ACCE also leads ReFund California, a coalition of more than thirty organizations working to advance corporate accountability campaigns that raise needed revenue, preserve and expand affordable housing and raise the floor on wages and benefits. As part of this campaign, they are advocating for commercial property tax reform, which can raise an additional $6-8 billion in revenue to support a strong and healthy California; and working to raise the minimum wage in multiple cities across the state. They also helped passed laws in three cities to fine banks $1,000 per day for vacant, blighted properties. In Oakland this led to a massive clean-up of blight and has generated more than $2 million so far, which has funded the new Housing Assistance Center to help struggling homeowners and tenants.

Dave Sharples represents ACCE on the RPA Steering Committee.

[Photo: ACCE]
More prevention, not more jails!
Board of Supervisors votes for jail expansion

Earlier this month, the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors voted to expand jail services at the West County Detention Facility. This decision was made despite the strenuous objection of many community organizations. 

Supervisor John Gioia was the lone dissenting vote on the five-member panel. He explained his decision in a  recent Opinion-Editorial, penned with Jane Fischberg of Rubicon Programs and Claudia Jimenez of Contra Costa Racial Justice Coalition. An excerpt of the Op-Ed follows:

Contra Costa County needs greater investment in mental health treatment, job training, affordable housing, and youth services to help keep people from becoming incarcerated, not a larger West County jail.

Approving expensive new jail construction runs counter to the more fiscally responsible and humane strategy of investing greater resources in prevention and rehabilitation services. These cost-effective measures help keep people out of jail, reduce reoffending and improve public safety.

The recent 4-1 vote by the Board of Supervisors to spend $25 million in county funds and apply for $70 million from the state to add 416 high-security beds at the West County Detention Facility in Richmond comes at a time of budgetary uncertainty, with the county facing possible federal funding cutbacks from the new presidential administration.

The Prison Law Office, a well-respected nonprofit public interest law firm specializing in jail system reform, wrote to the Board of Supervisors  that “The county would better serve its population by expanding efforts to reduce the jail population instead of expanding the capacity of its jails.”

We could not agree more.

For the full OpEd, see the East Bay Times.

Wednesday, 3/8, 6:30pm - Bobby Bowens Progressive Center
Free Screening: The Healthcare Movie

With the future of the Affordable Care Act in serious doubt, millions may lose their health insurance.  Medicare and Medi-Cal are under attack.

Please join the RPA and Healthcare for All - Contra Costa for a free screening of "The Healthcare Movie" at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald Ave.) on Wednesday, March 8 from 6:30 - 8:30pm. This documentary explains what single-payer healthcare is and how it saves money.  It shows what behind-the-scenes heroes are doing to clear the fog of misconceptions that has kept us from moving forward.