Immigrants’ Rights Take Center Stage at St. Mark’s Church

September 29, 2007

Immigration Rights Forum 

Mark Silverman, of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, explains immigrants’ legal rights at the gymnasium of St. Mark’s Church Thursday night.

By Nicholas Kusnetz 

Ten years ago, Yeimi Alba was walking home from school with her sisters in Richmond when a boy began yelling at her. She had been in this country no more than a year after coming here from Mexico and spoke poor English, but she knew enough to understand racial epithets. She talked back. He punched her in the face.

Last night, at age 20, Alba used her memories to motivate herself to speak in front of more than 100 people at an Immigration Rights Forum at St. Mark’s Church in Richmond.

“I’ve been through discrimination, racism, violence,” she said.

Read the rest of this entry »


Music on the Main Draws a Crowd to Historic Downtown Richmond

September 27, 2007

Music on the Main

By Anna McCarthy

The parking lot at MacDonald Avenue and Marina Way was busier than usual Wednesday night by about 100 neighbors and passersby, who enjoyed steaming barbeque, good conversation and some of the best foot-stomping blues bands in the Bay Area.

The event, Music on the Main, is one of a number of promotional activities, including a summer concert series and various holiday receptions, designed by the Main Street Initiative to attract residents and merchants to downtown Richmond. Leaders of the initiative have been working with neighborhood councils and surveying residents on ways to create a downtown that best serves the needs of the community.

Read the rest of this entry »

Spirits High on First Night of Tent City

September 26, 2007


Community members warm themselves by the fire at John F. Kennedy Park on Tuesday night, the first day of Tent City


By Nicholas Kusnetz 

With soul music playing and the barbecues smoking, the mood was high at John F. Kennedy Park in Richmond on Tuesday night. The men, women and children that came in and out of the party, comprising a dozen or so at any given time, had come to this one of four Tent City sites to mark the first anniversary of the peace movement of the same name.

“We’re dispelling the myth that Richmond is a bad place to be,” said Robert O. Brown, secretary treasurer of the Tent City Peace Movement.

Organizers and community members will be camping out in four city parks for the next week to rally the community against the shootings and violence that have plagued Richmond over the past couple months. Two weeks ago, 16 people were shot—three fatally—over an eight-day period.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bringing Richmond Into Art

September 26, 2007


By Anna McCarthy

Outside, gray skies threatened rain over the expansive parking lot and abandoned construction site hugging the faux-brick exterior of Richmond’s Art Center on Barrett Avenue. Inside the warmly lit interior of the galleries, the chic ambiance and sleek dress code at Saturday’s reception could have been a scene right out of an art opening in the heart of New York City.

Art lovers, young and old alike, came out of the Richmond woodwork for last Saturday’s reception. The event celebrated the Center’s new fall exhibit and featured three different showcases.

The South Gallery showed paintings, photography and ceramics from five artists chosen from last year’s Members Only show, and the Main Gallery featured work by California College of the Arts’ recent photography graduates and faculty. The showcases are proof that the Center attracts a variety of gifted artists who help to bring art into Richmond.

But the West Gallery exhibit, showcasing work from Richmond’s Neighborhood Public Art Project, demonstrated how the Center is bringing Richmond into art.

Read the rest of this entry »

North Richmond Meeting on Violence ends in Fingerpointing

September 19, 2007

North Richmond Violence Meeting.jpg

Bienvenida Meza looks on at Tuesday night’s meeting on violence in North Richmond. (Photo credit/Nicholas Kusnetz)

By Nicholas Kusnetz

An emotional meeting among law enforcement, county officials and residents in unincorporated North Richmond Tuesday night was intended to help the community address violence through programs such as Neighborhood Watch. But people quickly resorted to fingerpointing, wondering why the police hadn’t done more to stop recent shootings.

“They just don’t have the sense of urgency,” said Donald Gilmore, executive director of the Community Housing Development Corporation of North Richmond. “The Neighborhood Watch is not going to stop all of these shootings.” Read the rest of this entry »

Topics of Interest – Crime

September 15, 2007

We introduce these topics to residents of Richmond (and beyond) not because we are experts on the subjects, but to stir dialogue. These topics were chosen carefully to represent pressing issues in the city of Richmond. Please feel free to use this space as a forum for respectful and thoughtful debate.

Perhaps the most urgent issue in Richmond, crime—especially violent crime—continues to be a problem this year. While murders are down compared to last year at this time, non-fatal gun shot wounds are just as high, according to the Mayor’s office. Last year, after the murder rate reached a recent high, the community responded with the Tent City Peace Movement. The city also created the Office of Neighborhood Safety to tackle the violence. Yet while the new office received funding from the City Council, its director has not been hired.

Read the rest of this entry »

Topics of Interest – Education

September 15, 2007

Two major developments in September will affect the development of the West Contra Costa Unified School District over the next couple of years.

  • The district reached an agreement with the United Teachers of Richmond on a pay-raise of 4 percent, a two-year deal that is retroactive to July 2006. However, the raise was short of the 7.9 percent sought by the union, and does not benefit all teachers equally, according to USD Board Member Audrey Miles.