A conversation with Ada Recinos
Progressives: meet Ada Recinos, the recently appointed Richmond City Councilmember. Passionate Millennial, spiritual, and self-described introvert are a few ways to describe Ada. Ada met with RPA Steering Committee member, Peter Chau, to answer questions about herself and her future plans.
What drives your passion?
My family and I had very hard times when I was growing up. Yet my parents always had a big heart, they taught me the importance of generosity and community service. My mom showed me how to be a leader, she always followed up words with action. Its why I think about how I can help our community at every moment of the day. I have a journal were I write ideas or solutions down (it helps me focus) its important for me to put my dreams down on paper.
Where did you grow up? How did you end up in Richmond?
I grew up in and around LA, living half of my youth in Hawthorne and Torrance. I completed a fellowship with the Congressional Hunger Center and was living in Oakland. My partner and I could not afford to live there anymore, and honestly no one wanted to give us a place. It was really tough because I was searching for work at the time and I watched property managers write words “unemployed” on my housing applications in bright red letters. Fortunately, I found a great job at Prospera shortly after and a really great apartment. 2015 was a really hard year for me.
How did you become involved in Richmond issues?
A week after I moved to Richmond, I applied and was appointed to the Human Rights Commission in January 2016. In February 2017, I joined the Richmond Progressive Alliance’s Steering Committee. I was eager to set up roots here in Richmond and become civically engaged.
What was the most challenging moment for you on the Human Rights Commission?
We recently had three fantastic community leaders transition from the commission, change is hard. We lost some wisdom. Their presence can still be felt on the Commission. While it has felt as though the work on the commission has stalled, we have two new commissioners who are taking the helm. The Commission also has a new intern, so I’m excited about supporting her development as a young leader, even though I am no longer there.
What prompted you to apply for the Richmond City Council seat?
There is so much going on, like the uncertainty with DACA [Deferred Action for Children Act] and the fear that many immigrant families are experiencing. Our community is hurting and we must fight back. I know that politics are very personal, especially for us as RPA members. I wanted to act now. We’ve seen the damage 45 has caused months into his presidency. The time to act is now. We are the people and leaders we have been waiting for.
What are your plans as City Councilmember?
Richmond is a transformative place, and we are feeling the tech and housing pressure from Oakland and San Francisco. How can keep Richmond affordable and slow down gentrification? How can we get Richmond youth to stay in Richmond? With these kinds of questions, I want to learn the best practices from other progressive cities and listen to our community. The answers are here. Also, I want to make sure that we have natural and environmental disaster preparation.
And for those of you who want to learn more about Ada, check out an earlier interview with Ada that ran in a previous edition of The Activist as part of our ongoing series featuring new RPA Steering Committee members.