From The Mayor's Desk- February 2023
By Eduardo Martinez
Earlier this month, my team and I celebrated our first month in office. I am so proud my office is fully staffed with Chief of Staff Shiva Mishek, Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Tamayo, and Policy Director BK White. We’ve started strong! Our accomplishments as of our one month in office include:
- over 250 meetings with constituents and city staff held
- over 20 applications to boards and commissions processed
- over a dozen community events attended
Introducing Jamin Pursell, New RPA Operations Manager
Interviewed by: Diana Wear
Jamin, congratulations on being hired for this new leadership position for the RPA. What led you to apply for this position?
Initially, I had not thought to take on the whole gamut of RPA’s structural needs. I’ve been with RPA since 2014 with a few lapses of school and other things, but since I’ve worked on several campaigns, served on various Action Teams and committees, and as a Steering Committee member, I have felt well positioned to help us transition to a new status. I think this is a pivotal moment for RPA as we are on the cusp of celebrating twenty years as a successful progressive organization in the East Bay. I would like to help RPA establish structures that will enable us to work more productively and effectively with other groups in Richmond. Our organization stands on the legacy of many RPA founders, friends, and colleagues over the years. It’s time to advance for the next ten years, to be as strong as possible for what it means to be progressive in Richmond and our surrounding communities. I aim to build on what all those people have done—we are a constantly moving machine. We have big problems to address, and I feel poised to help us do that.Read more
American History is Black History
By Jamin Pursell
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. America has a habit of creating myths about itself that hide the actual work of black people in building America. While Carver is widely known for his work with peanuts, he did not invent peanut butter, which traces back to the Aztecs. Carver, however, is recognized for his pioneering work in promoting the cultivation of peanuts as a profitable crop for farmers and his research into the many uses of peanuts and other crops, including over 300 products made from peanuts. While not primarily known as a political figure, Carver used his position and influence to advocate for important issues, such as education and the empowerment of African Americans. He was a member of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation. This organization worked to promote better race relations in the United States, and he used his platform to speak out against racism and discrimination.Read more
Help Design Richmond’s Green-Blue Economy of the Future
By Justine Burt
Block Island Wind Farm
California has ambitious environmental policy goals in place. By 2030, 30% of our land and waterways will be conserved. After 2035, 100% of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will be zero emission. By 2045, 100% of electricity will come from renewable sources.
Closing the gap between our goals and where we are today will require millions of new green jobs. Building offshore wind turbines, retrofitting buildings for all electric, and recycling waste materials into new products are just a few examples of the kinds of projects that will build a just, equitable, resilient and sustainable future.
The Richmond Green-Blue New Deal Workforce Development Plan team is currently seeking input from Richmond residents about which green-blue projects to prioritize.Read more
Tribute to Kabir Kapur
By Nicole Valentino and Diana Wear
Kabir Kapur left an indelible mark on our RPA community when he died at the young age of 30 years old. He died of complications following an asthma attack that progressed to cardiac arrest. We are deeply saddened by this loss. Yet while we are bereft with his death, we are also left with some wonderful memories and profound lessons. Kabir was a longtime, active member of RPA. Over the years, he worked on a number of committees and action teams including the leadership body of the RPA, the Steering Committee, as well as Membership and Council Action Team. He also participated actively with the Communications Team meetings urging coverage of relevant issues.Read more
Kabir - Playlist & Stories
Election Reflections (Part I): Is Corporate-Free Too Easy?
By Shiva Mishek
In this recent election cycle, the Richmond Progressive Alliance used a simple question to decide whether we would endorse local candidates: would the candidate commit to running a corporate-donation-free campaign? This question has been the bedrock of our organization since its founding in 2004.
But is it too basic a boundary issue?Read more
RPA Committee Work and Action Team Report
By Diana Wear and Chris Broglio
This month, the Membership Committee Co-chairs, collaborated with the Office Staff to address a number of needs we’ve been wrestling with in our post-election period as well as since the pandemic and acquiring our new office space at 12929 San Pablo Avenue. We’ve devised plans to provide orientations for new members, ways for our community to have round table discussions and offer continuing education for RPA members.Read more
"Art is at the Forefront of Social Change”—Angela Davis
By BK Williams
Rancho Market Mural, Designed by Richard Muro Salazar
Public art reflects a community’s values and history, and how we see the world—the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are. It is placed in public sites, and is there for everyone, a form of collective community expression.
Richmond has had in effect a "Percent for Art" ordinance setting aside 1.5% of eligible capital improvement project budgets for the acquisition of public art. Additionally, there is a 1% fee for public art to private developers on applicable projects. Public artwork is directed through the Arts and Culture Commission which advises the city in its artistic and cultural development in preserving Richmond’s heritage. The city’s budget shows the Percent for Art has amassed in excess of one million dollars for this fiscal year. There was approximately $1.7 million dollars available as of the end of 2022. (A&C Ordinances, Policies, and Procedures.)Read more
Graphic by Alfred Twu
In late November, our progressive community learned of the untimely death of our friend and comrade, Kabir Kapur. He was just 30 years old. Kabir was a longtime, active member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, among other political groups in the Bay Area.
The RPA deeply mourns the loss of Kabir’s brilliant mind and warm heart. His moral compass was always pointed toward justice for all people. It is fitting that this tribute to Kabir is in the same issue as our election recap since Kabir was such a fervent follower of electoral politics.
Kabir was also an organ donor. His final act was to donate parts of himself for three people whom he had never met.Read more