Our beloved compañero, Maximo Rivera, passed away on August 16. He lived in North Richmond and was an active member of RPA and ACCE for many years, advocating on housing, environmental justice and immigration issues. He brought to our events and actions his soft spoken and kind, yet persistent demeanor. He lifted our spirits with his humor and the music of his band.
In 2015, Maximo and I were both members of a delegation to his home country of El Salvador, organized by School of the Americas Watch. We visited grassroots organizations and officials who are working to build a just society in El Salvador, following the brutal war against the people there a few decades ago that was backed by the U.S. military, and in the ongoing context of harmful neoliberal policies the U.S. is pushing throughout Latin America.
Our group was moved to witness Maximo’s emotional response to visiting his home town of Cinquera in Cabañas province -- now recovering from the destruction of the war -- for the first time since his childhood. He shared memories of sitting behind his father on a horse before roads or cars arrived. His family left Cinquera in 1953 when he was 10 after his uncle was killed by the National Guard because someone said he was a communist. Maximo was inspired to meet and interact with young Salvadorans who honor the martyrs of the past and are striving for a peaceful and socially just future.
Maximo’s son, José, is also a longtime RPA activist and musician who coordinated Richmond’s Municipal ID program. He expressed that the family is urgently requesting assistance to cover funeral expenses. Donations can be made online; anything helps and will be greatly appreciated.
Maximo Rivera was part of Richmond’s progressive transformation and he will be sorely missed.
Who is the RPA? It’s made up of volunteers with passion, progressive values, and who love Richmond. In this series, we get to know the new faces on the RPA Steering Committee. This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ada Recinos. In her day job, she is the Advancement Manager for Prospera, which partners with low-income Latina women so they can achieve economic prosperity through cooperative business ownership.
TA: Tell us about your background in progressive activism.
AR: I am a commissioner on the Human Rights and Human Relations commission. I have about 4 years of experience organizing and campaigning for progressive community issues in Oakland and my hometown of Torrance regarding rent control, immigrant reform, women's rights and have supported local campaigns.
TA: What are your ideas about how change and progress occur?
AR: Change and progress occurs through education. Folks need to educate themselves on how to make progressive values accessible and in turn use education to support folks to claim progressive identities. In my experience, movements are by the people and for the people. Folks are accepted at every level of 'wokeness' with an understanding that compromise is not defeat if we keep pushing forward. I do not expect folks I approach to accept what I am teaching and sharing the first time. I anticipate hard discussions and disagreements. Change and progress occurs after gaining the trust of folks who then become ambassadors for the movement. When people become educate about the issue and feel included in the movement, it becomes theirs and a deep part of their identity.
TA: What are you interested in bringing to the RPA?
AR: I am interested in bringing a challenging perspective, a commitment to bring more diversity in Richmond's leadership and passion for issues that affect folks of color. I also hope to bring a voice and support to Richmond during a Trump presidency.
TA: What are some of the issues you’re most passionate about in Richmond?
AR: I am particularly interested in supporting the enforcement of measure L, and to keep the police and sheriffs accountable to not cooperating with ICE. I hope the RPA is headed towards making Richmond residents more proactive about their rights and introducing legislation that is proactive about residents needs.
Yes, even more good reads: hot off the presses is an excellent article on Gayle McLaughlin’s Lt. Governor campaign, in this week’s East Bay Express:
For McLaughlin, it was all a wake-up call. Appeals to reason and compassion fell on deaf ears. Other interests — raw, powerful “corporate” interests — prevailed. It convinced her that it wasn’t enough to just protest. At some point, you had to take power.
“We realized we needed to be the leaders we were waiting for,” McLaughlin explained.
Read the entire article, “Lieutenant Governor Hopeful Gayle McLaughlin Wants to Take the East Bay’s Progressive Revolution to Sacramento”
Check out this new Opinion-Editorial in the New York Times, “A Dangerous Idea: Eliminating the Chemical Safety Board.” Steve Early points out one of the many ways in which Trump’s budget would be harmful for people and the planet.
If the board is abolished, hundreds of thousands of people who live near chemical factories and refineries will be at greater risk. I came to appreciate the board five years ago, when its experts came here to my hometown to investigate a huge fire at the Chevron refinery at the end of my street.
To read the entire OpEd, click here.
In 2016, about two-thirds of California voters supported Proposition 57, which helps California reduce its costly overreliance on prisons through parole and sentencing reforms and incentives for rehabilitation. But now the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is proposing regulations that threaten to undercut Prop 57.
The faith community, led by PICO, a network for faith based organizations, is urging Californians to write to the CDCR to amend their regulations before they become final. According to PICO, the three main problems with the proposed regs are:
- They do not apply new programming credits to people who have been dedicated to rehabilitation for years, or decades. There is no reason why benefits of Prop. 57 should not apply retroactively to cover genuine rehabilitation programming in the past.
- They exclude young offenders eligible for parole under SB 260 and 261, two laws aimed at creating special parole hearings for young offenders. At its core, Prop. 57 promised to correct over incarceration of young offenders and encourage positive rehabilitative programming—there is no justifiable reason to undermine the positive reforms of SB 260 and 261.
- They exclude people who are serving life sentences under the Three Strikes law for nonviolent crimes. Prop. 57 promised to apply to all nonviolent prisoners.
In the last few months, the RPA Outreach Team has been busy, making presentations up and down California, and to states as far flung as Texas, Connecticut and New York. Most of these meetings are with volunteers who are inspired by the RPA story and interested starting their own progressive organizations.
In addition, the RPA is making connections with organizations such as “The Incorruptibles,” a newly-formed group dedicated to supporting corporate-free candidates running for local office. The Incorruptibles are assisting the RPA in the production of a video describing the RPA model and message, which will be used to further our outreach efforts. In turn, the RPA has provided input into The Incorruptibles’ excellent new Guide to running corporate-free political campaigns.
The Outreach Team is also gearing up for the Soil Not Oil conference in Richmond on September 7-9, and for the California Berniecrats Convention this fall. Also stay tuned for details about a visit with David Zuckermann, Lt. Governnor of Vermont and member of the Vermont Progressive Party, which will be coming up soon.
Check out a new article from The Nation, “These Cities Are Putting Our Fractious Federal Government to Shame,” with a great section about the RPA:
Read the whole article here.
A few weeks ago, as demonstrators in Denver protested Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (in town for a meeting of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council), the RPA endorsed a recent resolution adopted by the United Teachers of Richmond on charter schools. The RPA Schools Action Team has noted that if the West Contra Costa Unified School District approves all its pending charter petitions, the subsidy to charter franchises will soon amount to $151 million, or half the total budget for the WCCUSD.
The UTR resolution reads, in part:
Whereas charter schools take away funding from traditional public schools creating a wasteful parallel school system…
Whereas charter school choice is supported by special interests who seek to privatize and profit from our schools.
Be it resolved that the United Teachers of Richmond CTA/NEA opposes charter school expansion in the West Contra Costa Unified School District and the nation.
The UTR statement follows a similar resolution that the NAACP adopted in the wake of the 2016 election. It stated, in part, that the NAACP “supports a moratorium on the proliferation of privately managed charter schools.” Conditions for lifting the moratorium include: (1) Charter schools are subject to the same transparency and accountability standards as public schools, (2) Public funds are not diverted to charter schools at the expense of the public school system, (3) Charter schools cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate and (4) Charter schools cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.
On June 23rd Speaker Anthony Rendon chose to stall SB 562, the Healthy California Act, putting it on hold in the Assembly Rules Committee instead of moving it forward to a committee for a hearing, vote, and where amendments could be made. Friday, July 14th was the last day Speaker Rendon could move the bill forward under the regular Assembly timeline rules…and he didn’t. But we are far from done. Speaker Rendon still has the power to move the bill forward until mid-September by suspending the regular rules.
This means SB 562 is still alive and well but needs your help to make sure Speaker Rendon and our Assemblymembers choose guaranteeing healthcare and ending the suffering so many Californians experience from crushing medical debt and lack of access to healthcare. Our incredible grassroots movement has the power to move this bill by moving our elected leaders.
Here are 2 ways you can help SB 562 move forward!
1. Call your Assemblymember Until They Join the Fight for SB 562!
Dial 1-855-271-8515 and enter your zip code to be connected directly to your Assemblymember. Here’s what you can say: "Insurance companies continue to be a middleman profiting off healthcare as Californians suffer. The Healthy California Act (SB 562) would remove the insurance middleman and save $37 billion a year while guaranteeing medical, dental, vision and more. Do you support taking insurance companies out of healthcare? Will you co-author SB 562 and support moving the Healthy California Act forward this year so we can?”
2. Get involved!
Contact your local regional coordinator to find out how to get active locally (find them at healthycaliforniaact.org/find-regional-coordinator), and get social on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Are you interested in filling Gayle McLaughlin’s vacant seat on the Richmond City Council? If so, August 15th is the deadline to complete the City Clerk’s process for candidates. It is also the deadline to request a Richmond Progressive Alliance endorsement. See below for details.
Richmond City Council members will vote to appoint Gayle’s replacement at their September 12th meeting. The City Council will consider only those candidates who complete the City Clerk’s process by August 15th at 5 pm (see link below). The RPA plans to endorse one or more candidates for the appointment and notify City Council members of the endorsement. Our endorsement is separate and independent of any action taken by the Richmond City Council, and Council Members who are also members of RPA are not part of the endorsement process.
To be considered for an RPA endorsement, you must complete these three steps by 5 pm on Tuesday, August 15, 2017.
- Use this form to write a 250 word statement and file it with the City Clerk’s office. In addition, statements must be e-mailed to [email protected] prior to filing with the City Clerk. Additional instructions can be read on the form itself.
- Write your answers to the RPA Endorsement Questions and email those answers to RPA Co-chair Marcos Bañales at [email protected]. RPA Endorsement Questions PDF Version. RPA Endorsement Questions Word Version.
- Sign up for and attend a 1 hour interview with RPA Steering Committee Members. Sign up here. Interviews will take place between August 16th and 21st at the Bobby Bowens Progressive Center (2540 Macdonald Ave, Richmond, CA 94801) unless otherwise noted.
If you have any questions, please email RPA Co-chair Marcos Bañales at [email protected].