Who is the RPA?

RPA June Calendar

Here are upcoming RPA meetings and events. Note, most meetings are only open to RPA members, although allies and guests are often welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member, you may do so here. Dues may be waived if they are a barrier to you joining the RPA. If you have questions about joining the RPA, or are interested in attending a meeting as a non-member, please contact  [email protected]

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RPA Calendar May

Here are upcoming RPA meetings and events. Note, most meetings are only open to RPA members, although allies and guests are often welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member, you may do so here. Dues may be waived if they are a barrier to you joining the RPA. If you have questions about joining the RPA, or are interested in attending a meeting as a non-member, please contact  [email protected]

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RPA Calendar April 2022

Here are upcoming RPA meetings and events. Note, that most meetings are only open to RPA members, although allies and guests are often welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member, you may do so here. Dues may be waived if they are a barrier to you joining the RPA. If you have questions about joining the RPA, or are interested in attending a meeting as a non-member, please contact [email protected]

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The Black (Woman) Experience

By Jovanka Beckles

Jovanka Beckles, AC Board of Transit Director for Ward 1 and former Richmond City Council member 

I was going to write a planned article about Black women in history. I will write that article another time. Rather I am writing about the real time, history-in-the-making, effect of the direct harm of belligerent racism towards the BIPOC community—especially towards Black women. I move through the world as a dark-skinned Black woman, and I experience racism daily. From the so-called micro aggressions to the less common, but not extraordinary, blatant attacks. 

This morning is simply one example. I was trying to reach someone with a 505 area code from my office desk phone. It was the wrong number, obviously. This is how it went:

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What Do Women Want?

By Kathleen Wimer and Diana Wear

Aretha Franklin performs during "Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House," 2014.

Aretha Franklin said it all, R-E-S-P-E-C-T. The Supreme Court 1973 decision making it constitutional for women to choose whether or not to have a baby (Roe v Wade) may have lulled us into complacency, but last September the Supreme Court permitted implementation of Texas S.B. 8, a law authorizing anyone to collect $10,000 should they turn in someone later found guilty of helping a girl or woman get an abortion.

Covid 19, too, set an old familiar stage. The pandemic revealed the disproportionate disadvantages women endure—low wage multiple “essential” jobs with exposure to the pandemic, balancing children's at-home learning and care; often with other adults in the home but not necessarily helping and sometimes instead even administering abuse. These day-to-day women’s realities, plus the current Supreme Court threats to our free agency in reproductive matters, call us to demand rights for women together, at the local level, now.

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Spring RPA Membership Meeting

Come one, come all!

RPA Membership Spring meeting will be Saturday, March 26, 2-4 pm. We know we’re all tired of Zoom meetings but, for now, it’s still our go-to gathering spot. And yes, the Office Committee is looking for an office but we’re not there yet. Still, we have news to share, people to meet, and actions to plan.

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RPA Calendar March 2022

Here are upcoming RPA meetings and events. Note, most meetings are only open to RPA members, although allies and guests are often welcome. If you are interested in becoming a member, you may do so here. Dues may be waived if they are a barrier to you joining the RPA. If you have questions about joining the RPA, or are interested in attending a meeting as a non-member, please contact [email protected]

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The Activist Remembers Mike Parker

I knew Mike Parker when I was a student at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s. Mike was a brilliant advocate for workers and unions then, and he remained so for the rest of his life.  Mike fought tirelessly for human solidarity and a more just and humane world.  His life's work and dedication should serve as an example for all of us.
         -Bernie Sanders

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Richmond Lost a True Leader

By Ken Paff and Martha Gruelle

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Martha, Ken, Margaret, and Mike

I lost my best friend of over 50 years last Saturday evening. 

Mike was my guide and sometimes my patient critic, as he has been to so many other activists. He followed the work of the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), the insurgent reform movement of Teamsters), and was always ready with generous solidarity and helpful ideas for me and other TDU leaders.

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Mike Parker, Comrade Extraordinaire

By Marilyn Langlois

“He left us at night on January 15, perhaps as the volcanic tsunami from Tonga was still moving in and out of our San Francisco Bay, just feet from his home. Mike’s influence was and is as strong as that and it is up to us to keep it moving.”

–Tarnel Abbott, RPA co-founder

Mike Parker made us all better activists. He could motivate RPA members to dig deeper and do more.  We did so gladly, knowing he respected, appreciated and listened to us. Above all, he set a good example of incisive analysis, hard work and fidelity to our collective efforts.

Whenever my caller ID announced an incoming phone call from Mike, for a split second I would hesitate to answer, thinking he was going to ask me to do something or challenge me on a political question. Yet I was always drawn to conversations with him, each time coming away the wiser for talking with him.

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