On Tuesday September 12th the Richmond City Council will host a meeting where the 13 applicants for the vacated Council seat (created when Councilmember McLaughlin resigned to seek the Lt. Governor's seat). Each applicant will be allowed 8 minutes to address the Council and the public to explain why they would be the best choice to fill the vacancy.
Radio Free Richmond has invited each of the applicants to pen about 500 words and provide a headshot photo.
Although I am originally from San Francisco, I've been a Richmond resident since 1996. I'm happily married, with three beautiful daughters and a handsome son. The thing I love most about living in Richmond is that it is a diverse, close-knit community, where many people are life-long residents who have often known each other for years. I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, in 2008, and my Paralegal Certificate, in 2010, both from SF State University.
While pursuing my higher education, I experienced the tragic deaths of 2 of my cousins and a good friend from Contra Costa College, due to gun violence. Those tragedies, unexpectedly, thrust me into community activism, allowing me to develop a passion for my community and giving me the opportunity to continue doing my part to stop gun violence in the Bay Area.
In 2007, I volunteered with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, as the Chapter Leader for West Contra Costa County, and with the Healing Circles of Hope. I have also been actively involved with outreach in jails and prisons, empowering inmates to make smarter decisions for themselves and their families. I served, faithfully, on Richmond 's Human Rights/Human Relations Commission from 2013-2015.
I am currently working with Richmond Ceasefire, participating in night walks in various neighborhoods throughout Richmond, and quarterly meetings with at-risk young men, in ongoing efforts to offer them alternatives to crime and violence. I also volunteer with Ceasefire Rapid Response, offering emotional support and resources to victims or survivors and their loved ones.
In 2016, I began working with the Contra Costa County Racial Justice Coalition, in ongoing efforts to address and eradicate racial disparities in the criminal justice system and in protests against the jail expansion. I also actively volunteer with Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, on vital issues such as raising the minimum wage, Ban the Box legislation, and Rent Control/Just Cause for Evictions.
Most recently, I joined the City of Richmond 's Homeless Task Force and I hope to work diligently with others to offer practical, long-term solutions to our homeless neighbors because no human being should have to live without sufficient housing, substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, jobs or job training. I will also be completing my Christian education, in 2018, through the Allen Temple Baptist Church. I am a person with strong faith in God and, for me, that is not limited to going to church on Sundays. Faith, in action, is fundamental, not just to what I do, but to who I am as a born-again Christian. As a formerly addicted, formerly homeless, and formerly incarcerated person, it is essential that I give back to my community and help others overcome the same struggles I have gained victory over.
In closing, I am grateful for the opportunity to possibly continue serving my community, as a potential member of the City Council. I hope to be appointed so I can expand my knowledge and experience into other areas of advocacy and politics.