Pastor Washington: Richmond Has Fallen Asleep at the Wheel of Social Justice

blogimage.jpgRichmond, the city of Pride and Purpose has, again, found herself in a position of national attention and judgement. Currently, this city is viewed as one of the worst cities in the country for having the most deplorable public housing accommodations. During these times of modernity the city rents-out, for profit, units ridden with bedbugs, roaches, rodents and various types of health obstructing molds.

These substandard public housing units are also void of code complying upgrades, timely maintenance and one of the basic necessities of life; sanitary housing. City officials have informed us that it will take six months to finish inspections and to finalize a plan to rectify these atrocities to the most vulnerable populations within our city limits. It will take the entire community of Richmond to come together to fast-track the solutions to our predicament.

Is it because these units house little black and brown children that the city has fallen asleep at the wheel of social justice? Would the city's housing representatives do better if the units were not replete with seniors and single-female head of households? Is being economically challenged the basis of this gross inequity toward the residents? The squalid, flyblown and sullied condition of Richmond's public housing is a testament to a lack of care shown by public leadership. I challenge every clergyman, concerned community member and conscious pulse-having individual to stand with me in seeking expeditious solutions. The physical, mental and spiritual challenges associated with the living conditions experienced by the tenants in Richmond's public housing may be partial causes of violent behavior, a lost of neighborly camaraderie and a lack of interest in the educational success' in Richmond.

Less than five years ago the city of Richmond was hailed as the sixth worst city to live in the United States of America. This was because of our homicide totals, poor police closure rates and the high number of violent crimes perpetrated in our beloved city. Since that time a united citizenry, various social advocates, the ecumenical community, and law enforcement have united
resulting in, currently (calendar year 2013), the lowest homicide totals in 33 years. We overcame insurmountable odds to reverse a pervading culture of violence and a cavalier attitude toward human life. The victories in violence prevention that we have enjoyed are reason enough to believe that we can and will overcome the current debacle of providing adequate housing for the population that we must protect.

Over the next several weeks we will be circulating a petition to employ our friends in Martinez, Sacramento and Washington D.C. to help us to speedily bring solutions to our friends and family members who dwell in these deficient housing units. We the united protectors of the human condition will be calling on you to help us to give voice to the voiceless and strength to them that have no strength. I reach out to you all because to trust in the current local representatives may be futile. Please search within yourselves for the personal energy that will sum-up-to corporate synergy for righteousness and the attainment of equality for all.

Because it is just.

Pastor Henry C. Washington

The Gardens of Peace Ministry, Richmond, CA

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