Tonight’s March for Safe Streets event in South Berkeley cancelled

A Family March for Safe Streets event in South Berkeley originally scheduled for tonight (Sept. 29) in response to several recent incidents of gun violence in the area, has been cancelled.

The announcement was made early this morning in an email from resident and event organizer Heather Marléne Zadig that gave the reasons behind the decision:

Dear fellow concerned community members,

I am deeply saddened to cancel this event based on new information and input from many community leaders and residents. First, it has been just now fully brought to my attention that there is a severe conflict with another, more crucial event in the neighborhood that is actively attempting to solve local community problems, and that this march was drawing needed attention away from that event, which has been planned for quite awhile. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/power-of-faith-2016-together-we-serve-tickets-26692456857

Second, I have received several messages indicating community outrage at the nature and tone of this event, specifically that the event did not overtly focus on the murder victim and other victims of violence, and that it had a focus on public safety, which was construed as being self-serving. This was completely the opposite of my intent. The updated route was chosen to weave through specific sites of recent violence and end at the site of the recent murder. My reasons for not emphasizing the victims in announcements about the event was not at all for a lack of concern, but rather only because of the intended family-and-small-children emphasis on community engagement against the violence. To be clear, I am outraged and sickened as a mother that Ignacio Francis Jr.’s mother had to bury her child, and that the other recent victims—young teenagers—were also in fact children. This is one of many reasons why I wanted to get children involved.

It has become clear from these many messages that to continue with this march would not only upset some members of the community but also cause divisions, which is completely anathema to the goals of the march. In fact, it renders the march entirely pointless. I am devastated that people have felt slighted by what was intended as a positive way to engage residents such as young families and children who may otherwise feel powerless to constructively contribute.

I appreciate the outpouring of support from others, the vast amounts of time people have spent trying to help make this happen, and I hope to achieve the goals of this march in other ways.

The Berkeley Police Department, which had planned to participate in the march, issued the following announcement:

Today’s scheduled Safer Streets March has been cancelled by its organizer, who is guiding concerned community members to consider attending another community event, entitled “Power of Faith 2016 – Together We Serve”, which will be held at the Ed Roberts Campus from 4 PM -7 PM. The march had been scheduled to begin tonight at 5:00pm from the parking lot of the Sweet Adeline Bakeshop.

The Berkeley Police Department stands in support of all efforts to build a safe and caring community. For our part,  extra patrols in the areas affected by violence will remain in place, as we work to ensure that residents are safe in their homes and on the street, and that our Department is committed to strong and safe neighborhoods. Our vigorous investigation into the two homicides and several shootings continues.

Our efforts to engage and inform our community will continue.


Richmond police: 3 arrested in connection with Lincoln Plair murder

A memo provided by police today:

On March 4, 2013 at approximately  1535 hours, Vic PLAIR LINCOLN was gunned down ifo 686 6th Street.  Plair was shot to death by two suspects who walked up on him and fired multiple rounds.  PLAIR was in the area where numerous people were out to include children.  Detective Esparza was assigned as the lead investigator in this case.  Solid leads were developed in this case and the investigation revealed that 3 gang members associated with the “Swerve Team Gang” out of North Richmond were responsible for the shooting. 


On 05/31/13, Detective Esparza obtained information which corroborated the above. 

The 3 Suspects in this case were identified as follows:
Green, James, dob: 01/27/95

Cooper, Derrick aka “D-Rock”, dob: 03/14/94

Johnson, Antwone, aka “Pone”, dob: 03/05/94



Detective Esparza presented the homicide case to the District Attorney’s Office on 06/03/13.  The District Attorney’s Office filed 187PC, 186.22 and other enhancements against Green, Cooper and Johnson.


All 3 suspects in this case are associated with the “Swerve Team” out of North Richmond.  SIS (specifically Det Llamas) did an excellent job assisting Detective Esparza in this case.  Detective Llamas provided the Gang Expert intelligence on the Swerve Team and the 3 associated gang members. 



From the archives: North Richmond’s unrealized future

West County Times (Richmond, CA)

May 20, 2001

Edition: Final
Section: West County
Page: a27
Editor note: This article, from May 2001, draws a harsh spotlight on just how short we have come toward achieving the expectations so many had for North Richmond.  

Index Terms:
Community, Neighborhood, Meeting, Address



NORTH RICHMOND A nice-sized grocery store in a central location. Multilingual information about the links between asthma and air pollution. Old-style policing where officers walk the streets, pausing to chat with neighbors over a cup of coffee. 

These are some of the top goals set by of a group of residents and community activists involved in a county-sponsored effort to improve their neighborhood. 

About 25 people involved in the Healthy Neighborhoods Project met Saturday at the Multicultural Senior Center to discuss North Richmond‘s good points and trouble spots and develop an improvement priority list. 

This is the second year the project, run by the Contra Costa County Health Department, has worked to turn dreams into tangible changes in this unincorporated community near the Richmond Parkway. The project also has programs in Richmond‘s Iron Triangle neighborhood, San Pablo and Pittsburg. 

Last year the North Richmond efforts resulted in a new mailbox in a central location, a stop sign at a dangerous intersection and a bus shelter. 

But that was just a start, and much more needs to be done, said organizers Saturday. 

“There’s a lot of things going on in our community that need taking care of,” said Rose Sidney, a retired probation officer who was raised in North Richmond

A few weeks before Saturday’s meeting, the group walked the neighborhood “mapping” community assets and weaknesses. 

Strengths included cultural diversity, new family and senior housing facilities, the county-run Center For Health, churches, child care facilities, and neighborhood cleanups. 

Weaknesses included crime, loitering in front of liquor stores, clutter in some yards, pollution from nearby industries and the lack of services, including a grocery store, restaurant and bank. 

Saturday’s discussion narrowed down the map, prioritizing what issues the group should tackle first. 

Health, crime and services topped the list. 

Solutions suggested included having more clear and concise health education information in a variety of languages available; having more police on the streets and improving relations between officers and residents; and establishing a community-run grocery store. 

“If we can get violence wiped out, that will take care of a multitude of things; if we get some services to come in, that will take care of a multitude of things,” said Willie Mae Johnson, a mental health specialist at La Cheim School and a longtime resident. 

Next, the group will present its list to local political and government leaders, asking for support and assistance in turning at least some ideas into realities. A tentative meeting is planned for June 30. 

Healthy Neighborhoods, launched about five years ago, is designed to help residents get involved in making improvements where they live, said Roxanne Carrillo, project manager. The county acts as facilitator, but the action is done by locals, she said. “Residents set the agenda.” 

Many at Saturday’s meeting said it was a good start. 

“Even though this is a small group, this is a group that’s concerned,” said Michael Moore, pastor of the End Times Harvest Ministries. “We’re taxpayers; we want the community needs to be addressed.” 

For more information on the Healthy Neighborhoods Project, call the county’s Community Wellness and Prevention Program at 925-313-6810.


Full text of Richmond Mayor McLaughlin’s State of City 2013

Below is the full speech delivered by Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin in city council chambers on Jan. 29, 2013.


City Councilmembers, City Staff and members of the community:  2012 was a quite a year!   It was of groundbreaking and historic accomplishments and it was also a year of deep controversy and difference of opinion.   It was eventful and unprecedented in so many ways.  Whether it was difficult controversies or groundbreaking accomplishments, we have risen to the occasion and I remain honored to represent the great diverse community that resides here in our great city.     In the midst of our ongoing challenges, it’s easy to lose sight of the ground we’ve gained.   This is a collective journey, and many, many people, businesses and organizations have made it possible…that is why I’m pleased to share this 2013 State of the City Address with all of you today.


Public Works, Engineering and Development Projects


I want to start off with sharing some of the many accomplishments in terms of Public Works, Parks, Engineering and development projects.


For starters, let’s acknowledge with pride that Richmond won the 2011 Pavement Management Award for “Most Improved Roads” from MTC.  We had an increase of 13 points from 2010.  While we still have a lot of work to do, this is a great achievement. 


In addition to paving many city blocks, Public Works did remodeling work at Fire Stations and painted various city buildings such as the Disabled People’s Recreation Center, the main Library and the interior of the Auditorium.


Our Parks and Landscaping Division were busy, as always, with great projects.  Thanks to our very committed and able Parks staff in collaboration with an engaged community, onAugust 11, 2012, we celebrated the Grand Opening of a beautifully renovated Solano Playlot.  We also celebrated the renovation of Burg Park as well as a new pedestrian bridge at Booker T. Anderson Park.  This in conjunction with ongoing maintenance, repairs, and landscaping work to beautify our city public spaces.


Engineering was extremely busy this year as well.


Projects including the Via Verdi Culvert Replacement Project, previously known as the Via Verdi “sink hole” problem.  El Portal Drive was opened in December and the pipe that ran under the road has been completely replaced.


Some other quick facts include:


100, 000 sq. yards of pavement were slurry sealed.

35 curb ramps were completed

28,589 sq ft of sidewalks were completed through the City program


Engineering should also be congratulated for its Railroad Crossing Improvements.  Richmond is now a national leader in Quiet Zones with a total of eight (8) zones established.  


Engineering also replaced lights on major streets throughout the City (such as Macdonald Ave, Barrett, 23rd, San Pablo, Cutting Blvd, portions of the Parkway, Castro St., Nevin, Bissell, Pennsylvania and various downtown streets.  1,100 antiquated series streetlights were replaced with LED lights.  Old lights use 80% more energy than the new LED lightsAND the LED lights are 4 times brighter than older lights. 


And one more engineering project I want to mention is the Stormwater Improvements at Garrity Creek.  The first large trash capture device was placed in a stormwater pipe at Hilltop Mall such that it captures trash dropped by shoppers preventing the trash from getting in the creek.


New development projects continue to move forward in Richmond:


Rosie the Riveter Visitor and Education Center 

  • The new visitor education center in the historic Oil House, part of the Ford Building Rehabilitation Project is located on the Richmond shoreline and is the new home of the Rosie the Riveter Visitor and Education Center.
  • Restoration improvements of the Oil House include: classrooms, exhibits, and an award winning theater.

Bart garage

  • The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) parking structure is nearing completion.
  • Related transit improvements such as repaving and striping of 16th Street have been completed.  Along with the BART garage construction other improvements with transit center include; pedestrian and bicycle upgrades as well as improvements to bus circulation.
  • The public art is now installed on the east and west parking structure elevations.
  • Once completed the garage will have six levels of parking, with a total of 762-spaces. The garage will include 9,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space fronting on Macdonald Avenue in downtown Richmond. 

Meade Street Bypass Road Project

  • The Meade Street Bypass Road now serves as the primary road in and out of the South Richmond Shoreline Area with no interruption from train activity. This is especially vital to emergency vehicles that need access to the South Richmond Shoreline area unimpeded.
  • Meade Street Bypass Road is great resource for the business community in the area and has potential for new businesses to call Richmond home.
  • This road will serve as a temporary road while the Bradley A. Moody Underpass Grade Separation is constructed

Green aspects of the bypass road project

  • The road consists of green components: State “Energy-Efficient” LED Street Lights will help provide safety to the area and to bicycle riders utilizing the Class II bike lanes
  •  2 acre site includes the largest Richmond Public Works Bio retention Basin that will filter storm water runoff

Rigger’s Loft


Rigger’s Loft, after some controversy, is well into its rehabilitation work and is already being marketed by the City.


Crime and Violence Prevention


Now, I ‘d like to focus a bit on the extraordinary accomplishments we have collectively made happen in the area of crime and violence prevention.


In recent years, we have seen a massive decrease in violent crime.  We ended 2012 with 18 homicides, while it was just a few years back in 2009, we had 45 homicides.  We are clearly moving in a very strong downward trend.  All this reflects a collective effort on the part of our community-involved police department, our Office of Neighborhood Safety, many community violence prevention groups and great programs, such as the Ceasefire Program.


As we all know, one homicide and one shooting is a tragedy beyond words.   Let us always remember that these statistics represent real human lives and people loved, and mourned, by many.


In addition, just recently a great crime prevention victory has been accomplished thanks to a grassroots community organizing effort that was successful in getting state realignment money dedicated to re-entry services as opposed to expanding the county jail.  I will be presenting this year’s MLK Award to those community groups that really helped shift the focus onto resources needed for re-entry service to decrease recidivism….rather than trying at arrest our way out of crime problems.   


My office is also working directly with the Richmond Project, a program in San Quentin, where Richmond residents in prison are transforming themselves and sharing their profound message with our youth encouraging them to focus on healthy lifestyles.


So in many ways we are addressing the roots of our crime and showcasing Richmond as a leader in crime prevention. 


Economic Development and Jobs


And along with moving to a more peaceful Richmond, we have moved to a moved our local economy forward as well.


Richmond saw 249 new businesses started in 2012 which generated 457 jobs.


An example of one of these new businesses is Nutiva. Nutiva the world’s leading brand of organic hemp foods, coconut oil, and chia seeds and moved its headquarters to Richmond this year.  It is in the process of hiring 100 workers and has reached out to our local residents for these jobs.  In addition, Nutiva, is doing great community work, including a commitment of planting fruit tree orchards in every Richmond school, which it has already begun!


Ekso Bionics is another great business that has moved to Richmond.  Ekso Bionics is pioneering the field of exoskeletons, designing and creating some of the most forward-thinking solutions in offering people with physical limitations new, innovative options for extending their physical abilities. Ekso Bionics was named by Time Magazine as “One of the 50 Best Innovations in 2010.”  And we are proud that they chose Richmond to be home to their exciting business.


ANDof course as we all know, The University of California Richmond Field Station was selected as the preferred site for the second campus of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The development of the Richmond Bay Campus in Richmond’s Southern Gateway will serve as a center for innovation, catalyst for other research facilities, and will support broader economic revitalization locally and regionally. The start of the operation is expected between 2017-2020.  


We just recently passed a resolution calling on DTSC to move forward with a clean-up to unrestricted standards of the toxic Zeneca site (which is adjacent to the Richmond Field Station) so that we are not held back in our economic revitalization of the South Gateway, including the development of LBNL’s 2nd campus.


But in addition to traditional models of economic development, we are also promoting alternative models by way of encouraging Richmond worker-owned cooperatives.  In 2011 we saw our first Richmond worker-owned coop get started.  That was the Liberty Ship Café, a healthy catering service owned collectively by Richmond residents.  This year we have continued to promote coops and are seeing a restaurant coop, a bike coop, an urban agriculture coop, an entertainment coop, and a solar installation coop in the works.  This style of economic development has a three-pronged benefit.  Worker Coops are 1. a source of job creation, 2. a source of local wealth-building, and 3. a source of workplace democracy. 


We also saw a non-profit emerge this year, the Richmond Revolving Loan fund, that is helping provide start-up money for local co-ops.


Job training continues to be an extremely high priority for us all.


RichmondBUILD, of course, continues to be a star program in the City as we train and steer our residents toward jobs in the new green economy.


But we’ve also seen some new advancements as part of our YouthWORKS program.  A big plus is that at that at the end of 2012 YouthWORKS moved into their own building at 2705 Macdonald Ave. 


Our 2012 Summer Youth Employment Program employed about the same number of Richmond youth as last year.  We had 263 youth receiving up to 100 hours of meaningful, career path work experience. 


The after-school Academic Program “Straight Talk on Prison” has provided academic support and community service learning to over 70 youth participants. In collaboration with the National Park Service, we saw the emergence of the “Hometown Richmond’ team working in gardens, urban agriculture locations, and planting trees through the community.


Our stellar LEAP program with its excellent staff, instructors and volunteers continues to provide intense learning opportunities so that their graduates succeed educationally, thereby enhancing their earning power.


Health and Sustainability Initiatives


In terms of policies and initiatives, our greatest accomplishment this year was on April 24, when we passed our 2030 General Plan based on health, sustainability and equity.  We now have a great blueprint for a healthy and vital urban landscape meeting the needs of our community as a whole!


Another great initiative occurred on June 19 when we voted to participate in Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) by joining Marin Energy Authority to provide customers with a choice of purchasing electricity with higher renewable energy content.


We’re excited that our R3 – Richmond Recovery Rebate Program provided $377,691 in rebates to residents, generating in the process $3,166,191 in total economic activity and an estimated 35 new, local jobs. For every $1 of R3 funds awarded to a project, $7.1 dollars were invested back into the local economy.


We are making great progress in the field of health and were selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Roadmaps to Health Prize finalist for innovative Community Health and Wellness strategies! 


We also have a new partnership called the Richmond Health Equity Partnership (RHEP), where we are partnering  with Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) and others and are engaging in various strategies and projects to advance full-service community schools and to track and measure health outcomes.   


We’ve also made progress on brownfield assessments to facilitate the development of community gardens and have shared Richmond’s experience with other cities as part of the California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities efforts.   Thank you to the community, to the Health Initiatives Team and everyone working to better the health or our community.


In the area of sustainable transportation, our “Easy Go Richmond” project just won a State Award from the Governor’s Office and is providing opportunities for car-sharing, bike sharing and electric and hybrid vehicle usage, as well as discounted public transportation passes.


Further sustainability efforts of course include the city’s various Compost and Tree Giveaways.  In partnership with Self Sustaining Communities and Richmond’s Cities of Service Program, 3,000 various fruit and olive trees were given away.  And Self-Sustaining Communities is continuing to outreach for more trees for our community from regional growers.


Community groups and non-profits, such as Urban Tilth, Groundwork Richmond and Richmond Trees have helped us beautify our neighborhoods and promote a healthier Richmond with the planting of new trees and growing of community gardens. 


And our Richmond Food Policy Council continues to explore ways of accessing healthier food for our community. 


We also participated in green tours for Richmond youth in conjunction with Lana Husser and Earth Team so that youth from various schools have an opportunity to see all the great sustainable initiatives we are engaged in. 


In addition, we’ve participated with the community in various healthy recreational activities and events such as the Walk to Nature led by Youth Enrichment Strategies and Bike to Work Day; and we celebrated the closing of a Bay Trail gap with the completion of the Wildcat Marsh Trail. 


Chevron Fire


Amid, all these wonderful things, let’s not forget the horrendous experience of the Chevron Refinery fire which sent 15,000 people to local hospital for treatment of respiratory issues and other health impacts of the fire.  We remain very concerned about the health and safety risk that this major refinery poses to our residents and to the greater Bay area.   I brought forward 2 resolutions in recent months, which the City Council approved, addressed the issue of Chevron’s rebuilding their Crude Unit where the fire occurred.  Concerns remain that they utilize the best technology available and that the highest safety precautions are put into place.  Some of us are watching very closely as more information unfolds.
We are also very concerned that Chevron be held totally accountable for the damage they have imparted on us which includes the health impact, the impact to land and property, and the impact to our City’s image.  Chevron has imparted great harm to our community by way of their pollution, their accidents, and frankly their impact on our elections and democracy for decades.  Many of us remain greatly concerned about all of this.


But while we are putting our nose to the grindstone and making sure that our health and safety isn’t put in jeopardy once again, we continue to develop and rise as a city with heart, mind and soul committed to transform ourselves and bring our dreams into fruition.


Arts/Culture/Festivals/Special events


One of the most profound ways we rise and transform ourselves is through arts, culture, festivals, and special city events.


Festivals and events are a reflection of our diversity and our outlook as a community and we had a flowering of such activities last year.  In addition to some of our now long-standing festivals such as Cinco de Mayo, Juneteenth, the Homefront Festival, National Night Out, and the North Shoreline festival, we had the joy of experiencing our 3rd Annual Native American Pow-Wow last summer….and the 2nd Annual Major Taylor Bike Fiesta organized by Building Blocks for Kids happened last year. 


Other new traditions, including the North Richmond Blues Festival and the North Richmond Green Festival, have continued to build community spirit and empowerment throughout North Richmond.  Our downtown Music on the Main concerts and Pt Richmond’s various music and arts festivals, have shown that we have no shortage of talent in the City of Richmond!


To add to that, we had a great Spirit and Soul Festival in downtown Richmond last summer where thousands of people filled out downtown to experience good food, entertainment and many wonderful vendors showcasing their wares.


In 2012, the 3th Annual Homelessness Conference also took place in Richmond, organized by Saffron Strand, a non-profit dedicated to helping homeless individuals find their way into healthy lifestyles with job opportunities.


Additionally, I am very proud of the continued success by my office and the community in organizing our International Women’s Day event.  Last year was our 5th Annual Sisters in Solidarity event which brought together more women than ever, who demonstrate by their solidarity the kind of Richmond that we can become and are becoming!  


The arts in Richmond continue to thrive with poetry and essay contests, as well as neighborhood arts projects.  This year the City Council established a Poet Laureate Program and we honored Dwayne Parish as our first Poet Laureate in Richmond! 


Creative groups of young people such as RAW Talent and the young people at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts continue to make us proud.


And….public arts murals took center stage in Richmond in 2012 as the Greenway has become transformed with beautiful murals alongside beautiful gardens.


New Volunteer Program


Impact volunteering program, managed and coordinated by Rochelle Monk, branded as “Excellence Serving our Community” with various initiatives already launched like the WriterCoach Connection at Richmond High School to address the writing achievement gap with one-on-one volunteers helping 120 students to improve literacy and writing skills. .  In December 2012, Youth Service America announced its selection of RichmondESCas a lead agency to engage and organize youth to lead projects that improve the Richmond community.


The official launch of theESCis on Feb 20 at 11:30 at Civic Center Plaza.


Youth empowerment


We have also seen that great organizing work around youth sports, activities, and education has taken a big step forward this year.  Our youth, with adult mentors, have shown that yes, they can advocate on their own behalf for more sports fields and more education and youth activities.  Richmond Pulse (a youth-run newspaper) continues to focus on positive happenings in Richmond with the determination of showcasing Richmond as a city with character and integrity. I’m thrilled that my office has worked with these groups to help them move their efforts forward and we will continue to do so.   We continue to work also with the RYSE Center and other youth-focused groups as we explore concrete ways to make sure the City sets the highest priority for youth needs in every decision made, including and especially funding decisions. 


The year ahead


There is much to be done in 2013.   While there will be many surprises, there are a few interesting projects on the near horizon:

  1. In the very near term, on February 4, we will consider filling the City Council seat vacancy.


  1. In the coming months, we will also see our Municipal ID implementation.  The contract should be signed in March and IDs are expected to be issued starting in June. 
  2. We also will see the unrolling of Community Choice Aggregation in Richmond, as we offer residents the option of being customers of MEA.


  1.  In addition to our annual Women’s Day event, my office will also be organizing a Youth Forum later this year that will bring together various youth groups to focus on how our Youth Can Help us build a Better Richmond.


  1. Another exciting effort underway is our Healthy Vendors Ordinance.  We hope to see this completed in 2013 to help stimulate our local economy by way of policies and incentives for healthy food vendors.


  1.  Other efforts underway for 2013 are the Plastic Bag Ordinance and the Climate Action Plan.


  1. Larger efforts, like review of LBNL’s plans and also Chevron Revised Renewal Project plans will of course continue as well.


  1. Efforts surrounding the clean-up of Pt Molate will continue as well, and hopefully the re-opening of Pt Molate Beach will be forthcoming soon, so we can all enjoy this beautiful area that we collectively own as a city and community!




In conclusion, these continue to be difficult, but also very interesting, times we live in.  As we all know, there is much controversy in the political climate of our city.  This controversy should not deter us at all, but only cause us all to look deep at what we want and need. 


I expect the City Council will continue to have different points of view.  I call on every member of the City Council to seek respectful ways to express these differences. 

The future of Richmond rests in many hands shaped by the participation of the community, its elected representatives and our City staff.   Social, environmental and economic justice must continue to be our compass.  We have much to be proud of, but what excites me, what inspires me, is the resiliency and spirit of our community.

So let’s dream big and work hard together in 2013.  We are in this together and together we will continue to open more doorways and overcome more and more challenges!


Thank you very much for your attention.


Op-Ed: ONS Director DeVone Boggan on Newtown, Richmond, and violence

Remain Vigilant Richmond!

By DeVone Boggan

There is an African Proverb that I am fond of quoting.  It says: “The experience of one generation becomes the history of the next, and the history of several generations becomes the traditions of a people.”

On December 14, 2012 like many Americans and peoples from around the world, I found myself once again extremely grieved by the horrible reality that gun violence IS in many of our American, particularly urban communities.  We here in Richmond experience and understand that reality far too well. Much too much! Much too often!

Like in Newtown, Connecticut, too many Richmond parents have experienced a kind of nightmare that no parent should ever have to experience, and countless more have been traumatized by such evil.

My respected elder and friend Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington D.C. recently noted that “since 1979 when gun death data were first collected by age, a shocking 119,079 children and teens have been killed by gun violence. That is more child and youth deaths inAmerica than American battle deaths in World War I (53,402) or inVietnam (47,434) or in the Korean War (33,739) or in the Iraq War (3,517).” She further asks “Where is our anti-war movement to protect youth from pervasive gun violence here at home?”

In Richmond, fourteen families have lost a loved one to the unspeakable horror of gun violence this year (2012). Where ONE is too many, fourteen is a travesty and utterly unacceptable! Although Richmond has experienced a trend towards fewer firearm related injuries and deaths over the past 5 years, we cannot rest, become complacent or halt our efforts to ensure that our city is healthier safer and as prosperous as it can be for everyone – where firearm related deaths are as uncommon and unlikely as snowfall is in Richmond during the coldest of winter months.  We as a community know that there is still a great deal more to be done and accomplished to reach our ideal state – absolutely no firearm related incidents and homicides, year in, year out – sustained! 

To reach such a wholesome state in Richmond, each and all of us must do more to stop this intolerable and wanton epidemic of gun violence.  As a community, we cannot continue to solely talk about, be angry about it, be divisive about it, politicize it, want money for it, want credit for it, we must BE about it. This also requires that we must collectively agree that this is what we want and deserve, and then we must believe that it is possible.

Furthermore, we who are working towards this ambitious goal must understand and clearly operate in such a way that we communicate in our doing that we understand that not one of us working to end this epidemic can do it alone.  There is no one strategy, agency, church, preacher, community based organization or super-person that can create the new reality that we seek here inRichmond.  The answer lies in first our example and humanity towards one another, and then our combined efforts and resources, the integration of a multitude of services, whether public, private, philanthropic or the indigenous, grassroots Richmond community assets working together to create the conditions that will help to produce our new reality – Healthy Kids, Healthy Families and Communities – A Healthy City!

I must remind us that the community of assets referenced above must also include those often identified and/or suspected as being commonly associated with and/or responsible for gun violence in our city.  In partnership, I am grateful for many of these identified young men who have been intentional and courageous about making healthier choices regarding their responses to the daily barrage of conflict they must confront simply because they live in a particular geography.  More and more they are rejecting the onslaught of bad advice, bad information, bad example and bad instruction that they’ve received and lived for much of their lives. We all benefit by their resisting spirit and intelligent humanity.  They too are helping us to do something that we cannot do successfully by ourselves.

In response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the President of the United States Barack Obama reminded us that “whether it’s an elementary school inNewtown or a shopping mall in Oregon or Colorado or a street corner in Chicago these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children.” On the streets of North, Central, and South Richmond, THESE ARE OUR Neighborhoods and our Youth and Young Adults, our Kids, our Future! The state of each of these is a reflection of our traditions. Our LEGACY!

The footprints that we leave behind, tells the future something about who we were. What will the footprints that we leave behind tell the future Richmond about our character, our integrity, our priorities and what and who was important to us? How we prepared, strengthened and protected our kids, youth and young adults?

If we do not immediately work to further and more resolutely create lived experiences where healthy eldership and mentorship takes responsibility for refining and reproducing the best of itself in the next generation, the traditions we pass on will not be strong enough to keep evil and chaos from destroying our children, our families, our communities.

So I say Rejoice during this Holiday Season, cherish and hug those you love, rejuvenate and get ready to BE and DO your part – Remain Vigilant Richmond!

DeVone Boggan serves as Neighborhood Safety Director and Director of the City of Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety.



Richmond homicides in 2012

 Here is a list up to date of the people who have lost their lives in violence in Richmond this year.

1) Jimmy Lai

57, Asian male

Stabbed Jan. 12, 1600 blk of McDonald Avenue

no suspects.


2) Edwin Martinez

22, Hispanic male

Shot Jan. 23, 2100 blk of Nevin Ave.

Suspect named – DA did not file


3) Frank Potts

24, black male

Shot Feb. 4, 1700 blk of Chanslor Ave.

No arrests


4) Tiye Freeman

24, black female

Stabbed Feb. 5, 300 blk of Sixth Street

Suspect in custody


5) Rene Garcia

25, Hispanic male

Shot Feb. 21, 1400 blk of Kelsey Street

Suspect in custody


6) William Cantrell

23, white male

Shot 2900 blk of Florida Ave.

No arrests.


7) Bonny Morris

54, black male

Shot Mar. 28, 1500 blk of Virginia Ave.

No arrests.


8 )  Donald Washington

27, black male

Shot May 16, 500 blk of Eighth Street

No arrests.


9) Caleb Smith

24, black male

Shot June 5, 4600 blk of Overend Ave.

No arrests.


10) Emmanuel Miranda

19, male

Shot June 22, 37th Street/Nevin Ave.

No arrests.


11) Ulysses Grijalva

16, Hispanic male

Shot August 5, 200 block of West MacDonald Ave.

No arrests.


12) Jamonte Barrett

34, black male

Shot toon Aug. 17 in the 4700 block of Hartnett Avenue.

No arrests.


13) Javier Campos

38, Hispanic male

Shot September 1, 2300 block of Barrett Ave.

Suspect in custody 


14) Isaiah Thomas Jr.

27, black male

shot. sept. 12, 600 block of 17th Street

Suspect in custody


15) Van Hopkins Jr.

23, black male

Shot, Sept. 24, 23rd Street and Gaynor Avenue

No arrests


16) Lavelle Wallace

37, black male

Shot, Nov. 21, 500 block Fifth Street

no arrests.


17) Armon Brown Jr.

22, black male

Shot, Nov. 23, 500 block Fifth Street


18) Unknown name

32, male

Shot, Nov. 28



Mayor McLaughlin to host annual memorial for Richmond victims Friday night


We will be gathering at the Madeline F. Whittlesey room (adjoining the Civic Center library) tomorrow – Friday November 30th from 5:30pm -6:30pm. The program will allow time to hear from the mayor and other community members. We welcome your voice, your thoughts your camaraderie as we stand together honoring those whose lives were lost to homicide, and stand together to continue to work to reduce violence in our city.