Leaders intervene to save North Richmond senior center

N E W S  RELEASE from office of John Gioia:

Contra Costa County
JOHN GIOIA (joy-a)
District One
Board of Supervisors

For more information contact:
Luz Gomez – Deputy Chief of Staff
Office 510-231-8689
Cell 925-785-2439

October 17, 2013

North Richmond Senior Center Saved from Closure

North Richmond, Calif.,
North Richmond seniors can now breathe a sigh of relief.  For months, residents in this tight-knit community feared that a pending foreclosure would shut-down their beloved senior center. Now, thanks to efforts by Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia and key community leaders, the North Richmond Multicultural and Family Center (aka the Senior Center) will remain open after a last-minute short-sale averted foreclosure.

The transaction, which closed on October 15, ensures the continuation of services and transfers ownership of the building to the non-profit Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC). Earlier this month, Supervisor Gioia obtained approval by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to use $156,830 in Park Dedication funds to enable CHDC to purchase the building and save the senior center.  Lloyd Madden, Neighborhood House President and CEO, negotiated the short sale price on behalf of their new Board of Directors.

Neighborhood House of North Richmond (“Neighborhood House”) has operated the senior center for nearly 30 years providing residents a safe place to gather for social, recreational, family, and civic events. The center is the hub and heart of the community.

In recent years, Neighborhood House experienced a severe financial crisis leading the building’s mortgage holder to begin foreclosure proceedings due to missed payments. “We came together and brought resources to the table to keep this important community center open” Supervisor Gioia said.

The Park Dedication funds can be used to meet local park and recreation needs, including senior and community centers. According to the County Assessor’s records, the current assessed value of the property is in excess of $325,000.

Through the efforts of Supervisor John Gioia’s Office, Congressman George Miller’s Office, Community Housing Development Corporation, and Neighborhood House of North Richmond, the current mortgage holder agreed to the short sale enabling the transaction. A plan is in place for continued services to seniors and other residents of North Richmond.

“Losing the senior center would have been like losing a beloved family member,” said Corrine Sain, the Center’s Director for the past 29 years. “The entire community depends on us to be here to serve them. I thank Supervisor Gioia, the County, and everyone who helped us to stay open.”



Free North Richmond Green festival set for Saturday


You are invited to attend the “4th Annual North Richmond Green Festival,” which will take place this Saturday, October 19, 2013 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the Shields Reid Park and Community Center located on 1410 Kelsey Street in Richmond, California. This will be a free, family friendly, outdoor event, to celebrate efforts that are being made to improve the environment and the health of the community.


The festival will follow a beautification project where volunteers will plant flowers in target locations at the Shields Reid Community Center and at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church.

Once the festival begins at 10:00am, the highlights of this community event will include giveaways such as free food, free blueberry bushes, pomegranate trees, olive trees, t-shirts, and reusable water bottles, along with live entertainment, arts and crafts, wild animal tours, jumpers, informational booths and more…


Click here for flyer: 2013-GreenFestival-Flyer-N To register as a volunteer, or for more information, please contact, Carla Orozco, at 510-776-7568, or at carlaorozco@live.com.


Please come join us for a healthy day filled with family fun and community enjoyment!!



North Richmond Music Festival coming July 20


Greater Richmond Interfaith Program                               

165 22nd St. Richmond Ca, 94804                              

Phone: 510-233-2141                                                                    





Dear community business partner:                                                                      


This year the Greater Richmond Interfaith Organization and our North Richmond community will present our “Fourth Annual North Richmond Music Festival.”


This will be an outdoor event that will take place on Saturday, July 20, 2013 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Shields Reid Community Center, located at 1410 Kelsey Street, Richmond, California.


The community event will feature the legendary, local, and internationally known Johnny Rawls. There will be other acts as well by musicians such as Tia Carroll, and Willie G.


The purpose of this special event is to honor some of our great musical artists who have roots in our Richmond area and to provide an opportunity for our Richmond residents to come together for a free day of clean, wholesome, family fun. Free food and other activities to interact with the community will be available at this event as well.


Our goal is to re-acquaint our community with some of its rich, musical heritage, and to establish an annual event that will contribute to the ongoing improvements of our community.


We need your support to help make this happen. We are asking you to help us with a tax-deductible donation for food, drinks, and raffle prizes for the event.


The tax-deductible donation can be mailed to the fiscal agent of this event known as the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP), which is a 501-(c)(3) organization, located at 165 22nd Street Richmond, Ca 94801. Tax ID# 23-7169239.



If you have any questions or require further information please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Carla Orozco, fundraising coordinator, at 510-776-7568 or carlaorozco@live.com.


We thank you for your time and consideration.








Carla Orozco,


Fundraising Coordinator


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: 2001 profile of Rev. Andre Shumake

Jan. 14, 2001:

Author: Shawn Masten 
RICHMOND From a windowless office at the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church, the Rev. Andre Shumake speaks rousingly about the role the church can play in healing the plague of violence ravaging Richmond‘s families and streets.
He clasps his hands together prayer-like, his black eyes beam and sometimes well with tears, as he talks about how the churches can help mend broken hearts and troubled minds by taking a leap of faith together.
There is such a state of hopelessness among some of the young men and women of this city,” Shumake said. “The church can restore hope. That’s our role. That’s what we’re supposed to do. But it takes collaboration. When you bring all the entities together, things will change.”


To that end, Shumake has called an eclectic group of nearly 100 religious, business and community leaders to a gathering in the city’s Iron Triangle neighborhood Thursday to begin setting an agenda for the churches of Richmond that focuses on solving the economic woes of its residents. 

The meeting comes with the city set to embark on hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of development, a rebirth that promises to bring thousands of new jobs and residents to Richmond

It also comes with residents still grieving over the recent shooting deaths of three teen-agers in south Richmond and one near Richmond High School just across the city line in San Pablo. 

Shumake does not want the churches to just preach peace from the pulpit but also to throw their doors open wide in a collaborative effort to improve the community’s spiritual and economic vitality. 

“We are in the midst of a spiritual explosion in the city of Richmond and across the country,” Shumake said. “You hear people crying out, What can I do?’ and it’s an awesome thing to witness. You have so many people saying the same thing. Now they are coming together. Now is the time. What you are going to see is the church in action.” 

Ministers from at least 20 churches of various denominations have been invited to Thursday’s meeting. 

It will start with a moment of silence for the slain youths. 

“The pastors of this city have a vision,” said Shumake. “We’re trying to bring that vision together and do the work that we’ve been called to do.” 

Speakers will include Richmond Police Chief Joseph Samuels, Ruby Hamilton of the Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department, Landon Williams of the San Francisco Foundation’s FAITHS Initiative and Debra Carter-Kelly of Pacific Bell. 

The keynote speaker will be Aubry Stone of the California Black Chambers of Commerce. City Manager Isiah Turner will be the master of ceremonies. 

Participants will learn how churches can form nonprofit corporations to help develop affordable housing and launch commercial endeavors like grocery stores, banks and pharmacies to bring services and jobs to inner-city neighborhoods. 

Shumake also envisions developing faith-based mentoring programs for youths and adults, with churches throughout the city helping to provide job training and classes on parenting, budgeting, literacy and African-American history. 

“If we want to curb the violence we have to provide some economic incentives,” Shumake said. “For those young men and women on the streets, it’s about economics. They’re making money out there. If we can treat them with dignity and respect, if we can provide them with positive alternatives, I believe the community will rise to the occasion.” 

Shumake believes that even if just a few of the city’s 112 churches get involved, they can make a difference. 

Fellow Richmond ministers agreed. 

“The churches are the ones who have the most pull on the community,” said Bishop Marion Pride, a resident of the Iron Triangle and former president of the neighborhood council. “The pastors have more outreach to them than anyone else in the community.” 

“The churches, the ministers are interested in the whole man,” said the Rev. Joseph Harold, pastor of the Parchester First Baptist Church. “Not just his salvation, but his living condition and everything else.” 

The approach reflects a growing movement of churches joining with government officials and social service organizations to help address society’s ills with means that go beyond prayer. 

Churches in Los Angeles have teamed up with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to take over abandoned and blighted properties for the creation of apartments and housing for AIDS sufferers and low-income families. 

Church leaders in New York’s Harlem have banded together to raise awareness and federal funding in the fight against the AIDS epidemic in the black community. 

In Nashville, Tenn., church leaders have come up with a plan to create a center where immigrants and their children can learn English or computer skills or be tutored. 

Contra Costa is no exception. The county spent about $300,000 last year on collaborative social service projects with churches and religious organizations. 

The spirit of cooperation also is behind the work of the Greater Richmond Interfaith Project, or GRIP. Formed in 1966 in response to growing racial unrest and other social issues, the group of 27 East Bay congregations now provides social services, including a winter shelter program. 

Even President-elect Bush has recognized the importance of the churches as a provider of social services, proposing to add an Office of Faith-Based Programs to work with churches and charities that aid the needy. 

California’s 1998 welfare-to-work legislation has spurred the trend by explicitly stating that counties should seek to work with religious organizations in developing job training, child care and other programs to aid the transition. 

Nonprofit groups are also working more with church groups. 

The San Francisco Foundation has been providing grant money and technical assistance to faith-based organizations for seven years, said Williams, director of the foundations’ FAITHS Initiative, which includes about 350 congregations in five Bay Area counties. 

The initiative recently helped the Easter Hill Methodist Church buy an ailing commercial property on Cutting Boulevard and open a thrift store that not only supports the church financially but also has helped revitalize the area. 

Shumake knows firsthand the secular success a church can have working with government and social service organizations. 

For two years, Shumake’s church has helped Contra Costa County and Neighborhood House of North Richmond wean residents off welfare. 

More than 600 residents have landed full-time jobs by way of the North Richmond Community Career and Resource Center at his church, Shumake said. 

Shumake also has been an outspoken advocate of change as president of the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, a residents’ group that oversees one of the city’s most troubled and crime-plagued neighborhoods. 

“I see firsthand the problems of homelessness, teen pregnancy and gentrification,” Shumake said. “If we want to solve those problems, we have to get the churches to open their doors for after-school tutoring programs and child care, parenting classes and financial tutoring.” 

Proselytizing is forbidden at the career center, Shumake added. “We can’t inquire what one’s faith is. But we can show love through our actions. That’s the church in action.” 

City Manager Turner said the churches could be integral to his mission of making Richmond more vital and prosperous. 

“There’s been money set aside for faith-based organizations to prepare people for work and create economic development opportunities in the community that center on transitioning people from a lower economic rung to a higher economic rung.” 

Councilman Gary Bell said he can see the advantages of a loose-knit partnership between the city and its churches, as long as city funding doesn’t go to them directly. 

“I would not envision the city actually being involved with them as a funder or with setting an agenda,” Bell said. “But I would see them communicating with the city and saying, Here’s what we are willing to do. What is the city willing to do to assist to us reach our goals?'” 

Shumake acknowledged that city government alone can’t improve what ails Richmond neighborhoods: 

“Historically the African-American church has been at the forefront of every movement. It’s time now for the church to be out in front of the changes that are taking place and need to take place in Richmond.” 

Such collaborations can occur without violating the separation of church and state, said county Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond

“There are ways that it can be done without funding going directly to the church but that support the work that needs to be done,” Gioia said. “If a youth group in church wants to help teach art at an elementary school after school, that’s not about religion. That’s about utilizing the resources of a church to provide a service.” 


Photo. The Rev. Andre Shumake believes churches working together can help end violence in Richmond. (Herman Bustamante Jr./Times). Breakout. Meeting information. Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council, 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nevin Community Center, 598 Nevin Ave., Richmond.


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.


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.



North Richmond toy giveaway set for Thursday at noon

Take you kids out today for Christmas celebration and giveaway:

The Center for Human Development will have a Toy giveaway on Thursday, December 20, 2012, from 12:00pm to 2:00 pm, at 1410 Kelsey Street, Richmond,CA (inside the Shields-Reid Community Center. Children must be present to receive a toy. First come first served. Any questions, call (510) 234-5359.

Christmas toy giveaway named for legendary North Richmond figure set for Dec. 16


The Charles Reid Foundation


What:             65th Annual Charles R. Reid Memorial Christmas Party


When:            Sunday,December 16, 2012


Where:           RichmondPALCommunity Center

                       2200 Macdonald Avenue,Richmond,CA94804


Who:              Children between 2 – 12 years old with Parents


Time:              12:00 PM –4:00 PM


Cont:              Todd Lewis(510)236-8520




The Charles Reid Christmas Party is an annual event that was originated in 1947 by the late Mr. Charles Reid to offer Christmas Toys to underprivileged kids in the Richmond Community.  We are proud to announce this year’s event will be our 65th consecutive year.


This event has passed though generations of families inRichmondand surrounding communities.  We provided Christmas Toys and a visit with Santa for families whom are truly needy during the holiday season.


During the past 65 years, this event has been a cornerstone to the families ofRichmondand surrounding communities. Since the inception of the event, we have served approximately 1000 – 2000 children each year with toys, fruits, candies, cookies, stockings and entertainment.  We are hoping to assist all those in need during this Christmas season.


Our Sponsors


Chevron Richmond                        Omega Pacific Electrical Supply, Inc.     Stifel Nicolaus

Mechanics Bank                  San Francisco Fire Toy Program              Richmond PAL

Marriott Richmond


Annual Christmas toy and coat event Friday at Verde Elementary in North Richmond


JOHN GIOIA (joy-a) | Contra Costa County | Board of Supervisors | District One 11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D | El Cerrito, CA 94530 | (510) 374-3231 www.cocobos.org/gioia For Immediate Release December 13, 2012 For more information contact: Luz Gomez, Deputy Chief of Staff – 510-374-3231 Office; 925-785-2439

What: Annual Verde Elementary School Toy and Coat Distribution

When: Friday, December 14, 2012; 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Where: Verde Elementary School, 2000 Giaramita Street, N. Richmond, CA

Why: More than 300 kindergarden – 6th graders at Verde Elementary School will be receiving a new coat and wrapped present at tomorrow’s toy & coat give–away.

Verde Elementary School is located in the East Bay unincorporated community of North Richmond in Contra Costa County, which is considered to be one of the most impoverished communities in the Bay Area.

County Supervisor John Gioia, whose West County District includes North Richmond, has been organizing the toy and coat distribution for the last 14 years.

This year, more than 20 volunteers to help sort and wrap items, and donations from the public totaling nearly $8000 have made the event possible. The toy & coat give-away will begin at 9 a.m. Toys will be located in the school’s multi-purpose room. Coats will be given at the library.