Among the many projects we have ongoing in Richmond
are Sister City relationships with a few cities in other
parts of the world. One of these Sister City relationships
we have developed is with the City of Regla, Cuba. Through
the educational and cultural work of our Richmond/Regla
Sister City Committee, this relationship has created
a rich cultural exchange between Richmond and Regla.
Richmond and Regla have much
in common; both are cities with ports and oil refineries.
Regla is across Havana Bay from Havana, not unlike Richmond
is across San Francisco Bay from San Francisco. And Regla,
like Richmond, has a large black community -- it is known
as a center of Afro-Cuban music and dance.
I will be leading the 2nd official delegation
from Richmond to Regla in November of this year (November
7 - 17, 2009). The first official delegation occured
10 years ago. A delegation from Regla also came to visit
us here in Richmond several years ago. Given some new
federal policies opening up relations with Cuba, we are
excited to be embarking on this trip, and we expect future
trips from US Sister Cities to Cuba to occur more frequently
in the future.
I will be leading in November will focus on education,
culture, health, and global warming. This "people to people" experience
will serve as a time of education, inspiration, learning
from each other, and visualizing the better world we
want to share. We have received Congressman George Miller's
support for this trip and his assistance in acquiring
a travel license to Cuba.
Four high school students will be
part of this delegation. This will be a great opportunity
for these young people, who will be documenting their
experiences by way of written commentary, as well as
producing a video of their experiences on the trip.
Here is a little bit about these 4 youth:
Norma Bautista is a Richmond High
School student in the 11th grade. She is a lead student
organizer with Youth Together, a youth-led organization
out of Richmond HIgh, promoting issues of peace, unity,
and justice. She is very much involved in school-change
campaigns and in finding solutions to education problems
and addressing the roots of educational inequities.
Darlene Saechao is a Kennedy High
student. She is involved with the ACET (Architecture,
Construction, Engineering and Technology) Academy and
also with Y-PLAN (Youth - Plan, Learn, Act Now). She
participated in the 2008-09 Y-PLAN which came up with
ideas and planning for Nystrom Village, a joint project
of the City of Richmond, the School District and other
Armendaris-Ibarria is in the 11th grade and attends
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. She is an
outstanding dance student in multiple dance forms,
an assistance dance instructor, and an actress. She
has engaged in the Center's "Building
Healthy Families Program" and in the Iron Triangle Legacy
Valerie Jameson is a 12th grader
at Middle College High School and part of Xicana Youth
Organizing group, a group that supports political engagement
and community. She is part of the RYSE (a youth center
in Richmond) leadership team and also part of the leadership
of her high school.
I would like to ask
for your help with the cost of traveling expenses for
these 4 youth. Each student is responsible for traveling
expenses of a little over 2 thousand dollars. Although
they each are doing some fundraising on their own, I
am putting out this fundraising appeal, on behalf of
these youth, to all of you. Contributions of all sizes
are welcome. The Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA)
is joining me in this fundraising effort. Many of you
are familiar with the great work and successes of the
Richmond Progressive Alliance www.richmondprogressivealliance.net
in building bridges to create a better Richmond and a
Please join us and give generously to this valuable
experience for these student leaders in our community.
Write checks to: Richmond Progressive Alliance
Richmond Progressive Alliance P.O. Box 160 - Station
A Richmond, CA 94808-0160
All checks will be acknowledged upon
receipt and I will report back to all contributors on
the total amount of money collected through this effort.
Of course, I will be extending invitations to all of
you to come hear the presentations of these young people
upon our return.
Thank you all for your ongoing support for a better
Richmond and for better inter-relationships throughout