Re-elect Mayor Gayle McLaughlin Re-elect Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

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Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 237-1456
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June, 2009
Message from Mayor McLaughlin

Dear Friends,

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.

The delegation 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 partners.

Monserrat 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 Project.

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 in building bridges to create a better Richmond and a better world.

Please join us and give generously to this valuable experience for these student leaders in our community.

Write checks to: Richmond Progressive Alliance

Send to:

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 our world.

Sincerely, Gayle


PO Box 5284,  Richmond, CA 94805
(510) 237-1456   •
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