RPA Activist Info Masthead
Issue: #103February 5, 2012
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Jael Myrick Appointed
Richmond Story: Te's Harmony
Call Mr. Robeson
Video: Stopping Jail Expansion in Contra Costa
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1021 Macdonald, 510-412-2260


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RPA Backs Compromise
Jael Myrick Appointed to Council
Jael Myrick
New Council Member Jael Myrick


The RPA actively supported Eduardo Martinez as the best choice to fill the Council vacancy.  Eduardo worked hard, submitted his ideas, record, and person for voter scrutiny.  He received almost as many votes as Gary Bell despite the well-financed smear campaign by Chevron. Eduardo has a commitment to the residents of Richmond and a willingness to stand up for principle. He would have helped the Council reflect the diversity of Richmond and given greater voice to the Latino community which is now the largest ethnic group in the city.


There was full house at the Council meeting and a majority of public speakers spoke eloquently in support of Eduardo. Mayor McLaughlin and Councilmembers Butt and Beckles supported Eduardo. However, Councilman Rogers, who claims to be concerned about the role of corporations in politics, abstained so there were not the four votes necessary to select Eduardo.


In his candidate statement Eduardo explained how costly a special election would be to the city and encouraged the Council to come together to agree on a candidate.   


We agree and support the decision of Mayor McLaughlin and Councilmembers Beckles and Butt to vote for a compromise candidate when it became clear that Eduardo could not get the necessary votes. Their votes, added to Rogers' vote, gave Jael Myrick the seat. Jael will be sworn in at tonight's city council meeting.


We believe that a special election would have severely damaged Richmond.  We went through a divisive election last November and will have another election in less than two years.  A special election would have added another 4 months of bitter divisiveness with more Chevron smears.  It would have diverted the attention of the city from the pressing issues before us in dealing with jobs, the Chevron rebuild, and safety.


Nor would a special election under the current circumstances have been fair.  Chevron had already paid for expensive surveys, hired consultants and was ready with its deep pockets to pay for an election.  Grass roots organizations do not have sufficient time to raise funds and organize a campaign on such short notice.


Altogether, 12 individuals put their names in as candidates for appointment, and we heard many excellent presentations. We hope that they will continue to participate in city affairs. Many of the statements from the 45 people who sat through the long meeting to speak were eloquent and insightful. Video of the meeting will be available on KCRT.


We look forward to the new Council working on the issues that face Richmond.

RPA Statement


Saturday, February 9,  6 pm

RAW Talent Presents...

"Te's Harmony"

Performing Arts Theater-El Cerrito High School
540 Ashbury Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530

RICHMOND - "Te's Harmony" is a spoken word theater piece written and performed by RAW Talent, the creative arts department of the Making Waves Education Program, and directed by Rooben Morgan.

Members of RAW Talent will present their modern-day rendition of "Romeo and Juliet" for the stage, reworking the Shakespearean masterpiece into an allegory for the socio-economic conditions haunting their city and their daily lives. It is the classic tale of star-crossed lovers when Te' from North Richmond falls for Harmony from Central, and they must fight for love in the midst of a war that has devastated their community for too long.

The students of RAW Talent have been deeply impacted by violence in Richmond, and they are determined to continue demanding change through their art. After putting on poetry shows and town hall discussions around gun violence, poverty and the prison industrial complex, they have decided to address these issues facing their community through a new medium: theater. The students and staff have written their first play, a heart-breaking and at times humorous reflection of daily life in Richmond. "Te's Harmony" will push the boundaries of artistic genres, and ultimately push the audience to question the culture of violence in our city; to re-imagine Richmond through the lens of love.

While the play serves as a call to action for the audience, we will also move beyond the stage and have anti-violence community organizations onsite to offer resources and volunteer opportunities for those who are moved by what they see. We are also very excited to announce our key-note speaker who will open the evening- well known author, poet and activist, Luis J. Rodriguez. Rodriguez has witnessed first-hand how communities can be transformed through creative expression.

"'Te's Harmony' is just such an example of how the arts energize and harmonize. How naturally and poignantly young people turn to words, stories, songs, or performance, especially in the most dire and derelict of places. In the shadows can come much light, much music, much truth." -Luis J. Rodriguez

"Te's Harmony" will be a mash-up of theater, poetry, dance, music and film, remixing Shakespearean verse with spoken word and Richmond vernacular. The script pays homage to the cannon while honoring and centering the language of Richmond youth. We will be publishing "Te's Harmony" as a book with Red Beard Press, a youth-run publishing press in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We believe that the script could be used by English teachers nation-wide as supplemental curriculum alongside "Romeo and Juliet", to engage students in the classic story and help them make connections between the text and their lived realities.

*Teachers and youth workers who want to bring groups can contact RAW Talent coordinator Molly Raynor at mraynor@making-waves.org or (734)395-5899 for more info on group discounts.





Article on "Te's Harmony" (by Richmond Confidential):


Sunday  Feb 24,  7.30pm 3 pm and 7pm  in RICHMOND  


Call Mr. Robeson 


Call Mr. Robeson. A life, with songs.
Call Mr. Robeson. A life, with songs.

Paul Robeson is a great and famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner.


When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment's liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.


Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threaten to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he is summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career.


The play is a roller coaster journey through Robeson's remarkable and eventful life, and highlights how his radical activism caused him to be disowned and disremembered, even by the leaders and descendants of the civil rights movement.  


It features much fiery oratory and some of his famous songs, including a dramatic rendition of Ol' Man River.


"FIRST RATE" 4 Stars Michael Billington, The Guardian


"A TRIUMPH"  BroadwayWorld.com

"INSPIRING"  British Theatre Guide, October 2011


Written and Performed by Tayo Aluko
Directed by Olusola Oyeleye
Designed by Phil Newman



What: Call Mr. Robeson. A life, with songs. Written and Performed by Tayo Aluko, with Tammy Hall, Piano.
Directed by Olusola Oyeleye, Designed by Phil Newman
Show length: 80 minutes (no intermission)

Where: East Bay Center for Performing Arts Theater,
339 11th Street, Richmond, CA 94801-3105
When : Sunday Feb 24, at 3 pm and 7 pm
BOOKING: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/305971
Tel: 1-800-838-3006



Stopping Jail Expansion in Contra Costa
Stopping Jail Expansion in Contra Costa

RPA Activist Info

is for Richmond community members who want to be active in taking on the problems of the environment, racism, joblessness, housing, and crime to create a healthy Richmond. We believe that community involvement means more than voting every two years. It means regular communication with the candidates we elect, letting them know our issues and positions, supporting them as they try to take our issues forward. It means we attend meetings, use email, phone our neighbors, or go on marches building an organized movement to create real change.

Comments and columns are welcome. Articles and columns are the views of the author, unsigned text  the views of the editor, Mike Parker, and not necessarily those of the RPA. Send photos, articles, and comments to  RPAactivist@gmail.com or call  510-595-4661. Longer articles of analysis and archives of past newsletters can be found on our website.