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Issue: # 18April 10, 2010
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Re-Elect Gayle McLaughlin
Van Jones
Nativo Lopez-Vigil
Jeff Ritterman
Shiloh Singers
 Saturday,  April 17     1-3 PM
Re-elect Mayor Gayle McLaughlin    
 1021 Macdonald Ave
Van Jones
Nativo Lopez-Vigil
Jeff Ritterman
Shiloh Singers 
 (see below for more information)
Gayle McLaughlin's 2006 election as Mayor of Richmond marked an important change in Richmond politics. It is time again to give her our support and vote.

Her combination of leadership, dedication, hard work, incorruptibility, and commitment to principles have made all Richmond citizens stand taller.  Gayle insists that city government should serve to unify its citizens and advance their interests over those of multi-national corporations and developers.  Her hard work and attention to detail has meant Richmond has made strides in protecting our air, water, property values, and most importantly, our kids while attracting new green jobs to the city.

The politics of real change that Gayle represents has drawn wide attention. Nationally known leaders are speaking at her rally.  They know that what is happening in Richmond is leading the way for what must happen in the rest of the country.  Please join us at this kick-off meeting. Show your support.

See Gayle's new election web site  www.MayorGayle.net

Van Jones  
 Van Jones
In March 2009 Anthony "Van" Jones was appointed by President Barack Obama to the newly-created position of Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, where he worked with various "agencies and departments to advance the administration's climate and energy initiatives, with a special focus on improving vulnerable communities." Jones resigned from the position in  September, 2009. "On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me," Jones said in his resignation statement. "They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide."

Jones  is an nationally known environmental advocate, civil rights activist and attorney. He is a co-founder of three successful non-profit organizations. In 1996 he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, a California non-governmental organization (NGO) working for alternatives to violence. In 2005 he co-founded Color of Change, an advocacy group for African Americans. In 2007 he founded Green For All, a national NGO dedicated to "building an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty." His first book, The Green Collar Economy, was released on October 7, 2008, and reached number 12 on the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2008, Time magazine named Jones one of its "Heroes of the Environment." Fast Company called him one of the "12 Most Creative Minds of 2008"

Jones is currently a senior fellow at the Center For American Progress and a senior policy advisor at Green For All. Jones also holds a joint appointment at Princeton University, as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

He is a friend of  Richmond, Ca and its people and a supporter of "Solar Richmond."  He  spoke at the inaugural ceremony of Mayor McLaughlin in January of 2007.
Nativo Lopez-Vigil

Nativo Lopez-Vigil is a national Chicano political leader and immigrant rights activist.
Lopez is the president of the Mexican American Political Association and the national director of the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, a community service and advocacy organization for Mexican and Latin American immigrants throughout the United States. Based in Southern California , his importance in Los Angeles politics has been compared by the Los Angeles Times to that of Al Sharpton in New York and Jesse Jackson in Chicago.

Lopez, born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, grew up in Norwalk, California. He became an activist in 1968, inspired by Bert Corona and Cesar Chavez. He organized student walk-outs from high schools in order to demonstrate for education reform. He was involved in successful efforts to win a large-scale amnesty for undocumented immigrants 1986, and in campaigns to allow them to obtain drivers' licenses in the 1990s.

Lopez was one of the organizers of  the 2006 United States immigration reform protests, both the March 25, 2006 demonstration in Los Angeles, and the Great American Boycott on May 1, 2006, which mobilized over a million people in Los Angeles on each ocassion.
On April 13, 2006, Lopez appeared on Lou Dobbs' television show, where he argued that "illegal immigrant" is an offensively racist term on par with "N" word.
Lopez assisted in the foundation of the National Alliance for Immigrants' Rights, a group founded on similar positions on immigration. Lopez is one of the main national spokespeople of the immigrant rights movement.
He supports open borders for commerce, capital, and labor, and immediate amnesty for all undocumented immigrants, and iron-clad labor protections for all workers, particularly immigrant workers, especially the right to organize a union of their choosing. In moving towards this goal, he has argued for a strategy of working-class mobilization, demonstrations, and strikes, and electoral politics and lobbying.


Jeff Ritterman

Jeff RittermanJeff Ritterman, well known in the Richmond community, has served area residents' health needs for almost 30 years. He is a Senior Cardiologist at Kaiser Richmond as well as the Vice-Mayor of Richmond. Jeff has a long history of supporting people fighting back against oppression and injustice. He is a leader of SF Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility.

He is also a leader who thinks outside the box and searches for long range solutions to our problems.  He has championed urban agriculture as a way to bring both healthy foods, a sustainable environment, and jobs to the people of Richmond. He has worked hard to bring industries like Cybertran to Richmond.  He has promoted alternative approaches to addressing gang violence among young people.  He is a co-founder of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.

Jeff is also known for insisting that people look at the big picture. Most of the problems we face are the result of the growing inequality in our society. He has brought Van Jones work and  that of experts on social equality to the attention of the city council. In Jeff's words:

I'm a cardiologist, a heart doctor.  It's very satisfying work.  I'm well paid to take care of lovely people who appreciate the care I give. It's s really more of a calling than a job.  It's been a privilege to serve the Richmond community as a doctor.  But, it has its limitations.  I can only help one person at a time.  Good social policy can improve the health of the entire community.

We are living in a time when the gap between the very rich and everyone else is widening drastically.  It is a time when the middle class is steadily shrinking and the underclass is fighting just to stay alive.  It is a time of alarming climate change and environmental devastation.  It is also a time when our national leadership has failed us badly.

Shiloh Singers

Shiloh SingersRichmond's Shiloh Singers are composed of family members who are dedicated to singing songs of a sacred nature. Years of vocal and instrumental study led to the development of a new sound that combines contemporary jazz with gospel.

The talented family of five singers, Elizabeth Sims-Whitson, Abigail Sims-Evelyn, Melita Sims-Agbabiaka, Absylom Sims, Israel Sims began performing in 1979. They were joined by a sixth vocalist Kevin Whitson in 1990 and formed a musical group with five other musicians in 1996.

They have performed in the Bay Area for Alex Haley, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Rosa Parks and Ms. Ruby Dee. Shiloh has been featured at commencement exercises at the West Contra Costa School District and  the University of California at Berkeley and California State university at Hayward.  They have performed for the City of Richmond and El Cerrito Juneteenth Festival, Watermelon Festival, the famous Monterey Jazz Festival and numerous community events.

Over the past decade they have hosted annual benefits to raise the awareness about the challenges faced by our youth on a daily basis.  The raving reviews of audiences at the Black Repertory Theater, Allen Temple Baptist Church, La Pena Cultural Art Center, The Fort Mason Center and numerous other locations have let them know that Shiloh's mission has been a success.

See the Shiloh Singers website.

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 the 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, 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.


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