For Richmond held a community celebration last Thursday to mark the successful completion of its first year and sought community input on how to build a healthier, safer and more prosperous Richmond.More than 250 people crowded into the auditorium at DeJean Middle School to learn about coalition, and talk about upcoming projects, including advocacy for a Family Justice Center, a one-stop-shop for local victims of domestic violence.“This is our introduction to this community,” said Richmond Police Detective Hector Esparza, who serves as For Richmond’s public safety chair. “People have heard about For Richmond, and this is our chance to let people know what we’re all about.”
Among those attending the event were County Supervisor John Gioia; Richmond City Councilmen Jael Myrick, Corky Booze and Nat Bates, local school President Madeline Kronenberg, For Richmond’s education chair; community college district Board Member John Marquez; schools’ Superintendent Dr. Bruce Harter; and Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus.
Guests took an electronic survey on what issues they would like For Richmond to tackle. Results showed the community wants the coalition to help improve local job training and apprenticeship programs, increase educational opportunities and boost resources for small business development.
“For Richmond is really a fantastic opportunity to come together around a whole series of really important issues, projects and ideas that are related to one another in terms of being the future of Richmond,” said Police Chief Magnus.
In the past year, For Richmond has not only increased access to science and math education and programming in local schools but also helped several students get into college and receive full scholarships to schools of their choice.
“For Richmond made it possible for my son, Blake, to go to college,” said local resident Donna Smith, whose son will attend Coppin State in Baltimore this fall on a full scholarship thanks, in part, to For Richmond’s advocacy and support.
Superintendent Harter echoed that support, telling the audience that students in Richmond have been tremendously lucky to have had For Richmond on their side this year.
“We need community-based organizations like For Richmond that have the heart of what Richmond needs at the forefront of everything they do,” he said.