Violent crime and gun violence are the very opposite of a thriving community. As Michael Paul Williams recently wrote, a community that cannot protect its children’s safety is a community that is failing.
Tragically, there have been other Markiya Dicksons—other innocent Richmond children whose deaths have shocked the community and inspired calls for action. Some action has been taken. But clearly, it’s not enough.
We must not only remember Markiya Dickson now, we must remember her and all victims when we set policies, when we create budgets, and when we demand accountability from our public agencies. That’s what building a thriving city will require.
How can we build a community that is safer for everyone, especially persons of color who are disproportionately victims of violent crime?
Clearly no one action or one idea alone can do the job. Instead, we need a united effort to build a thriving community. That means:
· Providing quality schools that show all children we believe in them and their potential
· Working with youth to teach conflict resolution skills
· Making sure all young people have access to great educational and economic opportunities
· Increasing the city’s efforts to fight poverty and create pathways to economic security
· Looking at law enforcement practices top to bottom to get rid of racial bias and build trust in the community
· Developing affordable housing and improve neighborhood quality of life
· Applying a racial equity lens to policy creation
· Pushing the General Assembly to adopt stronger gun laws and protect public spaces
Over the past eight years, I have taken on the toughest issues in Richmond public life—poverty, public education, improving the functioning of City Hall.
I’m not going to back off talking about these issues now that I’m a candidate for City Council. We as a community have too much work to do.
I have a vision for a thriving city that invests in all of our people and I am determined to make sure our community acts with urgency--because honestly, we have to.
In the weeks to come I will continue to listen to the views of the residents and will share more thoughts and ideas on what I will bring to the table if I am elected to represent the 5th District on City Council.
I look forward to continuing the conversation while moving forward in a spirit of urgency.