Communities, Not Casinos: 2021
In 2021, following a devastating pandemic that left countless Richmonders without adequate food, shelter, or housing Mayor Levar Stoney and City Council advanced a proposal to build a casino in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Southside. Our members opposed this plan as casinos prey on our poorest residents, transferring their money to the already-wealthy. Our 8-month campaign included a deep canvassing campaign to get out the vote in opposition to a referendum that would approve the casino for development. Casino developers invested nearly $2m in marketing for their project. Our coalition raised roughly $15k to fight them. On November 3rd, 2021 we defeated the casino at the polls, killing the deal.
Richmond For All’s team first came together to elect progressive parent and public education activist Kenya Gibson to our School Board in 2017. Kenya had just led a fight against the Mayor’s Education Compact, which in its original form would have take away governing power form our parents, teachers, and students. In 2020 we successfully defended Kenya’s seat and elected two more leaders to our school board, Shonda Harris-Muhammad who also led in the Education Compact fight and Stephanie Rizzi, a leader in efforts to expand transparency and community governance in policing. Our team believes that local elections and statewide Democratic primaries are key battlefields in the fight for a more progressive Virginia. Elections are particularly important in the U.S South where there are fewer labor protections and the strength of labor unions is diminished.
Defend and Transform Public Education
The Public Education Campaign Committee is made up of teachers, parents, and education stakeholders invested in defending against the privatization and monetization of our public schools. We won Spanish translation of School Board meetings at the beginning of the pandemic to ensure language justice for our Spanish-speaking community. We also turned out over 50 public comments in support of removing police from schools, and have hosted regular watch parties and debriefs of school board meetings.
No Mass Demolitions
In 2019, our team partnered with the Legal Aid Justice Center and its housing justice coalition in support of their opposition to mass demolition of Richmond’s 6 main public housing courts. In November of 2019, we won a freeze on all evictions in Richmond’s public housing units. Through a substantial resident-feedback campaign we won a federal rejection of our housing authority’s 5-year fiscal plan. During the spring 2020 General Assembly session, our members partnered with public housing organizers to successfully win legislation guaranteeing all public housing residents statewide 12 month notice in advance of any vote to pursue demolition of public housing units. Today Richmond For All partners with housing justice organizations across the city to track housing policy in the city of Richmond.
No Dominion Coliseum: 2018-2020
In February of 2020 we won our campaign opposing public subsidies for a sports arena and luxury developments. The proposed 80-block TIF district would have stolen millions from our city’s general fund and gutted public services citywide, all while advancing a rapid gentrification program and incentivizing further demolition of adjacent public housing. This development proposal was spearheaded by the CEO of a regional fossil fuel monopoly and our state’s largest political campaign donor. Our opposition campaign united housing, education, and environmental justice advocates across the city to demand public funds go to public services, not private profits. After 14 months of organizing and strategic coalition building, we successfully advocated for City Council to strike the deal from consideration.