Jovanka Beckles

What I Stand For
I ­­share the sense of urgency experienced by families of homicide and violent crime victims, kids with asthma, and depressed parents of depressed teenagers. These difficult problems cannot be solved by individuals alone. We have to act collectively to make our city better, healthier, and more just. We must honor our differences of age, race, sexual orientation, class, religious or spiritual beliefs, and stand together as one to work for the common good. One Richmond!

Our problems in Richmond are part of a worldwide problem. We suffer here from the growing disparity in wealth and power in this country. What has allowed the 1% to greatly increase its share has meant joblessness, poverty, a failing education system, decaying infrastructure, and communities pitted against each other for public services.

We must support the movements and unions which are fighting for greater economic and social power for the 99%.

At the same time, we cannot wait for these broad solutions. We have to re-define the city where we live to do what we can to deal with these problems now. Practicing forward thinking, we have put Richmond on the map as a city willing to make a way for a green economy that supports rather than harms the environment. In the coming years we can build a city-home with enough new jobs for all, by promoting the green jobs sector, encouraging co-operative enterprises, and providing the kind of infrastructure, environment, and trained work force that attracts people and businesses. We must create community where violence and crime is up-rooted, through a committed and unified effort by community members to get involved. We must honor our diversity and use it to dramatically and positively improve the quality of life for Richmond residents.

In all of this, the priority must be our kids. We have to focus our resources on education for our youth, building a healthy lifestyle –fewer sugar drinks and more recreation and healthy food—improved education, and creating opportunities for full lives.  ­ ­ ­ ­