Building an Equitable & Inclusive Richmond

This year has challenged everyone. From the impact of the global pandemic to the resulting economic shutdown and months of civil unrest, we have been confronted on all sides about our way of life. Many find themselves struggling to make ends meet, challenged by working remotely, or unemployed. Many small businesses have had to close their doors during the economic shut down or have been severely limited in their operations.

It was a perfect morning, not a cloud in the sky. There was a slight crispness in the air as fall was fast approaching. I walked from my dorm room in Miles Hall on Virginia Tech campus to my class in Norris Hall, coffee in hand. As I went up the stairs, turned the corner, and walked into my classroom, everything changed. This was my Research Methods class and the television was never on, but this time it was. The screen showed smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center in New York City. …

Andreas Addison for City Council 2020

Four years ago, I took to the streets of the First District to earn your vote to represent you on City Council. It was on your doorsteps, where our conversations shaped your priorities and concerns about the City and our neighborhoods. When you elected me, you tasked me with four priorities: Better Roads, Safer Streets, Improved Public Schools, and Better City Services.

Over the past several weeks, Richmond has navigated a level of civil unrest not seen for many decades. Marches for justice and equity have filled our streets for days with demands for change. No longer satisfied with incremental change, but demanding transformative change. The First Amendment is perhaps America’s most incredible freedom, protecting the freedom of speech allows for all people to speak up, share their frustrations, and demand change. I have joined in with several of the protests over the past couple of weeks, marching along Monument Avenue and Monroe Park. The chants for justice, equity, and change are…

This morning, Governor Northam ordered the removal of the Robert E Lee statue on Monument Avenue. The events of this weekend in our City and across the country have demonstrated the need for change. Over the past several days there has been an incredible outpouring of support from First District residents to remove the confederate statues. I join Councilman Jones and Mayor Stoney as a co-patron in the removal of the remaining statues. While the removal of these statues does not erase the systemic racism that remains in this country, these symbols have become idols of division. Now is the…

We need Accountability, Transparency, and Action

Last night I watched my city burn. I watched as a protest for racial equity and justice turned into destruction. Buildings were broken into and some lit on fire. Businesses were looted and trashed. Public unrest due to the continued evidence of racial inequality occurred all across this country. Racial inequality that is not new and has been evident through many generations. An inequality that must be addressed with action, no longer simply reacted to. However, violence, destruction, and death is not the path to resolution or justice. …

Friday is a tough day for many of our friends, family, and neighbors in Richmond. Friday is payday for many of us, and this could be our last paycheck or the first missed paycheck. Many small business owners and their employees are facing an uncertain future, given the impact of our efforts across the City of Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s directive on Monday afternoon to instill ‘shelter in place’ measures until June 10th sets in motion a drastic transition to our daily lives for the next ten weeks.

I have received many responses from residents across the First District about my vote during Monday’s Special Meeting for City Council. Many voiced their disappointment that I had voted to remove the monuments and statues from Monument Avenue. I would like to clarify my position.

I did not vote to remove any statue or monument in Richmond.

The November statewide elections for Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates changed the majority makeup in our legislature. This change in power resulted in a new list of legislative priorities for the upcoming General Assembly. Included in that were five separate papers to provide local governments authority to alter, move, or remove statues in public…

For the month of November, I took the challenge of not using my car. I used GRTC, the Pulse, and walked. I walked a lot actually. Over 125 miles during the month. I even used a scooter when I could find one. I did use my car on three occasions. One to go to Ashland for a Committee meeting, another to run errands and make returns prior to expiring receipts, and lastly to prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday. Want to be honest and transparent.

On March 6th, the Mayor’s five-month process to create the budget then became City Council’s to dissect, interpret, and analyze. Over the course of the past six weeks, City Council has been inundated with presentations, data, reports, and responses about the Mayor’s Proposed Budget. Mayor Stoney has challenged City Council to fund the following priorities:

  1. Richmond Public Schools Strategic Plan — $18.2m
  2. Richmond Public Schools Maintenance — $19m
  3. Richmond Streets & Sidewalks — $16.1m
  4. Affordable Housing Trust Fund — $2.9m
  5. Eviction Prevention Program
  6. GRTC Expansion of Service and Routes
  7. Cost of Living Raises for City Employees

This proposal has an…

Andreas D. Addison

Recovering bureaucrat. Pioneered as Civic Innovator. Now serving a second term on City Council in Richmond, VA. Words are my own.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store