I have been asked the question do I believe that black lives matter. I am running for mayor because I believe that black lives matter and I am fed up with our elected leaders failing to address the root causes of the inequities in our city. I believe that black lives matter and that is why my platform has always been one designed to make sure black lives thrive here in Richmond.
So let me tell you how we will make sure that black lives thrive here in Richmond.
First, Better schools.
Right now the graduation rate in Richmond is only 70%. That means that 30% of the young people that go through Richmond Public Schools, a majority of which are black, have almost no chance at thriving in our society. If we are serious about black lives mattering, then fixing this would be our top priority.
So when I say better schools. I don’t just mean making sure our kids pass their SOLs. I am talking about designing a curriculum and a school system that provides a holistic, real-life education that is designed to promote generational wealth building.
On top of that it also means helping our adults start small businesses. That is why I will create an Entrepreneurship academy that will be on the Southside, and then we will set up business incubators to help people start businesses with the first going on Hull St. No longer will our people have to solely rely on other people to give them a job. They will have the ability and opportunities to create their own streams of income which bring freedom and economic mobility.
Second, better roads.
This means investing in our infrastructure. And we do that because businesses don’t want to invest in coming to a city or a part of a city that has crumbling roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure. And if you spend anytime in Southside Richmond you will quickly see that it doesn’t get the same amount of investment as the rest of the city. So we will invest in Southside to increase jobs, opportunities, and economic activity there.
Finally, better city services.
When your city government charges higher taxes and in turn can’t do basic things like issue licenses and permits, it keeps business and investment away. By fixing city hall, we will encourage more jobs and opportunities in the city.
Additionally by cleaning out the corruption in city hall, it will open up more opportunities for Black Business Inclusion in city contracts. If black lives matter then we need to put our money where our mouth is. Right now fraud and disinterest have cut out many of our black owned businesses from winning bids on city contracts. That has got to change and it will change if I am elected.
We need leadership here in Richmond that will not just stop with slogans but will actually take action to bring real change to people’s lives. Frankly, I am the only person in this race with the business and economic knowledge and skill to create an environment where black lives thrive and that is what I will do if I am mayor.