Thursday, July 17, 2008

Town Hall Event Looks Beyond Obama on 7/22

It should be no surprise that Obama has already wrapped up my vote as well as most Richmonders*, for that matter. But what do we do in the meantime? How can we infuse Richmond's local politics with the inspiration and energy to change for the better en route to and after an Obama victory in November? On Tuesday, July 22nd, a gathering is set to take place to promote a "people's platform" of local issues and potential solutions. They'll be uniting under the slogan, "Yes We Can." (see press release below for details) and probably starting a blog soon as well.

I think the event is very encouraging and hope that loads of people turn out. Obama voters have many different political points of view in this city and we need to find commonality. In trying to get a little clarification, I contacted the group for a comment about the connection from the potential of Obama's campaign to civic participation here in Richmond. Here's what I got from Preddy Ray, from C-NEED:

Clearly Obama is the inspiration and the fact that hopefully thousands of people who have never participated in the political process will be turning out to vote. Their turn out will be directly related to Obama. We see this as an opportunity to have those persons see that Change must include and extend beyond Obama. That true change will happen when these new voters see the bigger picture. We also hope to be able to develop a cadre of people who we will rally together to address local issues as well as issues that will be raised as a result of the Obama Presidency.

Our premise is that Richmond needs to launch a campaign to End Poverty, all of our problems relate to the high number of people in poverty and the city's failure to address it.
Preddy D. Ray Sr., Executive Director
Center for Neighborhood Empowerment and Enterprise Development

Press Release: For Immediate Release
Contact Person: Preddy D. Ray, Center for Neighborhood Empowerment and Enterprise Development (C-NEED).
July 14, 2008 Monday

“Yes We Can” Town Hall Meeting Scheduled”

The “Yes We Can” Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday July 22, at Ebenezer Baptist Church , 216 W. Leigh Street . The meeting which starts at 6 P.M seeks to gain input from citizens in the creation of what is being called the “Peoples Platform”. The “Peoples Platform’ will include innovative strategies to end poverty, create jobs, build truly affordable housing, develop alternatives to crime and build vibrant neighborhoods.

The “Yes We Can” meeting is non partisan and not connected to the Obama Campaign. It however fully endorses the concept of “Change” and is a response to concerns that many important issues are not being addressed in the platforms of candidates. According to Lillie A. Estes, a planning committee member, “Change begins at home”. Through the People’s Platform, for the first time citizens will have a chance to direct what the “Changes” for Richmond should be. Candidates for mayor, school board and city council will be invited to attend however, unlike “meet the candidates’ forums” they will not be allowed to use the meeting to make campaign speeches.

It is the hope of the planning team that the “Peoples Platform” will be a document that will guide political candidates and serve as a tool to hold them accountable after they are elected. The meeting is sponsored by the Center for Neighborhood Empowerment and Enterprise Development (C-NEED). For more information call 648-4800 or email

*City of Richmond residents have voted democrat at a rate of 70% each of the last two elections.


  1. Glad to see this. Obama or no Obama, Richmond is facing a tough road ahead. We need to think more Green and long term.

  2. Anonymous8:44 AM

    I am with the "GREEN" and the "LONG TERM" but we have got to get inside "THE HOW TO GET IT DONE EFFECTIVELY PART"... "NO RESPECT OF PERSON PART" because we are all in this same TIME FRAME AND PLACE... NO MATTER what our geographics.

  3. Richmond is facing a tough road ahead and it will take efforts like this to help us get on the right track. Obama or no Obama, we must first think local. Decisions that effect our everyday lives are made locally. In all that we do we should think Green. I'm happy for the opportunity to make a difference.

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