On Monday April 22, 2019, a group of concerned Black men met with U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier at the offices of Fisher Realtors in Richmond for the express purpose of discussing the Black Agenda.
The core group of men, who have known each other for decades, collectively recognized the need to become more proactive in finding solutions for issues that consistently impact the Black community often at rates much higher than other affected groups.
The conversation focused on education, employment, entrepreneurship, the criminal justice system, homelessness and voter registration, all cornerstone issues to the Black agenda. The objectives of the meeting were to outline specific concerns in each area and to identify resources within the congressional district that can be used right now and to also lay the groundwork for developing a comprehensive and ongoing plan of action.
Congressman DeSaulnier was very generous with his time, expressed his sincere concern, shared his thoughts, and welcomed the opportunity to work further with the group, who have adopted the moniker Black Advocates for Progress and Change. The congressman was accompanied by his District Director in Walnut Creek Shanelle Scales-Preston and District Representative in Richmond Taylor Kimber. They were tasked with directing the group to additional resources that will aid in moving the agenda items forward.
The men in attendance at the Black Agenda meeting with DeSaulnier were Carl Adams, Brandon Evans, Joe Fisher, Donald Hampton, Demnlus Johnson III, Bobby King, Lloyd Madden, Ray McCoy, Jim McMillan, Clarence Turner, Vern Whitmore and Jeffrey Wright. Unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts were Michael Davenport, Leon Hunter, Dwayne Robinson, Jake Sloan, Irvin Stuart, and McKinley Williams.
It was a productive meeting and a good start. It is notable to acknowledge that elder statesman, Jim McMillan, a former Richmond city councilmember was present at 91 years of age as was newly elected Richmond City Councilmember Demnlus Johnson III at 26 years of age. Solving the issues will require the insight and participation of everyone.