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A Unique Community Land Trust Making Homeownership Affordable

When Michael Haggins’ credit score disqualified him for a mortgage preapproval in 2021, he was crushed. A single father who grew up in Richmond, Haggins dreamed of owning a house in his hometown where his two sons could play freely. A shortage of just five credit score points — plus systemic inequities and a national housing crisis — left them all living with his mother. But today, Haggins is the proud owner of a home in Church Hill, thanks to Richmond’s Maggie Walker Community Land Trust (MWCLT) and its pioneering model for creating permanently affordable housing. “I don’t think I could’ve done it without their help, honestly,” says Haggins.

Can Historic Preservation Be A Tool For Environmental Justice?

While serving as a member of the Racial Equity & Environmental Justice Roundtable which helped craft the City of Richmond’s Climate Equity Action Plan 2030, Rev. Monica Esparza never imagined that less than a year later she would find herself fighting local officials to save green space in her own backyard from becoming a burn site. In a departure from Mayor Levar Stoney’s policy of creating new parks on the city’s Southside, his administration is pushing through plans to add a $1 million, 21,000 square-foot fire training facility to Hickory Hill, a majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood south of the James River.

The Story Behind The Lee Statue In Richmond

Since the May 25 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia, erected in 1890, has been a focus of protests, graffiti, and public pressure calling for the removal of this offensive symbol of Confederate aspiration. At twenty feet high, atop a forty-foot base, the bronze Confederate general sits on his horse as if surveying an active battlefield, looming over the former capital of the Confederacy. The monument’s future is murky. On June 4, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, issued an order to remove the statue, but days later a judge in Richmond issued an injunction blocking its removal. 

“Corporate Free” Richmond Candidates Moving Up

By Steve Early for Beyond Chron - Since 2004, members of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA) have won ten out of the sixteen city council and mayoral races they have contested in their majority minority city of 110,000. Last November, progressives gained an unprecedented “super-majority” of five on Richmond’s seven-member council—despite more than a decade of heavy spending against them by Chevron Corp. and other big business interests. For 12 years, RPA candidates have distinguished themselves from local Democrats by their lonely, Bernie Sanders-like refusal to take corporate contributions. Now two Progressive Alliance leaders–city councilors Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin–are preparing to run as “corporate free” candidates for higher office. It’s the first time either one has sought a ballot line outside their own blue-collar refinery town. Both hope to capitalize on the energy and enthusiasm (and campaign donations) of thousands of former Sanders supporters, including those who tried to reform the Democratic Party at its statewide convention in Sacramento May 20-21.
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