8th District residents matter

Letter to the Editor

7/4/2019, 6 a.m. | Updated on 7/5/2019, 9:41 a.m.
For far too long, the voices of Richmond’s 8th District residents have been ignored.

For far too long, the voices of Richmond’s 8th District residents have been ignored. We are a community of pro- fessionals, educators, work- ing class, jobless, homeless, homeowners, renters and, most of all, taxpayers. We are multicultural, multifaceted and large in number. However in parts of our district, we have no banking, no grocery stores and no pharmacies.

The needs of our area have been neglected, including our children, our infrastructure, our corridors and our recreation areas.

While other city districts debate issues such as expand- ing bike lanes, adding density and changing street names, 8th District residents are faced with critical issues such as having a life expectancy that is about 15 years less than residents in the city’s 1st and 2nd districts.

We have a need for compre- hensive, after-school program- ming to keep our youths safe, repairing aging infrastructure to prevent mass drainage and flooding issues and the list goes on.

Our district boasts residents who want to be active and en- gaged, but we feel our concerns are rarely made a priority. Too often South Richmond residents are portrayed as overly needy, distressed and misinformed. As a result, leaders often prey on our vulnerabilities to secure our vote, but frequently fail to deliver on their campaign promises of change.

Recently, concerned resi- dents from the 8th District formed a focus group aimed at documenting rampant issues in our district, with the goal of bringing viable solutions to our elected officials. Our first event was held at the Broad Rock Library to share the vi- sion for the 8th District and to discuss the proposed budget amendments for 2020. How- ever, the budget amendments requested were never provided. This is unacceptable and would not be tolerated in any other district.

Several weeks ago, another event was held at Branch’s Baptist Church to allow 8th District voters the opportunity to engage in a “Q&A” with our elected officials and state senate candidates. We received confirmations from candidates and elected officials saying

they would attend. However, all were no-shows except for 8th District School Board representative Dawn Page. What could possibly be more important than engaging with your voters, especially during an election year?

Constituents of the 8th Dis- trict will not continue to allow this neglect of our district, our needs and our voices. Our lead- ers will not continue to use our votes and fail to take action. We are worth more and demand better. We matter!

Our expectation is that our representatives will see this as a call to action and we will be neglected no more. This is an opportunity for a fresh start and new beginnings. We encourage the residents to join the 8th District Focus Group. Information: 8thdistrictfocusgroup@gmail. com or (804) 426-5377.

REGIE FORD, Richmond