Photos: Vanessa Yang, Yomani Mapp
The Staying Power Fellowship was launched through a collaborative effort of three Richmond organizations (Safe Return Project, ACCE, and RYSE Youth Center) along with the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society (UC Berkeley) and myself in late 2016. Staying Power was a six-month program for six Richmond residents who have been impacted by the housing crisis. Through participatory action research and creative activities, the group developed policy, arts, and culture projects to strengthen and support the belonging of people of color in Richmond and fight continued displacement, with a particular emphasis on Black residents of Richmond. I served as coordinator of the project.
Some of the outcomes include a youth poetry workshop in an affordable housing site, a know-your-rights mural highlighting key housing victories, a book and video of poetry created from interviews with Richmond residents impacted by the housing crisis, poetry and policy documents presented to the City Council, and a policy report that outlines a comprehensive housing strategy (to be released early 2018). In addition, as part of this work, we coordinated a citywide housing symposium that hosted 12 workshops on 12 housing justice policy options in the Spring of 2017. We are currently developing a second fellowship for 2018.