“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly . . . ”— Dr. King’s 1967 Christmas sermon
Martin Luther King Jr. (January 1929 – April 1968) received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College in 1948, was awarded the B.D. in 1951 at Crozer Theological Seminary and a doctorate at Boston University in 1955. He became a pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954 and a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Dr. King took leadership alongside Rosa Parks in the boycott against segregated seating which finally won in the U.S. Supreme Court declaration in 1956 for busing integration in Montgomery. Dr. King was elected the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and between 1957 – 1968 Dr. King traveled and spoke out against injustices as a prominent leader in the civil rights movement. He led the historic protest in Birmingham, Alabama against the city’s systems of segregation and the march on Washington, D.C. where he delivered the renowned “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King was met with consistent violence as well as praise his entire life, in the end being the youngest man to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The legacy that Dr. King leaves behind is unfathomably impactful and continues to inspire community activists at all scales and from all movements to bend the arc of the moral universe towards justice.
The Nobel Prize Biographical on Martin Luther King Jr. : https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1964/king/biographical/
Biography on Martin Luther King Jr. : https://www.biography.com/activist/martin-luther-king-jr
About the Birmingham campaign: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/birmingham-campaign
About the Montgomery Bus Boycott: https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/montgomery-bus-boycott#:~:text=The%20Montgomery%20Bus%20Boycott%20was,scale%20U.S.%20demonstration%20against%20segregation.
Lillie Mae Jones
“She was always a champion for anything that would improve the quality of life in the Iron Triangle: for housing, parks, for jobs, crime prevention, education, you name it.”— Richmond Mayor Tom Butt
Lillie Mae Jones (January 1931 – September 2016) received her bachelor’s degree from Kennedy University and education in community organizing from the School of Community Empowerment in 1954. After her education she got right to work as a community organizer, advocating for the former Santa Fe railroad tracks to be transformed into a gift to the community called the Richmond Greenway. She imagined the place of these old railroad tracks could be reimagined into a path for community members to walk, bike, relax and garden. One step at a time, the dream of the Richmond Greenway was finally realized in 2011 with the help of countless neighbors getting involved through the Friends of the Richmond Greenway (FORG). At the age of 85 Lillie passed away but her legacy continued to live on and inspire and provide for her community through the Richmond Greenway and the countless other projects she worked on.
Lillie Mae Jones – Richmond Greenway Timeline: https://www.timetoast.com/timelines/lillie-mae-jones-richmond-greenway
The Richmond Standard Covers Jones’ Remarkable Life:
“We’re [Urban Tilth] one of the forces that are trying to bring life back, putting nutrients back into the soil, putting people back on the land and in the process hopefully waking people up”—Doria Robinson
Doria Robinson is a third-generation Richmond resident. She always had an interest in farming as she grew up spending weekends and summers on the 350-acre ranch in Fairfield, California that belonged to the church where her grandfather was the minister. She worked for The Watershed Project leading community-driven restoration projects and around 2004 and was a part of the group of volunteers that built gardens as well as the adopt-a-spot campaign on the Richmond Greenway. Around 2007, Doria became the executive director of Urban Tilth, a nonprofit founded in 2005 by Park Guthrie that hires and trains local residents to cultivate agriculture in West Contra Costa County. Urban Tilth works to help the community build a more sustainable, healthy, and just food system and has distributed the food they’ve grown on their three acre North Richmond Farm through their Community Supported Agriculture program. Doria has provided her community with nourishment, health and hope and is such an important voice in the movement for food justice, climate justice and community empowerment.
Sierra Club Covers Doria Robinson: https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/urban-tilth-s-doria-robinson-richmond-and-climate-adaptation
Urban Tilth website: https://www.urbantilth.org/
“Our work at the Watershed Project is to help reconnect neighbors with nature in their communities as a way of healing and restoring our relationship with water, land and the animals and plants that coexist with us”. “People can experience their connection with water and land in the public spaces that can be kept natural and thriving–public parks such as the Richmond Greenway are vital to making sure communities of color have access to outdoor recreation and the benefits of nature and water healing”—Juliana Gonzalez
Juliana Gonzalez has been the Executive director of the Watershed Project since 2015. Juliana started working on the Richmond Greenway back in 2008 as she joined the organization. Juliana has been an active community organizer in Richmond since 2008, connecting communities, volunteers and students to their local watersheds through education, restoration and design projects. Known for her local knowledge of the area, she became Executive Director of The Watershed Project in 2015. After immigrating to the United States over 20 years ago, Juliana used her policy and ecology background to work on community based solutions to ecological problems prevalent in urban environments. Most recently, she has led the way in multiple community based climate adaptation and mitigation planning efforts around Richmond California and the neighboring communities.
Interview with River Network: https://www.rivernetwork.org/team/juliana-gonzalez/
Toody started out as an accomplished volleyball player who was one of the first Title IX athletes and played volleyball at UC Berkeley and professionally. After graduating in 1983, Toody helped the sales of Swatch Watch increase substantially in the 11 Western states she secured the distribution rights. Toody went on to found a start-up of her own called Fun Products and in 1990 was named Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year.” As later business director at Juma Ventures, Toody worked on social enterprise businesses for at-risk youth. Everything changed for Toody as she was working as a consultant for a research project at UCLA and realized the transformative power of city parks. With this new passion Toody went on to found Pogo Park in 2007, a non-profit working to transform lives by transforming public spaces into magical playspaces for children everywhere. Elm Playlot in the heart of Richmond’s “Iron Triangle”, Harbour-8 Park on the Richmond Greenway and the “Yellow Brick Road” which is a project to build a safe walk-bike street through the heart of Richmond are all amazing Pogo Park projects that wouldn’t have been possible without Toody. These beautiful parks have and will continue to engage and nourish the community and for that we are forever grateful to Toody.
Pogo park website: https://pogopark.org/
Interview with Toody Maher on Co-Designing Parks with the Community: https://dirt.asla.org/2016/07/21/interview-with-toody-maher-on-the-revolutionary-pogo-park/
Land Acknowledgement – Richmond Greenway
We acknowledge that the Richmond Greenway occupies the traditional Indigenous territory of Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone people and we would like to pay our respect to elders both past and present. Community groups that have Indigenous ancestry to this territory include the Confederated Villages of Lisjan, Him•re-n of Ohlone, Bay Miwok, Plains Miwok and Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. These communities are still here and this is still their land. We encourage non-Indigenous people to learn about the Indigenous communities whose lands they are on and practice acknowledging occupation on stolen land as a tool for honest contention with history. However, this acknowledgement must be followed by active relationship-building and repair.
There are many ways to support local indigenous communities, and one we choose to highlight is the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust. Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an urban Indigenous women-led land trust that facilitates the return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people. We encourage non-Indigenous people who live in the East Bay (traditional Lisjan Ohlone land) to learn about and support their work. For example, the Shuumi Land Tax is an annual contribution that goes to supporting the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust’s work of rematriation, land return and cultural community projects. People can also get involved with Sogorea Te’ Land Trust through signing up for their email list through their website and attending their actions and events.
Native Peoples of the East Bay (maps): https://www.ebparks.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=30644
California Valley Miwok Tribe: http://californiavalleymiwok.us/
Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area: http://www.muwekma.org/index.html
Sogorea Te’ Land Trust website: https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/
Shuumi Land Tax: https://sogoreate-landtrust.org/pay-the-shuumi-land-tax/
FORG Biography: The vision of the Richmond Greenway started out of the organization Community Youth Council for Leadership and Education (CYCLE) founded by Lillie Mae Jones. Friends of the Richmond Greenway (FORG) was established in 2006 as an organization of community-members helping the Greenway thrive and progress. The 1.5 mile Greenway was adopted as an official Richmond public park in 2011 and non-profit agencies and the city of Richmond continue to work to maintain and improve public access.