Jovanka Beckles for Richmond City Council
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A New Generation of Leadership –
Responsive; Resident-focused

BACKGROUND: I am an African American and Latina immigrant. I was born in Panama City, Panama in 1963, where I grew-up in a bilingual, multicultural family and country. My parents moved to the U.S. in 1972 and I went through the challenging process of immigration and cultural adjustment. At home, my parents taught me the critical values of respect for self and others, along with hard work and integrity. As a result of my multicultural experience, I have learned to respect and value differences and similarities. This allows me to easily and comfortably bridge many barriers. I attended Florida A&M University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida, on a full basketball scholarship, and graduated cum laude in 1988 with a BA degree in Psychology. I later earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Phoenix.

I moved to the Bay Area in 1989 and have worked as a counselor, youth educator, team builder and strategist, client advocate, crime prevention specialist, housing case manager for the homeless and mental health specialist for 18 years. For the last 13 years I have worked in Richmond. I spearheaded the ongoing efforts to create a merchants’ association on San Pablo Avenue. As a Richmond resident, I have been both the victim of crime and an advocate of solutions that prevent it. I support the Tent Cities Peace Movement and a variety of local community responses such as Mothers against Senseless Killings (MASK) and the Not Today Movement in opposing violence and promoting peace.

I applaud the City of Richmond and our citizens for the blessed and incredible reduction in violent crime we have achieved together. We can envision the sigh of relief elimination of homicide and other crimes against people (rape, domestic violence, armed robbery) could bring to Richmond. As the President of the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council, I promoted strengthening local livable and walk-able communities, developing stronger connections and loyalties with businesses in local corridors (like on San Pablo Ave) and surrounding communities.

It is very important to me to keep the line of communication open with my neighbors in order to do my part to help build a wonderful, neighborly, informed community. In this spirit, I worked closely with neighbors and the police department to ensure that our neighborhood had a highly successful national night out.

As a member of Concilio Latino and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), I collaborated with West Contra Costa County School District members and community health providers to share information on best practices to meet the need of the Latino community members. I worked with the Latina Center and others in organizing the Children’s March against Violence. I oppose anti-immigrant raids, and I support a comprehensive and just immigration reform with path to legalization for all immigrants.

As A Rotarian, I strongly believe in the organizational motto “service above self.” I have always been deeply committed to upholding high ethical standards in my professional life. Rotarians ask ourselves four important questions:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
I answer these four questions daily as I move through the world. As I answer yes to each one of these questions, I know that I operate with my integrity intact. Integrity and service have been life-long values of mine which why I was drawn to the Rotary Club of Richmond. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), I strongly affirm and promote the historical contributions of African Americans to Richmond and our nation ( Letter from Don Campbell Superintendent, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ).

I have compiled in a booklet for distribution, The History of the Gary family of Richmond, who in 1952 fought for civil rights and housing integration with the support of progressives, unions, churches and Black organizations. The Gary’s story was honored by Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin by issuing a proclamation in their honor during Black History Month 2008. I advocate for further equity in the distribution of resources and for an expanded African-American community presence in our city.

As a member of the PEU-Local #1, I believe in strong, independent, and pro-active unions that assert and protect member rights and benefits. I was selected by my colleagues to be the strike captain during the last strike in which we workers fought management for fair compensation. I worked hand-in-hand with the shop steward organizing and coordinating labor dialogs with peers as well as management. As a citizen of the United States, I see our nation in a very deep moral and economic crisis. We need to continue the process of rethinking and redefining ourselves as a nation and our participation in the world.

As a Richmond voter and a registered Democrat, I am proud increasing numbers of the Richmond community identify the Richmond City Council as approachable and open to democratic discourse.

The agitation for recognition of needs and solutions to problems centered on the Richmond City Council attests not only to Richmond standing up to exercise the responsibilities citizenship entails but also to our shared love for the City of Richmond and the belief that – by working together – we do make a Better Richmond.

To remain independent and represent voter interests fairly, I accept no corporate campaign contributions.


Richmond faces problems that run broad and deep, but the strength, resourcefulness, and brilliance of the people of Richmond are broader and deeper still. As a member of Richmond’s City Council working together with you, we have successfully championed so many issues that we truly can say with pride, “A Better Richmond is Happening.” I want your support in 2014 so we can build on our momentum and create the Better Richmond that we know in our hearts we can.

We want the same thing: a chance for everyone in Richmond to thrive. Through my work with at-risk youth and as a crime reduction specialist, I confront the unmet needs of Richmond's families and neighborhoods every day. The undeserved struggles so many brave Richmond residents face, along with opportunities to at least set some priorities, motivate me to seek re-election to the Richmond City Council. Let’s promote Community Health, Affordable Housing, a Diversified Economy and More Jobs.

Here is a brief run-down of what I have achieved so far:

  • Initiated efforts to raise the minimum wage, which will create more jobs, stimulate the local economy, and enable working families to live healthier, richer lives.
  • Endorsed Just Cause requirements that would further protect renters from unfair evictions and supported Rent Stabilization to maintain affordable rents as Richmond grows and prospers.
  • Supported a program designed to stabilize neighborhoods, reduce blight, and cut down on housing speculation by providing underwater homeowners relief through principle reduction.
  • Championed the “Ban the Box” ordinance that gives previously incarcerated people a better opportunity to be hired for city jobs and on contracts with Richmond, along with support for re-entry services, training, and activities, all as constructive alternatives to building more jails.
  • Introduced and fought successfully for adoption of the Richmond Municipal Identification Program, which encourages police protection of all residents against such abuses as non-payment of wages and provides optional access to use of ATM machines and to public services, such as libraries.
  • Supported efforts to cooperate with representatives of the Chevron oil refinery to accomplish shared outcomes: reduced harmful emissions, exceptional occupational safety standards, and fair share of taxes in support of city services and education. I distrust Chevron’s campaign to buy influence in Richmond.
  • As the Richmond City Council Liaison to the Western Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), I strive to strengthen the important relationship between the City of Richmond and the District in order to support programs that boost student engagement, success, attendance, and graduation rates. I am particularly interested in the integration of the community, especially parents, into the educational process.

And in all of this work, I have not been --and will not be-- bought. I have never taken campaign money from corporations, and I never will. My passion is working within the community to bring ideas through City Council that not only keep us safe but help Richmond thrive. It will be volunteers and grassroots contributions that get me re-elected. I do not want Richmond to go back to being a Company Town run mainly in support of corporate interests. Join with me to make a Better Richmond for all of us, the people. Your vote will make the difference. Richmond isn’t that big. Every vote matters. Peace and Blessings, JOVANKA The best way to stay up-to-date on my activities and the campaign is through my on-line newsletter. If you want to receive it, sign up here [email Jovanka link]. Click [volunteer link] if you want to volunteer to help with my re-election and [donate link] to make a donation.


  • Richmond City Councilmember (2010-2014)
  • Richmond City Council Liaison to Western Contra Costa County School District (2014 – present)
  • Richmond City Council Liaison to the City Human Relations Human Rights Commission (2010 – present)
  • Planning Commissioner, City of Richmond (2009-2010)
  • President of the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council (2009) 2nd Vice-President of Black Women Organized for Political Action (2009)
  • Economic Development Commissioner, City of Richmond (2007-2009)
  • Vice-President of the Richmond Heights Neighborhood Council (2008)
  • General Plan Development Advisor, City of Richmond (2007-2008)
  • Member, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Board Member, Citizens For East Shore Parks
  • Educator, Counselor, Small Business Owner, Environmentalist, Crime Reduction Specialist
  • Masters Degree in Business Administration, Merchants Association Initiator
  • African American and Latina
  • Richmond History Researcher • Rotarian
  • Independent, takes no corporate donations for her campaigns

Here are more details about me and my positions: As an educator, counselor, and crime reduction specialist in Richmond, I have guided young people into transforming their lives in powerful and meaningful ways that have benefited them and the community. I have played an instrumental role in the lives of many Richmond children and young adults who were inclined to continue the cycle of violence in their families. I have provided critical resources, guidance intervention and advocacy that has significantly impacted the lives of these individuals, enabling them to make better and healthier life choices. I have also taken my role as an elder in the community seriously and have lead by example. I like to roll up my sleeves and work side-by-side with Richmond youth in clean-up and restoration projects such as Wild Cat Creek in North Richmond on Earth Day and Baxter Creek at Booker T. Anderson Park with the Watershed Project.

As a Planning Commissioner, I listened carefully to both sides of all issues brought before me to render decisions that are in the best interest of our community. As a member of Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin’s Environmental Health and Environmental Justice Task Force, I worked for a healthier environment for all Richmond, with particular attention to those neighborhoods suffering the brunt of industrial and non-industrial pollution. In addition to advising Mayor McLaughlin, the EHEJ task force constitutes a gathering place of community based environmental thinkers and doers, to share analyses and work together in raising environmental awareness in Richmond. I am privileged to work with great advocates from the Sierra Club, the North Richmond Open Space Shoreline Alliance, Communities for Better Environment, West County Toxics Coalition and others. As a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee, I supported a progressive direction for our City at the same time that I advocated for the interests and aspirations of the African American community of Richmond as well as those of all immigrants.

I believe that the environmentally sensitive areas along our 32 miles of shoreline should be designated as conservation areas. Open water, mudflats, marshlands, tidelands, creek corridors, and surrounding lands that are highly suitable for preservation/resource areas or parkland use, must be protected and preserved to the maximum extent feasible. These areas are important for maintaining wildlife, including fish, shellfish, shorebirds, the waterfowl of the Pacific Flyway, other upland species, as well as recreational opportunities for our children and future generations. I opposed building a casino in Point Molate and support development there of world class recreational and other attractions to sustain and employ especially Richmond youth. As a member of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (, I share with Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, alliance founders and members, the goals of restoring Democratic health, developing economic health, regaining environmental health and safety, opposing mega-developments on toxic brownfields like the Zeneca site, supporting smart growth and in-fill housing and neighborhood character preservation, and keeping both the shorelines and the hills of Richmond open and public, and strengthening social justice and transforming Richmond to a place of joy and pride.

As the founding member of BMOER (Black Mobilization Organization Education Richmond), I am committed to improving the quality of life for African-Americans in Richmond, particularly those affected by crime, violence and poverty. We believe that by taking action, we can break the cycle of violence and poverty that has plagued many areas of the Black community in Richmond. Our aim is to instill hope and pride in our people by reminding and educating as many as possible of our great history and ancestry. As a RSSA CAG (Richmond Southeast Shoreline Area Community Advisory Group) member, I am committed to achieving a complete clean-up of one of the most toxic sites in the City and in the State of California, the Zeneca site. I am committed to making sure that the health and interest of the Richmond residents of the neighborhoods near the site (Richmond Annex, Southwest Annex, Panhandle Annex, Crescent Park, Coronado, Santa Fe, Pullman, and others) are protected with any plans for the area.

P.O. Box 5061,
Richmond, CA 94805 510-698-9309

Phone: 510-698-9309       E-mail:       Write: P.O. Box 5061, Richmond, CA 94805

Sincere Design Jovanka Beckles for Richmond City Council         FPPC # 1307178