Since this blog was published earlier this month, the informational video has received over 900 views, and the petition to keep Monroe Park partially open during renovations has obtained almost 400 signatures from Richmond residents. Thanks so much to everyone who took the time to do so!
In response to this, Charles Samuels announced a “community conversation” about homelessness services in the Richmond area, to be facilitated by Homeward on November 4th. Excited about the opportunity to open a dialogue on this issue, several campaign participants called to register and ask what format they should present their ideas in. These folks were all told that there would not actually be any proposals allowed, and that they would only be permitted to comment on the presentation given by Homeward – which begins with the premise that Monroe Park will necessarily close completely for the duration of the renovations, and that services for the homeless will be moving elsewhere. Obviously, this is in direct conflict with the stated intention of this campaign.
At the last campaign meeting on the 24th, the general consensus seemed to be that we would still attend Samuels’ forum in the hopes of respectfully questioning whether the park needs to be completely closed. The attendance of this “community conversation” by members of the campaign does not signify an acceptance of Monroe Park’s closing, but rather another attempt to engage in civil discourse with the city and the Monroe Park Advisory Council about how we might better renovate it. We sincerely hope that some productive conversation might ensue.
If you’d like to attend, the forum will be held inside the Carillon auditorium on Thursday, November 4th at 5pm. We will be providing rides from Monroe Park at 4:30 to anyone who needs one. Thanks to everyone who continues to work hard on this issue! We’ll have another update after the forum this Thursday.
If you’re interested in being involved, there are tons of things you can do – creating and distributing flyers, research, contacting churches and service providers about the campaign, etc. Just get in touch at email@example.com and let us know how you’d like to help!