By Kathy Chouteau
While the pandemic may not have many silver linings, it did when it came to the City of Richmond’s International Women’s Day Celebration this year, thanks to the ingenuity of the women on its Planning Committee. When the Sisters in Solidarity—an informal group of women who have coordinated the City’s event for 14 years—saved money this year due to hosting a virtual International Women’s Day Celebration March 6, they applied their savings to adding a community outreach component during Women’s History Month in March.
The Sisters in Solidarity’s community outreach efforts culminated in them visiting people facing homelessness on Rydin Road and Castro Road in Richmond on Tues., March 30. About 15 volunteers distributed 220 lunches donated by the Bubbaloo Café and Café Soleil, as well as COVID Safety Kits containing two face masks, hand sanitizer and a $15 gift card to Target, according to Trina Jackson, committee member and liaison to the Richmond City Council and the Richmond Sister City Program.
Extra lunches were given to the nonprofit Urban Tilth, people at Nevin Park and to County staff and the volunteers themselves.
At the Rydin Road location, committee member Lea Murray of Collaborising Inc. coordinated having the Contra Costa Health Service’s mobile vaccination clinic there to administer Johnson & Johnson vaccines to approximately 30-35 people in need. Per Jackson, that particular vaccine works well for those they were serving that day because it’s “one and done.”
Jackson said she originally presented the idea to the committee because the City has been recently discussing the people on Rydin Road and Castro Road—many of whom are temporarily living in RVs—in relation to the Safe Parking Program and so the locations were on her mind.
“Since we had the funding, I thought it would be a good idea to show a form of humanity during Women’s History Month,” she said.
In a correspondence, Jackson highlighted that it is due to the sponsorship of the City of Richmond and other local organizations that the Sisters in Solidarity Planning Committee has been able to coordinate an International Women’s Day Celebration for more than a decade.
“As women lead, nurture and contribute to the betterment of our city, nation and world, we close out Women’s History Month with an act of humanity. The International Women’s Day theme this year is ‘Choose to Challenge.’ The Sisters in Solidarity Committee chooses to challenge COVID-19,” said Jackson in her statement.