RICHMOND — For more than 40 years, Rubicon Programs, an East Bay nonprofit, has assisted residents, many of them with rap sheets, get housing and employment. The organization has won accolades for its work, but all too often, participants returned, needing help again and again.
Even more depressingly, years later, their children would come in asking for help, underscoring the immense challenge of eradicating poverty, even in one of the wealthiest regions of the country.
A mural that was designed to encourage hope for those touched by incarceration was unveiled at the Reentry Success Center in Richmond on Monday. The mural, titled Freedom's Expressions, was designed and created by formerly incarcerated local residents and family members affected by incarceration.
Described as “bright and beautiful,” the mural was created over a four-month period with guidance from two professional mural artists.
In a statement, participant Albert G. described the project, which was largely funded by a $7,000 grant from the Richmond Neighborhood Public Arts Mini-Grants program, as “a way for me to start coming back while giving back.”
The Hearst Foundation has awarded $725,000 in grants to nine organizations in the Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Gate. The awards go to organizations and institutions that reflect the philanthropic interests of William Randolph Hearst in education, health, culture and social services.
The San Francisco Film Society and Richmond’s Rubicon Programs were awarded with $150,000 each. The Film Society will be able to use the grant to strengthen education programming for youths. The Rubicon programs will be able to support their education and employment programming.
The Hearst Foundations awarded $725,000 worth of grants to nine Bay Area organizations this summer for their work spanning a wide gamut from mentoring programs for children in low-income communities to aiding the construction of an experimental learning ship.
The biggest awards, $150,000 each, were given to Richmond’s Rubicon Programs, to support education and employment programming, and the San Francisco Film Society, to strengthen education programming for youth.
A repayment program established by the state last year to protect low-income Californians from losing their driver’s licenses over unpaid traffic fines is not working in many California counties, according to a coalition of civil rights advocates, who say local courts are failing to take a person’s ability to pay into account.Led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the coalition filed suit Wednesday against Solano County Superior Court — one of dozens, it says, that have been intractable on the issue — and warned 26 others that they could be next.
The ACLU is joined in the suit by Rubicon Programs, Bay Area Legal Aid, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Western Center on Law & Poverty, and the Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman law firm.
Anne Cevallos, Project Manager for our Bridges to Home Program, and Dorothy Perkins, Rubicon participant, were interviewed. Dorothy talks about the support she received from Rubicon: housing placement, group therapy, and individual therapy in this short piece.
“A quarter of all adult Americans have an arrest or conviction that could show up on a background check”, said Jessie Warner, director of re-entry legal services and policy for Rubicon Programs. No longer being stigmatized by past convictions “can make a huge difference between low-wage work and career development,” she said.
Ron Wilson (Financial Coach at Rubicon) said one Rubicon client, who was using the free tax help for the first time, was so overcome when she realized that she would be getting a $5,000 refund that she broke down sobbing. "That money will make a big difference in her life," he said. "She had used predatory loans in the past. This is a tough economy. We really want our clients to save their money by not spending it on a tax preparer."