RISC (Richmonders Involved in Strengthening our Communities)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love loving mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” ~Micah 6:8

RISC seeks to build a powerful community of racially, religiously, and socio-economically diverse congregations who address the root causes of injustice in the Greater Richmond region.  At RISC, we believe a community that holds its leaders accountable for the decisions that they make and fights to see justice done is one where meaningful change can occur.

Or Ami has been a very active RISC congregation for several years and our presence has gorwn to the point where our attendance is a significant percentage of the overall attendance as RISC actions. 

Current RISC Happenings

Volunteer study teams are hard at work trying to figure out how best to improve the lot of disadvantaged members of our community by influencing decision makers with an in-person show of concern. 

The new area of concern is education – research is focused on pre-school and reading scores.

  • Pre-K is known to be highly predictive of improved school success but there are insufficient Pre-K opportunities to meet the needs of students who qualify in each of our area school districts. Funding for Pre-K would level the playing field for hundreds of students in Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield.
  • When school districts were asked for numbers of students reading below grade level, none could provide data – this is puzzling as they are administering tests every nine weeks. The question at hand is how to hold schools accountable for this information and urging investment in proven strategies to address the gaps is on the table. 

Old community problems persist – many live in poverty and housing costs consume most of their meager paycheck. RISC volunteers are still working on the issues of employment and affordable housing.

  • Fewer than 10% of the residents in Richmond’s lowest income neighborhoods are employed full time. Over the next ten years, more than 13,000 jobs will be available in the healthcare field. Most of the jobs in demand require entry level training lasting 2 years or less.  It’s estimated that one third (471+) of the available jobs will go unfilled every year because of the lack of skills and training of Richmond’s current workforce.  Volunteers are collaborating with the city workforce office and reaching out to all area health systems for assistance in training. Learn more about RISC’s employment initiatives.
  • In Richmond 50% of residents spend 30% or more of their income on housing, 22% of residents spend more than 50%.  RISC persuaded the city to bring an affordable housing trust fund to life (it had been approved but no advisory board had been created or money approved until RISC started its advocacy.) Again this year advocacy will focus on a reliable stream of funding to support the effort. Learn more about how RISC is working to increase the availability of affordable housing in our comminuty. 

Each RISC congregation is advised to build a Justice Ministry Network.  Network members are asked to recruit others to attend the Nehemiah Action where decision makers are asked to commitment to an investment for change.

Our youth have some great news to share – OATY reached out to other congregations to start Just Us Do It to get a youth social justice movement going. They had their first meeting focusing on educational issues on February 21.  We are proud of our teens and need to build on their enthusiasm and reach out to generate an intergenerational show of concern at the Action.

Upcoming RISC events:

March 23 6:30 pm – Rally to drive up recruitment for the Action; First Presbyterian Church | 4602 Cary Street

April  20 time TBD – Nehemiah Action; location TBD