Friday, March 24, 2023

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Public update meeting of the Russell City Reparative Justice Project Steering Committee 

The Steering Committee of the Russell City Reparative Justice Project will hold a public meeting on March 29 to provide an update on its work exploring potential local government responses to the forced relocation of Russell City’s mostly Black and Latinx residents during the early 1960s. 

The meeting will be held on the Zoom online meeting platform starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, with Hayward Mayor Mark Salinas, City Manager Kelly McAdoo, and Community Services Commission Chair Artavia Berry attending to respond to questions about the City’s expectations for the Project. 

Also scheduled to attend is Chris Lodgson, a lead organizer with Coalition for a Just and Equitable California (CJEC) and American Redress Coalition of California (ARCC), two grassroots organizations working for reparations and reparative justice for descendants of U.S. chattel slavery living in California.  

To learn more about the Russell City Reparative Project—and for a link and phone numbers for joining the Steering Committee meeting—visit the Project home page here on the City of Hayward website or email Assistant City Manager Regina Youngblood at

Established in 1853, Russell City was an unincorporated area near the Hayward Regional Shoreline and south of Hayward Executive Airport.  In the early 1960s, the area was annexed into the City of Hayward as part of a redevelopment plan that entailed the forced relocation of Russell City residents and businesses and rezoning of property for industrial development. 

Reflecting on that history, the Hayward Community Services Commission recommended the City work with Russell City residents and descendants to “determine appropriate restitution” for the City’s role in inequitable treatment of Russell City community members.  The Russell City Reparative Justice Project was initiated in response and is now led by a Steering Committee of former Russell City residents and descendants chosen by former Russell City residents and descendants. 

One current focus of the Project is to document local government decision-making and transactions associated with redevelopment of Russell City and how proceeds from resale of Russell City property were eventually used by Alameda County government.  Two San Francisco State University researchers documenting that history for the Steering Committee and the City, Elizabeth Brown and George Barganier, also are scheduled to attend the March 29 Project update meeting.  

In a related action, the Hayward City Council, on Nov. 16, 2021, issued a formal apology for Hayward’s role in systemic racism and its lasting generational impacts, including its participation in so-called urban renewal initiatives, like what occurred at Russell City, which often involved mass displacement and dislocation of low-income, frequently Black and Latinx households without fair compensation. 

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