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Joy Report - Spring, 2015
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Rebuilding Lives Through Relationships and Job Training

Revitalizing a Commercial Corridor in Highland Park

Connecting Lives and Communities Through Shared Experiences

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Boaz and Ruth
3030 Meadowbridge Rd
P. O. Box 6129
Richmond Va 23222
804 329-4900

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Our Response

In the last couple of weeks we have watched our community here in Richmond and across the nation fill the streets to cry out for justice.

As an organization we feel compelled to respond. But what is the appropriate response? Here is what we do know, this work is important. Eradicating systemic racism should not fall solely on the shoulders of the oppressed; it requires those that built the system to dismantle the  structures they have benefited from. It means years of work, not days.

What do we seek?

  • Accountability for the numerous deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police
  • Changes in the justice system to ensure fair sentencing and address the disproportionate sentences handed down to Black Americans
  • Economic opportunities knowing that Black Americans have never been given equal access
  • To commit to using our buying power to shop and support minority owned businesses  

This work is not accomplished through a hashtag, social media post, or any other performative activism. This work takes many years of dedicated and consistent service. For 12 days and nights Richmonders have protested in the streets; protesting against 400 years of inequities. One day the protests will end but the need for equity work will not. It is our job both personally and organizationally to continue to be steadfast in our mission.
Boaz & Ruth has been in the Highland Park community for seventeen years. For us this means continuing to listen, learn and respond. We aim to connect across race, economic, and geographic divides of our city. We recently went through the process of creating a strategic plan to guide us for the next 3 years. In everything Boaz & Ruth does we strive to listen to the community voice of Highland Park residents. We aren’t providing dignity for people, they already have it. We aren’t rebuilding people’s lives; they are.  We are simply coming alongside individuals to provide support, resources and training. Do we get it wrong and make mistakes? Unequivocally yes. Will we keep trying? Without a doubt.

We believe that Black Lives Matter. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Marcus David Peters all mattered. And the many other names we may or may not know. In the midst of a global pandemic our brothers and sisters are willing to put their health and safety on the line to have their voices heard. We are calling on our supporters, volunteers, and friends to lean into their faith as we listen, learn, and act based on the voices we as a society have for so long ignored. As Desmond Tutu said “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Let it stand, we chose the side of the oppressed.

Yours in service,

Megan Rollins, President/CEO
Elizabeth Harkless, Chair
Ryan Rinn, Vice Chair
Gina Elbert, Secretary
Donna Wheeler, Treasurer
Teirra Everette
Kim MacLeod
Philip Miller
Robin Pope-Moss
Malaina Edler-Nelson
Thomas Underwood
Jessica Zullo

June Operations Update

Rebuilding Lives and Communities Through Relationships, Jobs & Economic Revitalization Print this page

Planted in the center of Highland Park, in Richmond, Virginia, Boaz & Ruth advances a mission of  rebuilding lives and communities through relationships, training, transitional jobs, and economic revitalization. 

Three key strategies are:

Empowering the physically blighted commercial corridor of Highland Park by restoring buildings, operating social enterprises and providing jobs.

Rebuilding lives of men and women needing a second chance through relationships, transitional jobs and training. 

Connecting Highland Park neighbors and our program participants to the wider Richmond community through shared experiences that bridge racial, economic, and geographic barriers

A key foundation of our mission is collaborative partnerships with our neighbors in Highland Park, with the criminal justice system, with other nonprofits and government agencies, as well as with individuals and faith-based and academic communities. Our creative vision has received national recognition including an invitation to the White House for an event recognizing social entrepreneurs who pursue innovative solutions to serious social issues. 

Because Highland Park is in the center of 6 of the 7 census blocks with the most number of returning folks from prison and jail, we have developed a formal reentry program to help individuals rebalance their lives. When someone is released from prison, a decent job, a safe home and healthy relationships are hard to come by. Add to these challenges of re-entry the fact that individuals often return to communities weighed down by the very problems and issues that help spawn crime and it is easy to understand the vicious cycle of recidivism. It is difficult to sustain long-term individual change without changing the community as. Who better to be change agents for a community than community members themselves who may have contributed to the community challenges?  Men and women doing the hard work of personal change are changing the community around them. That's what makes Boaz & Ruth's program so unique.