Russell City Reparative Justice Project
The City of Hayward is working with former Russell City residents and their descendants to explore appropriate reparative responses to the forced relocation of Russell City residents from their homes and businesses.
Established in 1853, Russell City was an unincorporated area of Alameda County located near the Hayward shoreline between present day Chabot College and Hayward Executive Airport.
In the early 1960s, Russell City was annexed into the City of Hayward as part of a redevelopment plan that entailed the relocation of Russell City residents and businesses and rezoning property for industrial development.
On Nov. 16, 2021, the Hayward City Council voted unanimously to issue a formal apology for the City’s historical role in and the perpetuation of racial discrimination and racially disparate impacts of its past actions and inactions.
The apology resolution specifically cited Hayward’s participation in the redevelopment of Russell City, whose population was made up largely of African American, Latinx and other People of Color.
The Russell City Reparative Justice Project (RCRJP) is the City of Hayward’s response to a recommendation of its Community Services Commission, which called for The City to work with former Russell City residents and descendants to “determine appropriate restitution” for the City of Hayward’s involvement in inequitable treatment and the forced relocation of Russell City Community members.
In cooperation and coordination with former Russell City residents and descendants and other community stakeholders, the RCRJP is being planned to be carried out in three to four phases of work—some of which would take place concurrently.
Are you a former resident or descendant of Russell City? Fill out the form below to get involved and stay updated on the project:Russell City Reparative Justice Contact Form
- Phase 1 of the Project is the Pre-Work Phase and entails discovery, fact-finding and academic research; formation of a governing structure for the Project team and participants; and identifying and contacting former residents and descendants.
- Phase 2 of the Project is the Community Building, Storytelling and Discussion Phase and involves establishment and implementation of the Project team governing structure; community-based information gathering and storytelling; consideration and evaluation of reparative justice models; and synthesis of learning from academic research and community-based research and storytelling.
- Phase 3 is the Proposals Development Phase with the object of developing consensus on proposals and recommendations for City Council consideration and potential consideration by other governing bodies for appropriate restitution and/or reparative justice responses.
- Phase 4 of the RCRJ Project would involve City Council action and potential actions by other governing bodies to approve and implement reparative justice responses.
Pre-Work Phase activities are already under way with specifically assigned staff from the Office of the City Manager. Staff have identified academic researchers and facilitators with experience working with communities and local governments around issues of race, discrimination and equity.
Additionally, City staff are working to develop components of a broad and sustained public communication plan to notify, contact and engage former Russell City residents and descendants and to establish a universally accessible digital home for the project.
Steering Committee Member’s Role is to:
- Serve as representatives of the Russell City Community in communications between the City of Hayward and the larger Russell City community
- Make decisions for the Russell City community
- Maintain communications of any developments and decisions to the Russell City community
During the month of October, 2022, community members involved with the Russell City Reparative Justice Project nominated 18 individuals to considered for the project's Steering Committee. After reading submitted candidate statements, hearing speeches and reviewing candidate questions and answers, community members selected 11 committee members and two alternates to serve as representatives of the Russell City Community. Learn more about the election results by clicking the button below.
Dec. 1, 2022 - Steering Committee Meeting 1
During the first meeting of the Steering Committee participants discussed upcoming meeting objectives, team assignments and the decision making process.
Oct. 20, 2022 - Project Meeting 3
During meeting 3, participants learned more about the Steering Committee candidates and discussed timelines for the voting period. Learn more about the elected Steering Committee here.
Sept. 29, 2022 - Project Meeting 2
During meeting 2, participants continued the discussion about creating a steering committee and further outlined the nomination process and timeline.
Sept. 13, 2022 - Project Meeting 1
This meeting is the first of a series of conversations stemming in part from the Council’s desire to more fully understand what happened during this displacement. Participants discussed the creation of a project steering committee.
Recommendation from Community Services Commission to Hayward City Council to Adopt a Resolution Apologizing to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and Latinx Community Members on Behalf of the City of Hayward for Its Implicit and Explicit Role in Perpetuating Historical Institutional Racism in the City of Hayward and Review the Attached Workplan.