Thad Williamson is associate professor of leadership studies and philosophy, politics, economics and law (PPEL). He serves on the mayor's Anti-Poverty Commission and on the Richmond Regional Economic Development Strategy Committee. Williamson coauthored the piece with John Moeser, senior fellow in the University's Bonner Center for Civic Engagement.
For the first time in its 271-year history, Virginia’s capital is giving full attention to poverty. The mayor and City Council have determined that no longer will poverty be considered too big or too complex to address.
Taking the lead, in May 2011, Mayor Dwight C. Jones created an anti-poverty commission with a charge to assess the extent of poverty, examine the history behind the concentration of poverty and, most important, to identify what needs to be done and how to do it.
The Anti-Poverty Commission worked on its assignment for more than a year and a half. More than 40 people representing local government, public schools, state agencies, private business, the faith community, nonprofit organizations, colleges, universities, research institutes and neighborhoods — including those most affected by poverty — focused on this crisis.