About the Race
Richmond School Board’s 3rd District representative will be elected on November 3, 2020, as part of the general election. There are two progressive candidates running in the 3rd district. Incumbent activist, Kenya Gibson, is running for re-election against newcomer Sabrina Gross.
About the District
Richmond is an independent city and the Commonwealth’s capital. It lies on the fall line of the James River between Chesterfield and Henrico counties. Richmond City’s population is roughly 200,000, although the greater metro area has a population of over 1 million. The 3rd District trends Democratic, with Rep. Don McEachin (D) winning over 75% of the vote during the 2018 congressional election.
School Board Member Kenya Gibson is a working mother who has served on the School Board since 2016. Since moving to Richmond in 2006 and serving as the vice president of the Linwood Holton Elementary PTA before her election to the Richmond School Board, Gibson has been a grassroots advocate for education funding and equality.
Gibson is outspoken about racial equality issues in education and advocates against referrals to police on student behavioral issues in schools, which disproportionately target Black, Latinx, and disabled students, preferring to replace police officers with professionals trained to handle student issues.
Her platform focuses on continuing the work she has done to improve Richmond’s schools in the last four years. She is also committed to finding ways to expand recruitment and retain teachers of color, focusing on Black male educators. Gibson wishes to safely transition back into school buildings as soon as it is safe to do so during the COVD-19 pandemic. Gibson voted to implement full virtual instruction during the Fall 2020 semester due to safety concerns over COVID-19 and the fact that not all Richmond public schools have full-time nurses.
Gibson’s opponent, Sabrina Gross, is running on a platform of transparency and community engagement. She has voiced support for comprehensive childcare measures during COVID-19, including a universal basic income during the pandemic. In the interest of equality, Gross believes the school board should implement Universal Design for Learning principles in all Richmond public schools. She will work to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline by reconstructing school discipline practices. Gross does not have Gibson’s experience or record of promoting progressive change.
Given her history of grassroots advocacy, her support for issues of racial equality in education, and her deep understanding of the problems facing Richmond schools, Kenya Gibson is the most progressive choice in this race.