REDI Leader Profile
Richmond ACORN chapter president and REDI leader Lorie Chinn is a shining example of community leadership in action. Driven by her deep spiritual faith and “strength in numbers,” Lorie envisions a thriving community where neighbors are involved and work together. Originally from Texas, Lorie came to Richmond in 1986 accompanying her sister. Since then “the city of pride and purpose” has been home. In 1988, she became involved with Greater Richmond Social Services where she sat on the Board of Directors for over 15 years. She served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for 8 of those years, which ultimately began her career as a community activist. At Coronado Elementary School she was the president of the School Advisory Counsel, School Site Counsel and a member of the District Advisory Council.
In 2004, when the city announced plans to cut services and lay off staff, Lorie took to the trenches. Around this time, she joined with ACORN Richmond and soon thereafter was voted in as president. ACORN joined in the fight with SEIU Local 790 in which Lorie helped organize town halls to inform community members of the dangerous costs of the proposed cuts. The closure of community centers meant the loss of safe places for the youth to play. Sadly, the mayor approved the cuts setting the seeds for the epidemic of youth violence in Richmond.
As a result of Lorie’s leadership she was approached about
running for elected office. She declined
the offer, preferring to fight with the people, and instead, was elected to the
executive board of her union, AFSME local 2700 and eventually rose through the
ranks to the central and district labor council. Her work on important issues like diversity
in the workplace with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and meeting
prominent black leaders, like Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Bill
Lucy was very empowering.
With ACORN, Lorie has worked to prevent a polluting crematorium from moving to Richmond. She worked to ensure an environmental review of a proposed high rise development on the toxic Zeneca site. She has been active in addressing community blight, tenants’ rights, increasing the minimum wage, anti-foreclosure and education campaigns locally and statewide. With ACORN she has lobbied for a variety of ACORN sponsored bills in Sacramento, as well as, in Washington DC. Her proudest moment was being an ACORN delegate to the Democratic National Convention where Barak Obama accepted the nomination to be the presidential candidate for the United States.
Lorie has played a prominent role in all of REDI’s work: The General Plan campaign, The Just Cause campaign, the Community Land Trust campaign, the Tenant Organizing campaign, our affordable housing work, and our transportation work. She is a vocal advocate and powerful speaker. She appreciates REDI for bringing together key organizations and the thousands of members they represent, because working together, REDI has made monumental steps towards improving Richmond.
Lorie currently serves as President of ACORN Richmond, treasurer for ACORN California, and as an ACORN leader trainer. She is the founder of LFC Empowerment Center, a referral and resource center for ex-offenders and at-risk adults in Richmond. She is a licensed minister and member of Covenant Worship Center in Berkeley. She is active in the choir, serves as a mentor and is the proud mother of two, Roderick Bolden and Rachel Chinn.