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Demnlus Johnson III, City Council Candidate

on January 31, 2018

Demnlus Johnson III waves and smiles to young kids and their parents as he asks a Nevin Community Center employee if they’ll be hosting a Halloween party this year.

He’s at the community center — which sits across the street from his great grandparents’ home — speaking at a candidates’ forum about his plans for the city. Wearing a sharp, gray suit and delivering each answer with seemingly endless energy, Johnson, 25, has big plans for the city. He says he’ll work to bring economic opportunity to the city “without leaving anyone behind” and increase police-community collaboration to improve public safety.

Johnson, a fourth-generation Richmond resident, was born and raised in the Iron Triangle and attended local Richmond schools.

His great-grandparents moved to Richmond during World War II to work in the shipyards and purchased a home in the city. During this time period, African Americans were prevented from purchasing homes in majority-white areas of Richmond. He takes pride in being a homegrown candidate running for council.

“My great-grandparents bought a house [on 5th street], my other great-grandparents built a house on 7th street, and my mom and dad met on 6th street,” he said. “Richmond is my heart.”

After graduating from Howard University and volunteering in several underserved communities, including Detroit and Maryland, he decided to move back to Richmond.

“I really want to make a difference in the world, and I feel the best place to start is home,” Johnson said.

Today he is a community worker at Richmond High School, the chair of the Economic Development Commission, and a member of the Citizens Police Review Commission.

Joe Fisher, who has mentored Johnson since they were introduced by ex-mayor Irma Anderson, said the candidate has skills that are rare for his age.

“Some young people have the desire but don’t have the personality and equipment to do this [work],” Anderson said. “This young fellow really impressed me.”

If elected, Johnson would be the youngest person ever to serve on the Richmond City Council.

“It’s not the lapse of time that makes you wise; it’s the use of time,” Fisher said.

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