Cesar Zepeda: Putting Hilltop back on the map
on September 29, 2020
Being president of a District Neighborhood Council requires initiative in the face of bureaucratic obstacles. So, Cesar Zepeda doesn’t take no for an answer.
“I just give them some time,” said Zepeda, who’s originally from Guadalajara, Mexico. “And I ask them the question again, but a little differently, until they tell me yes.” The strategy is paying off.
As president of Richmond’s Hilltop District in 2019, Zepeda built disability accessible sidewalks and installed new light poles in areas people feared to walk at night.
“He put Hilltop back on the map,” said the former police Chief Chris Magnus .
Beyond infrastructure, Zepeda raised $100,000 to revive music programs at Richmond High School and Kennedy High School. And co-founded Richmond Rainbow Pride, the first LBGTQI community of the city, which meets monthly to support and promote visibility and solidarity by participating in events.
“Cesar is a public servant in the truest sense of the word,” said Richmond City Councilmember Jael Myrick. “He sees a need and pulls together the resources and people needed to fix it.”
Zepeda’s priorities are now affordable housing, preventative measures to tackle crime, and promoting local hiring – especially now, during the pandemic. “With Covid-19 people are out of jobs,” says Zepeda. “They’re having a difficult time paying the rent.”
But his gaze is also focused on the future of environmental sustainability, with a new project for water recycling. The project would filter and reuse water for secondary purposes such as cleaning or watering plants.
Zepeda is confident about Hilltop’s future.“Sometimes people don’t see your vision,” he says. But, “Share it with them. They’re going to see it.”
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