It’s been six months since community organizer Lillie Estes died at 59.
Estes, a long-time champion of equal rights for public housing residents, co-founded Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Eviction, served as a board member to the Virginia Poverty Law Center and sat on the advisory council for the racial reconciliation organization, Hope in the Cities.
She was also a leading force behind the film series that became the Community Justice Network, a movement aiming to take a people-focused, de-institutionalized approach to advocacy. Her death sent shockwaves through the activist community.
Estes, who was found dead in her Gilpin Court home on Jan. 31, would have turned 60 on Aug. 6. To honor her life and celebrate her birthday, the Community Justice Network will host a series of events starting this Saturday.
Saturday, Aug. 3
Richmond Main Public Library, 2 p.m.
Author Jean Trounstine, who wrote the book “Boy With a Knife: A story of murder, remorse, and a prisoner’s fight for justice” will join activist Jenise Justice Brown and Lillie Estes’ surviving son, Tobias Estes, for a discussion titled “Why We Shouldn’t Put Children in Adult Prisons.”
Sunday, Aug. 4
Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge, 3 p.m.
Community Justice Network members will lead a walk across the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge, starting at the Richmond Coliseum. A resource fair, including discussions about government accountability and civic engagement, will follow the walk. The Legal Aid Justice Center, Richmond For All, Advocates for Richmond Youth and MuckRock will present information and answer questions about their services.
Monday, Aug. 6
Charles S. Gilpin Community Farm, 6 p.m.
This year, Estes’ birthday falls on the same day as National Lights Out, an event intended to raise awareness for something Estes cared deeply about: community policing in the U.S. To celebrate, friends, family, activists and community members are invited to gather at the Charles S. Gilpin Community Farm, located at the corner of N. 26th and T streets.
For more information, visit facebook.com/communityjusticenetwork.