Russell City Reparative Justice Project

Established in 1853, Russell City was an unincorporated area of Alameda County located near the Hayward shoreline south of the Hayward Executive Airport.
Russell City 1948 (photo courtesy of the Hayward Area Historical Society)

In the early 1960s, Russell City was annexed into the City of Hayward as part of a redevelopment plan that entailed the relocation of Russell City residents and businesses and rezoning property for industrial development. 

On Nov. 16, 2021, the Hayward City Council voted unanimously to issue a formal apology for the City’s historical role in the perpetuation of racial discrimination and racially disparate impacts through its past actions and inactions. 

The apology resolution specifically cited Hayward’s participation in the redevelopment of Russell City, whose population was made up largely of African American, Latinx and other People of Color. 

Russell City Reparative Justice Project

The Russell City Reparative Justice Project (RCRJP) is the City of Hayward’s response to a recommendation of its Community Services Commission, which called for The City to work with former Russell City residents and descendants to “determine appropriate restitution” for the City of Hayward’s involvement in inequitable treatment and the forced relocation of Russell City Community members. 

In cooperation and coordination with former Russell City residents and descendants and other community stakeholders, the RCRJP is being carried out in four phases of work—some of which may take place concurrently.

Project Phases:

  1. Phase 1 of the Project is the Pre-Work Phase and entails discovery, fact-finding and academic research; formation of a governing structure for the Project team and participants; and identifying and contacting former residents and descendants.
  2. Phase 2 of the Project is the Community Building, Storytelling and Discussion Phase and involves establishment and implementation of the Project team governing structure; community-based information gathering and storytelling; consideration and evaluation of reparative justice models; and synthesis of learning from academic research and community-based research and storytelling.
  3. Phase 3 is the Proposals Development Phase with the object of developing consensus on proposals and recommendations for City Council consideration and potential consideration by other governing bodies for appropriate restitution and/or reparative justice responses.
  4. Phase 4 of the RCRJ Project would involve City Council action and potential actions by other governing bodies to approve and implement reparative justice responses.

Enter the Russell City Reparative justice Project Portal