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Richmond Free Press

Personality: Jo E. White






Spotlight on founder of the Richmond Guardian Angels


     Jo E. (for Eloise) White believes in being a proactive citizen.

     “If people don’t show an interest in their own community, then it will be difficult for others to care,” she says.

     That’s why the soft-spoken, 51-year-old is the founder and commander of the Richmond Guardian Angels, an offshoot of the famed New York anti-crime organization.
     By wearing the trademark uniform of a red beret, red jacket and white shirt, she says the Richmond Guardian Angels are showing a willingness “to stand
up and help where needed,” instead of sitting on the sidelines as others do.
     “We are not the police,” the bespectacled Mrs. White says firmly, clearly defining the role of the local Angels.
     “We are in close contact with the police, but we are not the police. I don’t want us to be viewed as police or vigilantes.”
     Instead, she wants her group to be seen as citizens willing to go into the community to keep an eye on what is going on and inform police about conditions to help officers do a better job of protecting residents.
     That’s a principal reason she leads the Richmond members on walking patrols in uniform for two to three hours on Friday and Saturday nights, primarily in
Highland Park on North Side.
     “Police can’t be all places at all times, and neither can we. But a few extra sets of eyes and ears certainly helps,” says Mrs. White, the wife of a Richmond
native and Army veteran.
     She also wants this group to be known for its community service. So under her leadership, the Guardian Angels also take part in an array of other activities
— ranging from a cemetery cleanup to supporting health initiatives, youth programs and job initiatives.
     Mrs. White t akes on her duties despite a busy schedule as the full-time partner in a Richmond construction business.
     She got involved with the Angels three years ago when she teamed with another resident,  Thomas Cox, to start a Neighborhood Watch for the Highland
Park area.
     Mrs. White was ready to do more after gunshots in a Highland Park neighborhood park raised concern.
     At the request of the area’s City Council representative, Ellen F. Robertson, 6th District, she and Mr. Cox began talking with police about organizing a
citizen patrol group.
     Mrs. White says that being from New Jersey and familiar with the Guardian Angels’ work, she contacted the Angels’ national office and sought permission to start a chapter in Richmond. It was granted, and she launched the program in June 2010. She says that the New York headquarters has been very
supportive, including supplying the trademark berets, jackets and shirts for Richmond members without charge.
     The community response also has been “very positive,” she says. “The only people that seem to be against us are the people who are not doing the
right things anyway.”
     A close-up of this week’s Personality, Jo E. White:
Birthplace: Newark, N.J.
Current home: Richmond.
Occupation: Partner in United
Contractors of Virginia, LLC.
Education: West Side High and Essex College of Business, both
in Newark.
Family: Husband, Larry D. White;

Daughter, Moise L. Carrington, a medical doctor who lives in Atlanta.
Number of Richmond Angels members: We have 18 Guardian Angels, three are administrative only and 15 are on our patrol team. We also have nine Junior
Guardian Angels.
Accomplishments to date: We now have 175 members in the Highland Park Neighborhood Watch.
Where safety patrols are conducted: Most of our patrols are conducted in the North Side of Richmond, particularly in Highland Park. We sometimes patrol
the VCU area as well.
My 2012 goals: A long list of community service events, including involvement in three community discussions, breast cancer events, an adopt-a-street
project, a jobs program and the creation of a young adult leader-
Want to get involved?
What: Richmond Guardian Angels.
Requirements: Be 18 years old, or if younger, have a parent’s written permission. Be willing to take the Guardian Angels martial arts training. Be willing to testify in court if a crime is observed.
Opportunities: To take part in street patrols and participate in community service projects.
Further details: Contact Richmond commander, Mrs. White, (804) 937-6836 or Richmondva@guardianangels. org. The group’s website:
What I like most about Richmond: One word — historical. Richmond is one of the
nation’s most historic cities. Richmond is filled with landmarks.
No. 1 suggestion to improve Richmond: Reduce the crime. Yes, I know, that’s real easy to write on paper but not so easy to do. I suggest that we work harder to get more community involvement.
Prized possession: My cats, Tiger and Carrington.
How I unwind: Enjoy watching “Law and Order,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Closer.”
When I have a chance to relax, I like to turn on one of those TV shows.
Three words that best describe me: Strong-willed, positive and humorous. Oh, sorry, I have to add one more … adorable in my red beret.
The one thing I can’t stand: I don’t mind conflicts, but I want them settled, and I want to move on.
Person who influenced me the most: My sister Brenda Howard in New Jersey. I might be a Guardian Angel, but she’s been my guardian angel all my life.
Best time of my life: I’ll never forget my daughter’s Long White Coat ceremony. When medical students of Howard University College of Medicine graduate,
they have this ceremony. I put the long white coat on my daughter.
My next goal: Outside ofcompleting the goals I set forth earlier, my next goal would be to get my partially edited book published.




Vol. 26 No. 34 (2094 Edition) Aug. 22 - 28, 2012

Anti-crime group, area churches to form human chain










March 20, 2014

Page 2 - "Clean Richmond Saturday"

Page 7 - Black-on-Black Homicides Campaign



Vol. 27 No 16 (2127 Edition)   April 17 - 23, 2013


Highland Park neighborhood changes for good





Help cleanup Woodland Cemetery








This Saturday (February 4th) the Richmond chapter of the Guardian Angels will be coordinating a cleanup of Woodland Cemetery. The Cemetery is home toArthur Ashe, John Jasper, as well as many of “Richmond’s black elite.”


If you’re interested, show up at 10am prepared to work (weather permitting)! February 4, 2012 from 10am until weather permitting. Call 804.249.4165 for further details.


Link to story:




Guardian Angels expand focus

Posted: Jan 03, 2012 11:47 AM ESTUpdated: Jan 03, 2012 12:27 PM EST


By Tayleigh Davis - bio | email




RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A national organization known for helping neighborhoods curb crime has been in Richmond for two years. The Guardian Angels are now expanding their focus to other parts of the city.

Three murders happened within three days of Christmas last year, and those volunteers want to do all they can to get at the root of this problem and help prevent some of this crimes.


Link to article:



STYLE  Weekly

Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion


WeeklyWatch Groups Launch Campaign Against Street Crime

by Tom Nash


The Guardian Angels are bringing their fight against crime to Richmond City Hall and the FM airwaves, saying it's time to take action against black-on-black homicide.


Jo White and Tommy Cox, who co-founded the Richmond chapter of the citizen patrol organization, are launching the campaign with support from city Neighborhood Watch programs.


Thirty seven people were murdered in the city last year. Thirty six of the victims were black, White says, and so were "most, if not all" of the perpetrators. "There's something wrong and something needs to be done," she says. "We want to deal with the people who are right there on the street who are causing our city to go down."


The campaign will start with the basics: a neighborhood cleanup in Highland Park on Saturday at 10 a.m. The group will meet at Fire House 15 Restaurant, 3011 Meadowbridge Road. White says she hopes the cleanups will become an official citywide event every third Saturday. Litter, vandalism and graffiti create an environment conducive to crime, she says: "A society that appears to be lawless will itself breed lawlessness."


The group also is asking local radio stations to drop "music that promotes violence" from their broadcasts. Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic says his department will begin its support of the initiative by providing more crime data and focusing on enforcement of trespassing laws.


While the neighborhood watches aren't equipped to address the roots of black-on-black homicide, White says, they can deal with what she calls "the aftermath." Overall, she says, the neighborhood watches want to make it more difficult for drug dealers to operate by squeezing out "thug" culture. She says a start would be a City Council ordinance requiring surveillance cameras in front of any store with an Alcoholic Beverage Control license, and School Board support for a more strictly enforced school dress code.


"We've lost more black youth in the community than in war," Cox says. "A lot of people don't realize this."

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