Keith Williams, pastor of Ennis Chapel Church of God in Christ in Richmond, recently spoke out to oppose the Sugary Sweetened Beverage Tax, which will appear on the November ballot.
“The community doesn’t need a tax, which will primarily affect people of color,” Williams said.
While he says he agrees with the proposed benefits associated with the tax, such as improved health and fitness programs, a tax is unnecessary.
“The goals are wonderful, but to create a tax for this is absurd,” he said.
Williams says local politicians advocating for the proposed tax should adjust their priorities. “We need to focus on health as a whole and create programs that promote health, affordable housing, jobs and violence reduction,” he said.
Ennis Chapel is active in city and countywide efforts to make changes related to a number of social issues affecting Richmond and surrounding neighborhoods. The church is committed to partnering with leaders from the faiths, nonprofit and business community to make changes at all levels of government, he said.
Over the summer, he joined representatives of the Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO) and more than 300 clergy members to speak to the Governor’s office about the impact of proposed 2012-13 tax initiatives.
Williams has served as pastor of Ennis Chapel for nine years. During his tenure, the congregation successfully financed the building of a sister church—Ennis Chapel in Ghana.
A native of Chicago, Williams served in the U.S. Navy for four years and attended UC Berkeley, earning a degree in criminal justice. He continued his studies at Patton Bible College.
Williams worked as a correctional officer at the San Quentin Prison and ultimately became Associate Warden. After 30 years of service, he retired in 2011 from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
Pastor Williams and his wife Vannette have three children and three foster children.
For information about Ennis Chapel visit www.ennischapel.org or call (510) 235-4217.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.