Since my daughter’s birth six weeks ago, I have spent a tremendous amount of time in the middle of the night with a little human that does not yet hold up her end of a conversation. I quickly caught up on all of the shows in my Netflix queue, so I began to use those late night one-way conversations with Lennon to reflect on the things that are important to me. The “things” that I always land on in these reflection sessions are how can I be a better me….a better husband, son, brother, Executive Director, neighbor, friend, and now father. Bottom line, I have come to cherish these precious moments with Lennon when the rest of the world is asleep (aside from all of the bar patrons in the Fan) where all I have to do is think about how I can make my little world in Richmond a better place for everyone.
Over the past week and a half, I’ve used this time to reflect on the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and the transformational impact he had on our country. He should be has to be a role model and source of inspiration for our country as we enter into a new, divisive chapter. One quote from Dr. King has always stood out to me and it has been the focal point of my late night sessions.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
For me, these words are how I measure myself against the standard of character that I want to see in the world. Not because I want to be seen as the “best” or “nicest” person on the block, but because when I remain true to my values in the face of adversity, amazing growth and change happen. Change is good, change is progress, and we need a good amount of change right now throughout our country. If the prospect of changing the entire country seems as overwhelming to you as it does to me….let’s start smaller, more manageable…. I’m thinking we focus on the change we can affect here in our beautiful city by the river. Are you with me?
I get to work every day with people that I look up to and are living a life true to the message in Dr. King’s quote and affecting dramatic change in our community. The UnBound staff (what up Melody, Lauren, Megan, and Tim!), our supporters, volunteers, the top notch community partner organizations we’re connected to (Looking at you Peter Paul Development Center, YMCA, Neighborhood Resource Center, Richmond Cycling Corps….just to name a few), and most importantly the participants and entrepreneurs that come through our program are my role models. Each of them are strong, purpose-driven individuals who actively create the change they want to see in the world, and do not back down from that immense challenge. The exponential wave of change created from all of these amazing people remaining true to their values in the face of adversity will make Richmond a better place to live for EVERYONE. I’m honored to be a part of this change, and feel empowered being surrounded by a community that is dedicated to standing up and fighting “at times of challenge and controversy”, just like the great MLK stated. Keep it moving forward Richmond, I look forward to when Lennon and I can have a two-way conversation about all the good work you’re doing.