Note to self: Positive recognition is a great motivator.
At Richmond's City Council meeting this past Tuesday evening, our mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, recognized Further The Work as Richmond's Small Business of the Month
, citing our "outstanding work in service to Richmond's nonprofit community."
For me, the event had a wonderfully small-town feel: the mayor took a few moments to publicly and formally acknowledge our work, offered me the chance to say a few words to the council members and the audience of Richmond residents attending the City Council meeting, and presented me with a certificate of recognition, complete with the city's seal.
The whole thing took perhaps ten minutes, tops. Nonetheless, as I stood listening to the mayor I was unexpectedly gratified by this little ceremonial event witnessed by both friends and strangers, all of whom were gathered together in that room to support and strengthen this small city.
As I gazed around the City Council chamber of our renovated civic center, I felt proud to be included in the ranks of all those -- individuals, government officials, corporate partners, funders, educators, and nonprofit organizations -- who are working towards the vision of a better Richmond.
The room was filled with citizens of every hue and every age, united in the shared desire to advocate for and contribute to a more just and effective city:
- The RYSE Center demonstrated its new youth-friendly website, RYSEPortal, which will serve as an electronic resource directory and community network for young people;
- Our city manager, Bill Lindsay, and his staff presented the latest draft of the city's Five-Year Strategic Business Plan, intended to support Richmond's progress towards our 20-year vision to create a city that breathes life into the hopes and efforts of its residents;
- During the open forum, residents' comments merged the ordinary with the aspirational, as they expressed their thoughts about issues ranging from street lights and minority businesses to blight and bicycle paths;
- Two outstanding local artists, Ellen Gailing and Jan Brown, were recognized for their decades of work in service to Richmond;
- And reflecting our nature as true Californians committed to both physical health and environmentally sustainable food production, the Council adopted a resolution urging public organizations in Richmond to purchase milk produced without recombinant bovine growth hormone.
As I left the chamber, certificate in hand, I was struck by the integrity and determination demonstrated during that City Council meeting. In a city that generally receives bad press when it receives any press at all, here was evidence of Richmond's capacity to defy public opinion and continue to forge a path to a sustainable, equitable, and harmonious future.So, on behalf of everyone here at Further The Work, I would like to publicly offer a formal "thank you" to acknowledge all of the colleagues, clients, community members, service providers, educators, and civic leaders who are supporting Richmond's revitalization. It is a true pleasure and honor to partner with you to further our collective work.