CHEATS: ON RVA’S COMMUNITY (2013)

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I’m very excited about this week’s project. I have reached out to the entire Cheats Movement Family and even some first time Cheats Movement readers to help break down the meaning of “Community.” The exact question offered was: “What does Community mean to you?” I asked this question because “Community” has been a hot topic in Richmond this early part of 2013. There have been several public discussions about Community, some “side” discussions” and dare I say even some “underground discussions,” from all walks of RVA, regarding how we can improve RVA’s Community.

What I’ve found, and what really inspired me to reach out to the Cheats Movement Family, is that though these conversations are taking place - they seem to be taking place amongst interest groups that appear to be motivated to serve their own interests and present it as Community. I don’t mean that to be a criticism, it’s just my observation.

The Virginia General Assembly will have a discussion, or host a forum, about Community and the only people that would attend are Delegates, Senators, and lobbyist. TEDx, one of my favorite subjects of late, will host an event or talk about bringing the TEDx energy to RVA and how great it is for our Community. And I think events like the upcoming TEDx is a great thing that RVA should support but I (and along with others) have questioned, is that event just the innovative business community or does it represent a larger cut of RVA? On a more personal note, I was a part of a wonderful group of community activist a few weeks ago, sort of an anti-establishment – DIY – group, we had a very enlightening discussion about Community. But as I looked around that room, it was clear that the room lacked the financial capital, business and political influence to really claim that our group was a real representation of all of RVA.

The main reason why I love Richmond so much is because of its diversity. There is no silver bullet that can put RVA in a box. Nor, is there a way that you can really have an all-inclusive conversation on a topic like Community without leaving key elements behind. But knowing that, I can go one of two ways, I could say the challenge is too large and sit it out or I can play my part and join the conversations that I see taking place around Richmond. That is why I have decided to use this week on The Cheats Movement Blog to do my part and help put more momentum behind the conversations about Community that are already taking place.

I strongly believe that in order to move forward on advancing issues like “Community Improvement” there has to be a baseline understanding of the definition and how it applies in people’s lives. This week will by my attempt – the attempt of The Cheats Movement Family – to present a diverse understanding of RVA’s community and how we can use these answers to kick-start some real action.

Everyone should be encouraged to be involved in discussions about their Community. Community affects everyone. I am very pleased with the Richmonders (Family Members) that have lent their voice to this conversation. The range of responses that I have received  is more diverse than I’ve ever seen in one place about Richmond’s Community (thanks social media).

I have invited all – with no limits -  to participate in this conversation, and the offers still stands all week. I encourage everyone to comment – share – tweet – Facebook – post – do whatever to move this conversation forward. I believe we are all in this together and the more we know about each other, the further we can go to make RVA’s Community stronger. #WESEEIT

Photo by Nick Mastro from the Cheats Movement Epic Dinner Party 2012