Today, Urbanful reporter Erica Hendry posted a more in-depth interview of my story (you can read it HERE). It's funny how sometimes it takes a project like this to look back and see what started you on a path somewhere. Although it has been seven years It seems just like yesterday that I closed on this little condo in Congress Heights and was picking out furniture (a later a little rascal named Teddy).I had no idea that I would literally still be sitting here right now (at this moment writing a report on Anacostia small business success stories), updating not just this blog but four others and trying to figure out how to tweet as a dozen Southeast entities while trying to doing my full-time job!
That is not to "humble brag" but merely to say even I with all of planning and foresight and late night hours I couldn't have foreseen all the opportunities and experiences I have been blessed to have living and working in Ward 8. It's funny, when you are so close to a thing it is sometimes heard to see the bigger picture and to see how other's may see you. To me, I am just doing what I have done all my life -- try and improve things whenever I can, and try to do the right thing whenever possible. I never considered my work "noble" just authentic for me. After spending eight years in the private sector feeding my bank account I thought it was time to feed my soul (but it would be nice to feed my bank account again!). I suppose my very first reSPIN client was me. I wanted to undergo a personal and professional makeover. I wanted to challenge myself to evolve. I wanted to know it wasn't too late for to change my own path. I suppose that is how I finally chose my six word memoir.
Over the past seven years I have had the privilege and the fortune to have met and collaborated with some amazing people living and/or working for the improvement of east of the river. I am truly thankful for their advice, service, experience, connections and friendship. I am even thankful for the people who challenged me personally and questioned by commitment to the cause. Their skepticism and doubt just made me work harder. So while I am extremely flattered to be acknowledged for my work making "Southeast" (which of course I have to mention includes the Northeast and Southwest quadrant) more accessible I am just really happy that progress is being made and that people -- on both sides of the river -- are paying attention in a real and meaningful way. The revitalization of east of the river has been and will always be a community-driven one. It's impossible for it to be any other way.
It's kind of ironic when I think about it. I've now lived and worked east of the river (or River East depending on who you ask) for over seven years and the first public "honor" or acknowledgment for the work I do has come from outside of the primary area in which I work.
I suppose "Southeast" is moving from the fringes and tracking more "front and center" than I initially thought. Hmmm, maybe I should put that on a t-shirt! ;)
XOXO (and #SoutheastLove)
P.S. Everyone keeps asking me where they can get a Southeast Love sign. You can PRINT one here. I also keep one me at all times so if you see me feel free to ask to take a picture with it. Maybe if I can get some funding (hint, hint) perhaps David and I can invest in some new marketing swag. :)