The Bike Hub opens in Richmond

There was a ton of stuff going on in Richmond on Martin Luther King Day. Rich City Rides was opening up the Bike Hub, their satellite repair location on the Richmond Greenway. Nakari led a mural project to decorate the new shed, and Najari also got decorated, with a well-deserved Jefferson Award for community service. There were also other projects going on on the Greenway, as well as up at the North Richmond Farm.

This being Rich City Rides, we had to get on our bikes, and Nakari led us up to the farm, where there was additional service work going on, along with some poetry slamming and a DJ. Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia was also there to praise Doria Robinson and Urban Tilth, a great community organization which has a number of interesting programs and is a fiscal sponsor of Rich City Rides.

Overall there were at least four media outlets covering the events, several with film crews. (I have a brief cameo on the ride in the video below; I’d brought up my trailer to bring some equipment for the Bike Hub).

Nakari shared with me that he didn’t quite understand why there was so much interest in what they were doing; he is just trying to do what he can to help his community.

My cynical take is that it was MLK day, so all the news media were looking for black people doing feel-good things to put on camera, and they’ll all forget about them tomorrow. And there’s probably some truth to that. But I think there’s something real, too.

When Naj and Nakari were growing up in Richmond (Nakari says), they didn’t have positive male role models in the community. Part of why he does the work he does with Rich City is so he can be that role model for the next generation. And I think part of the reason why there’s interest in what Rich City is doing is that it looks like it’s working. Sure, it’s a small success in the grand scheme of things, 10 or 20 people on a bike ride. But as a society we have so little clue about how to make a difference in disadvantaged communities, that even little bit of progress can be a big deal.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has” ~ Margaret Mead

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