In April of 2005, I made a personal commitment related to my purchasing decisions here in Richmond. I published the text of my pledge online, and have since found that hundreds of others have come to share that commitment in writing, and many more have communicated their support in other ways, which is very heartening. It was never been my expectation that everyone should share this commitment, or that my point of view is the right one and that another point of view is the wrong one. I was and am and exercising the great civic freedom to choose how and where I spend my money, based on my values about the businesses and organizations that I want to support. And as I recently heard it asked, "what is the point of having values if you don't act on them?"
As a resident of Richmond for eleven years and a business owner here for
nine years, I'm very much invested in the growth of our community. But growth means different things to different people. Shortly after the newspaper coverage of my pledge, I received a message from a prominent Richmond businessperson and political figure indicating his frustration with my actions. I thought the conversation we had that proceeded would be useful to post here, more than a year later. (I've removed any identifying information from the exchange; he can identify himself if he so desires.)