Recently, magic has been on my mind. How does one become an expert at card tricks? Why do we choose rabbits to pull out of hats? How does my mom make consistently good food without using recipes? I don’t have answers to these questions. That said, I am thoroughly convinced of the magic of speculative fiction– the work of imagining equitable, alternative futures offers a much needed roadmap to build structures that deny the logics of the status quo. When I read R.F Kuang or Kim Stanley-Robinson, I feel ever-more grounded in the work of Riverside and excited about where we're going. Here’s some of our magic from the last month.

Riverside’s Student Cohort

Our student cohort has been busy! Since our last meeting, our participants reflected on the following prompts: Where do you find love? Where do you find joy? Where do you find safety? We took photos connected to the prompts and shared why those photos connect. This exercise built the foundation for our in-person meeting where we shared the role of Riverside as not just a coffeehouse, but a site of community building. We reaffirmed our community agreements and decision-making norms, and the one and only Justin Ransburg facilitated an art-making process where we worked in teams to communicate care for self, care for others, and care for the environment. We’re getting closer to a first rough draft of our mural, and are looking forward to getting input from our South Jackson neighbors. Special thanks to Chef Phillip for catering and Treshika for making some Michelin star worthy banana pudding.

The Community Foundation of Mississippi – the benefactors of our mural project– invited Antonio (a student cohort member) and myself to their first ever Friendsgiving celebration. I spoke about the importance of learning indigenous history, the virtues of generosity, and what it means to live in a world where our governing principle is mutual care. Antonio blew away our table guests by sharing his own journey, passion for music, and investment in Riverside. We really can’t emphasize enough how exceptional the young people we get to work with are.

Reviewing our homework assignment in teams before our group discussion

J'Amber, Jordan, and Ms. Vanessa share their "care for environment" collage

Antonio and I at the Community Foundation Friendsgiving

Newsworthy Red-Tape Win

Hercules had his twelve Labors. For Riverside, getting an official address from the City of Jackson felt basically the same. But you know what, WE DID IT. We are officially located at 3510 Terry Road. Next up is figuring out how to get our business license. Stay tuned 🙂

Design

We met with some incredible artists from Jxnology to design the vault space inside our building. Based on community feedback, we’re looking to curate a rotating showroom that uplifts the work of local creatives. We can’t wait to share the final look! Thank you also to Akili Kelly from the Kelly Factory for creating a floor-plan layout for Riverside, pro-bono. We’re so grateful for our community partners.

All our love <3>

Costs and fees are piling up as our cooperative designs a sustainable coffeehouse, gathering space, and after-school program in South Jackson. Please consider donating at our nonprofit partner site to help us get off the ground.

Check out our nonprofit partner site at http://riversidecollective.org/ and/or follow us on Instagram @riversidecollective.jxn for more info and updates.

Want to get involved? Email riversidecollective.jxn@gmail.com with information about your interests.

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