Richard Boyd saw the light in people before they could see it themselves and invited them to embrace their potential. He never counted anyone out - he always focused on the good in people and built from there.
Richard built people up – if you wanted to grow, to reach a new level of realizing your potential, he would be there with wise words that opened doors to new experiences. After he achieved his goal of helping someone get to college, he didn’t wipe his hands - he kept investing in the relationship. He made lifetime commitments to people.
Richard Boyd was a bridge builder. He was a genius at connecting one person’s needs with another person’s gifts. He had a unique ability to place people in the right positions where they could use their talents to help people. This came from the deep, authentic value he saw in each person he knew. He built relationships and took the time to get to know people for who they really were.
Richard was an unusual revolutionary. He fought for what Martin Luther King called “a revolution of values.” He knew that if we could not overcome individualism, materialism, racism, and other underlying values, we would not be able to truly fix the more obvious problems like inequity in jobs, housing, and education.
Richard was deeply committed to the truth that Black people and all people of color deserve better from each other and from the institutions and powers that be. He had high expectations of all of us and was willing to work with anyone committed to making change.
He loved taking a group of Black and Brown folks to a restaurant that was all white people. He wanted us to understand that these spaces are for us too. He challenged us to be great. He would challenge your values and things that held you back from reaching your potential. He got joy out of seeing people be successful.
All this investing in people and building bridges between people translated to power. Power to get things done. Power to transform the status quo. He could get meetings with the city manager, the police chief, and the county supervisor when nobody else could. But this power was never the goal. When he called, people wanted to help because they knew he was fundamentally working to help people and his integrity was impeccable.
Richard refused to let systems keep him from having a good, healthy life. He insisted that we take care of ourselves and our families. He was a living example of this, even leaving a meeting early to go take a walk with his dog because that is what his body and soul needed.
Countless people in Richmond got to cross the bridges that Richard helped build and got to grow into a greater part of themselves because of the way he walked alongside them.
These transformations continue to enrich our lives and inspire us today.
Tamisha Walker & Eli Moore