Dear Jacksonville, 


Words and Photos by Amiyah Golden

Dear Jacksonville, 

It’s time you and I had a serious conversation.

Now you know I love you… I am one of your number one defenders, especially when people try to tarnish your name. They call you boring, unwelcoming, discouraging and more. I shut down the complaints, but honestly, I’m running out of ammunition. What else can I say to avert the naysayers? 

I send the events you host. I repost them on my socials (even Facebook), and I direct   to the fun, but it seems like the proceedings are starting to trickle. There’s not much range. I know you like to get down and party … me too! That’s how we met; I’ll never forget that night! But some of my companions can’t join the festivities: They’re either sober, on a time constraint, too young ( or just simply not interested. I came to the realization that you don’t encompass the many facets that we possess as a city! There are numerous interests that we would love to immerse ourselves in besides the food festivals and bar hopping.

Don’t get me wrong, you know I’m a foodie, but I’ve noticed that your culinary span falls short. You keep bringing me tacos, burgers and pizza — and while I love all three — I would also love for you to take me somewhere different. I want to dig into the expansive cultures that exist in this city! The melting pot that you are but, I feel like you’re lowering your potential and now my tastebuds are being contrived and deprived. 

I know… I know… I’m being ungrateful. You did just get me a present recently. The gesture was very grand. I can say I’ve never had someone spend $8 million on me. I was flattered (although a 120-foot-tall fountain wasn’t really on my list of desires), but you know how I feel about trivial things. You know I would rather you make better use of those funds! I always tell you how we can help the less fortunate who live at your doorstep. Funding for more programs, rehabilitation services, and housing would benefit so greatly from the $8 million you spent. I would’ve loved it in the distant future when our priorities were set, but I think we have bigger fish to fry.  

Although I really enjoy our alone time together, I really want to meet new people (this isn’t me cheating by the way) but I want to be connected to my fellow residents. You are aware of how big you are… right? 

Your distance keeps us all so far apart, and for some people voyaging across town isn’t accessible. When you host your events you tend to keep them Downtown or at the opposite end, toward the Beaches. I think it would be vital to connect the city. Don’t you? 

When I go visit other cities (and again I promise this is not me cheating) I can’t help but appreciate how walkable it is! Or the trolley services they provide. 

Again, you know you’re my first love but some of my comrades can’t even enjoy you in your full capacity because of the lack of ways I can get to your heart (Downtown.) 


Now, I know you have to be considerate. You’re forced to consider the voices of your city leaders. But that doesn’t relinquish your power fully. You have the ability to rally change. Tell everyone of the potential you possess. All of the fragments of ideas just need additional sanction to come together. Explain the importance of the allocation of your funds! You have an entire network of souls willing to do the work to continue to make you triumph. The chatter of propositions and conceptualizations for your future persists, but it can’t be done without the stamp of approval from you! 

I compose this letter to you to convey my longing to bear witness to your evolution! We’ve been in tandem for so long, and I have seen the long strides you have made. I’m so proud of you for that but, I also feel warranted to share my sentiments with you, given the nature of our relationship. 


   — Amiyah