Kelila Ritchie

Kelila has dedicated her teenage years to advocating for injustices around her and in the world. Journalism is more than just a passion for her but a calling. She is dedicated to keeping her community informed and spreading awareness about social inequalities. Catch her on the beach any given weekend!

Neighborhood Picasso

Words by Kelila Ritchie Chris Clark has been painting his way through the neighborhoods of Jacksonville, bringing the most vibrant colors to communities people often deem the opposite of aesthetically pleasing. Clark is not new to the art community and has spent many years perfecting his craft. A “jack of all trades” he calls himself. His ability to create in different mediums, sometimes at the same time is mindblowing. During Black History Month especially, it is important to highlight Black art and its impact. Clark’s artwork has brought people out of their homes and given them a new sense of …

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“Renaissance: The Film”

  Words by Kelila Ritchie   “Renaissance.” The word we keep seeing, thanks to Beyoncé. The tour that single handedly brought silver and chrome back to life. The album that gave birth to a completely different understanding of what love and unity could look like. This was an album created to get the people moving after such a stagnant point in all of our lives during COVID. The impact of this tour left concert goers feeling more than liberated, unique, one of one, number one. For those who could not make it (or if you’re like me and went to …

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Food Review: Norikase

  Words by Kelila Ritchie   Nestled in a little corner beside Tinseltown, Norikase creates an entirely different world from the one outside its doors from the food options to the ambiance. The decor of the restaurant resembles a speakeasy of sorts. It is very modern, very classy and the lights dimmed just enough.    I had the amazing opportunity of experiencing this restaurant for the first time alone before dragging along my fake food critic of a friend literally the next day (yes, I went twice in a row but it was genuinely just that good, trust me). Norikase …

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The Effects of Redlining and Food Deserts in Jacksonville 

  Words by Kelila Ritchie In a city where Whole Foods, Publix and Fresh Market can amicably exist within a three-mile radius from each other; just on the other side of a connecting bridge, an entire community struggles to make ends meet daily.     This is the situation in District 7. One of the largest districts in Jacksonville and arguably, the most underserved community in Jacksonville, District 7 includes northwest Jacksonville (also known as the Northside) historic Eastside, Downtown and surrounding areas. It’s also the result of redlining, which leads to food deserts, among other things.   REDLINING During the …

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Ally Shawver: Big City, Bigger Dreams

  Kelila Ritchie    As a Jacksonville native, it is always really cool to see people who come from the same city as you doing something amazing. That “amazing” can be people who serve as neighborhood heroes or people who are simply following their dreams. This is the case for Ally Shawver, an actress born and raised in Jacksonville coming soon to the big screens near you!    Shawver grew up surfing in Jacksonville Beach and performing in plays at her school theater. Following your dreams, unapologetically can be scary but when the reward outweighs the risk, you take the …

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Debunking Fake News 

Words by Kelila Ritchie   I don’t know if it’s the journalist in me or if it’s just me in general, but I absolutely cannot stand the idea of everyone mistaking misinformation or blatant disinformation as fact and running with it. Honestly, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to be an active member of the social media community for this reason. It’s frustrating to see so many stories and posts being written as gospel and “Terri Jo from the Westside” just wrote it because she just woke up with this on her mind with absolutely nothing to back up her …

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The Candy Mansion

Words by Kelila Ritchie   Fall is by far my favorite time of year for so many reasons. The cinnamon brooms I keep in the nooks of my home, the cool breeze that might call for a light jacket and the openings of local Spirit Halloweens. It keeps me going throughout the year knowing I have the fall to look forward to.   Growing up, my family and I were avid fall lovers and fall festival goers. Though I have never really been one for the whole buy a pumpkin, create a huge mess, carving and gnats thing, I love, …

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Inner Peace Guide for Dummies

Words by Kelila Ritchie   Being human in 2023 has proven itself to be hard work and at times, incredibly stressful. Let’s just be honest: Life isn’t always rainbows and gumdrops. I don’t think this was something I was prepared for going into the whole life thing either. Like, yes, of course, people tell you the world is rough, but no one goes into specifics on how to handle those situations.    Practicing mindfulness and gratitude is a healthy coping mechanism to get you through your basic day-to-day troubles that may arise. Gratitude allows you to take notice of the …

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 Raising the Bar: Hardwicks

Words by Kelila Ritchie   “Refreshing, welcoming and different.”   These are three words Sarah Merritt used to describe her new gig as a bartender at Hardwicks Bar. Located in the Elbow District Downtown (in the old London Bridge space), Hardwicks is the perfect place to go if you want to feel like you’re in an ’80s film with disco balls and strobe lights. And with a full liquor bar, beer, wine, seltzer, cocktails and shots are all on the menu.   My favorite thing, for sure, about this establishment is the freedom it holds. It’s a place where people …

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Welcome to the Gayborhood

  Words by Kelila Ritchie Rainbows, loud music, infectious laughter, dance parties in the middle of the street. River City Pride is the place to be every October. It’s something I personally look forward to every single year. People from so many different walks of life, dancing together, drinking together, taking pictures together. It’s a day for everyone who participates to just be without fear of judgment. In either direction you look, you see people just thoroughly enjoying themselves. We don’t see a lot of that these days. So anytime I’m able to squeeze in some dopamine boosting experiences, I’m …

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