Virginia LISC was proud to honor Highland Park community leader Ms. Sunday Jones at the upcoming Celebrating Community Leaders event on Sept. 28, 2017.
Sunday Jones moved to Highland Park in 2005 and has been a driving force in the neighborhood ever since. Jones first got involved with her community through the Quality of Life planning process in Highland Park.
“I met a lady named Jessie Bell when I was doing canvassing for the Obama Campaign, and she introduced me to the Quality of Life process,” said Jones.
From there, Jones began working on community engagement with Ryan Rinn, the executive director of Storefront for Community Design. She canvassed businesses with Rinn to see what projects could be done along the business corridor.
“This neighborhood is sectioned off and there are not a lot of businesses that people use on a daily basis here,” she said. “There are a lot of dollars in this neighborhood and they go outside of our community. My interest was to find things that the community would like to see here and bring those businesses here,” she said.
Jones said that they have done a lot of the projects they had planned to do but that there is still plenty more to be done.
A quick drive through Highland Park and around the Six Points intersection will reveal just how much work Jones and others in Highland Park have done in the past few years. Many businesses have fresh coats of paint, there is a roundabout that has replaced the Six Points intersection traffic lights, 77 new apartments now occupy the once-vacant school building at Six Points, and landscaping has cropped up along the sidewalks.
There have been a lot of people involved in these changes, but it is residents like Jones, who have been pushing for these changes in community meetings for years, that have kept the ball rolling.
“I think if you are going to be part of a community, you need to be engaged,” said Jones. “The more connected the community is, the more people feel like they have a stake in what is going on in their neighborhood.” Jones continued, saying, “You have to be the change you want to see.”