Renaissance has captivated the hearts of a young group of citizens. With their minds filled with innovation and eyes glowing with hope, disappoint has no room in Jacksonville. The grassroots movement #welovejax was created around a table at Bold Bean Coffee Roasters in Riverside by city advocates and bloggers Somewhere in the City, Outside the Den and Jesse Wilson. The goal of the collaboration is to prove Jacksonville’s worth and transform it into the greatest city on earth.

From left to right: Outside the Den(Alex & Heather), Jesse Wilson, and Somewhere in the City(Daniel, Morgan & Amanda). Photo courtesy of Morgan Burden

#WELOVEJAX Organizers from left to right: Outside the Den(Alex & Heather), Jesse Wilson, and Somewhere in the City(Daniel, Morgan & Amanda). – Photo courtesy of Morgan Burden

Their first group event, simply titled #welovejax took place at Underbelly in downtown Jacksonville. Originally planned as a small happy hour, the event quickly grew into something bigger as the evening produced one of Underbelly’s biggest happy hour crowd’s ever with around 250 in attendance. The night began with an assortment of a few of the city’s brightest speakers that enlightened the crowd on why Jax, why now.

Speakers for the event were Antonio Allegretti, the Director of Downtown Engagement for the Jacksonville Chamber; Wayne wood, a Jacksonville historian and advocate; Ben Warner, president of JCCI and Director of Jax2025;

From left to right: Antonio Allegretti, Grant Nielsen & Ben Warner Photo courtesy of Morgan Burden

From left to right: Antonio Allegretti, Grant Nielsen & Ben Warner – Photo courtesy of Morgan Burden

Jen Jones, Director of 220 Riverside’s Unity Plaza and a local artist; and Grant Nielsen, a co-founder and curator of The Elbow. They each denounced the myth’s and negativity that roams the city like a rabid dog, “It’s all smoke and mirrors,” spoke Jen Jones.

Wayne Wood & Jen Jones Photo courtesy of Morgan Burden

Wayne Wood & Jen Jones – Photo courtesy of Morgan Burden

Social media strongly took hold of the event as everyone from First Coast Connect, Igersjax, Downtown Is On Fire and more were encouraging citizens to attend.

The energy transcended the night well after the speakers had finished as participants shared project ideas and goals for the city during the networking time that would encompass the remainder of the event. The crowd was filled with local media, nonprofits, social-media managers, city officials and much more.

To top everything off, Jacksonville’s newest vegan restaurant, Dig Foods, was on hand with a special menu that included macaroni and cheese, pizza, BBQ Tempeh and Collard rolls, with fresh veggies and sunflower seed cheese.

What was started as a simple way to advertise a few blogs and spread love for their city, has grown to so much more. The event was overwhelmingly successful and the trio plans to do more advocacy on behalf of the city in the near future.

Jacksonville is amidst a revival that will surely be its path to greatness. The time to be involved is now. The time to back your city is now.

Don’t believe us? Simply search the #welovejax hashtag on any social media platform and see what the buzz is all about.

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