The Pocahontas Descendants Initiative is a collaborative effort between the County of Gloucester, Virginia and The Pocahontas Project (TPP) created to inform and inspire people around the world who believe they are descendants of the woman born Matoaka, died Rebecca, and most famously known as Pocahontas. Globally it is expected that well over 100,000 people can claim Pocahontas as their ancestor, either through her son Thomas Rolfe (father John Rolfe), or her daughter Ka-Okee (father Kocoum).
Meet Rick Tatnall, Founder and Executive Director of the Pocahontas Project in Richmond, Virginia. Over the last 8-months, Rick has provided us with recycled paper bags and boxes to help reduce our plastic bag consumption during our distributions, which has been an integral part of bringing our Mobile Produce Pantry to a more eco-friendly state. He's also the organizer of Richmond's Annual MLK I Have A Dream Festival (August 28), which the Mobile Produce Pantry will be attending. Rick's mission to nurture humanity is a constant inspiration and reminder that one person can make an impact on our world!
Q: Who are you and where are you from?
A: My name is Rick Tatnall. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, graduated from UVA in 1979, and moved to the RVA in 1980. I have lived in the City of Richmond since 1987 and in my apartment in Church Hill since 2006.
Q: What's your mission and the community you serve?
A: I believe I have a moral and practical responsibility to consistently nurture my community and my natural environment. I believe my quality of life is enhanced by doing so. For more than 20 years, the community I serve is humanity, with special attention to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and very specific attention to the Richmond Regional Community – the RVA.
"...the community I serve is humanity."
Q: What does community mean to you?
A: Community = Common Unity
Q: What's the change you would like to see in Richmond?
A: The change I would like to see in Richmond is much more concentration on substance and much less on symbolism. Richmonders love to talk, but for actual change to occur, Richmonders (and all of humanity) need to act, consistently and collaboratively.
Q: What do you love about Richmond?
A: I love Richmond because it has a little bit of just about everything – socially, intellectually, environmentally, and historically. All thrown together, I believe Richmond has the potential to become a global leader of change in all of these categories and to play a major role in sustaining a positive quality of life on earth for all humankind.
"Community = Common Unity"
Q: How does your organization promote Understanding and Peace?
A: For more than a decade my work in Richmond has been presented under the name of Replenish Richmond, which was intended to be a WE organization, but really was only a ME organization. In 2017 the concept of The Pocahontas Project came into being, wrapped around a Richmond to Richmond upon Thames trip commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas in England in 1617. I am now fully dedicated to the Project, which is working to inspire people through the life example and legacy of Pocahontas, who we consider having been an Ambassador of Cross-Cultural Understanding and a Patron of Peace.
"I believe Richmond has the potential to become a global leader of change in all of these categories and to play a major role in sustaining a positive quality of life on earth for all humankind."
Q: What values did you see in World U.P. that made you want to partner with us?
A: World U.P. stood out to me because it is involved in feeding those in need, which is something that Pocahontas did for the English, time and time again. As I am a big fan of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I was also drawn to the MLK quote adopted by World UP > “If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”
Q: How can people support your mission?
A: People can support the mission of The Pocahontas Project by becoming Individual Participants in the Matoaka Covenant (see TPP website for details) and then become involved in our projects and programs.
Q: How can people find more about you/contact you?
Contact me at (804) 325-3674 (landline – no texts)