Letter: Visalia, we are in this together

Dear Fellow Visalians,

It is with deep sorrow and concern that I share this message. I feel compelled to write to you now that fear, anger, and frustration are manifesting across our country and right here in Visalia. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have impacted our entire country and people all around the world. For many of us, this is just another reminder of the many other recent tragedies that have occurred, a reminder of the cruel history of events that have taken place in our country, and the reality that things still need to change. The anger, fear, and outrage that are being demonstrated are a manifestation of this reality and a demand for this change. It is without question that things need to change, in fact they must change, not just for this generation, but for generations to come.

I still believe Dr. Kings’ dream that our children will grow up in a nation “where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” A dream “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, that all men are created equal.” Despite the difficulties and frustration at the moment, I still have that dream. In the words of Dr. King, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” This is that time, our time to band together to ensure Dr. Kings’ dream becomes a reality, and to work together to ensure the necessary changes for the betterment of our community and this nation.

This fight must include all of us (doctors, educators, lawyers, law enforcement, parents, religious leaders, students…our entire community), all of us demonstrating that we can work together for equality and justice. Our community needs it, and we deserve it.

In the words of Cesar Chavez, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

We are in this together!

Brandon Gridiron
Administrator of Equity and Student Services
Visalia Unified School District

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