Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silence the Violence

I attended the “Silence the Violence” rally held in memory of Jonathon Brunson today in front of his barbershop. It was a beautiful day in downtown Vallejo. The sun was shining, cutting through the chill of the cold December morning. And the heart and soul of Vallejo was burning bright and strong.

The event was many things for me. It was sad. It was moving. It was uplifting. It was beautiful in its simplicity.

Mr. Brunson’s family organized the event in just a couple of weeks, and their passion and conviction was awe-inspiring. It was catching.

And that’s what I took home today. Catch the spirit. Pass it on. Take a stand. As one of the speakers said, don’t just take care of you and your own. Let’s start thinking about it from a broader perspective, from a community perspective. It takes a village to raise a child. It takes participation by everyone to build a healthy community.

If we want a vibrant community, those of us who live here have to make it that way ourselves. If we invest our time in our schools, in our kids, in our neighborhoods, we can make Vallejo what we all want it to be: safe, successful, healthy.

For those of you who have been working hard and donating your time, now is the time to take a deep breath and forge on. And for those of you who are new to community activity, welcome. It’s not easy, it’s sometimes exhausting. But it is life-changing – for many more lives than just your own.

As one of my favorite quotes from Gandhi says:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

RIP Mr. Brunson.

Postscript: next to the barbershop is a blank wall that many people have written on in pen and ink and paint in memory of Mr. Brunson. While the writing will eventually have to be removed, I couldn't help think what a shame it would be to lose the thoughts and intent behind them. So I've requested that the city ask the property owners if we can create a mural on that wall with a “Silence the Violence” or “Take a Stand” theme, using some of the funds we have from State Farm for the anti-graffiti mural program. What a perfect place and time for a community mural.