Our Recent Days
In the past days, we have all witnessed the unjustifiable and unforgivable death of George Floyd at the hands of police, and thousands of peaceful demonstrators taking to the streets to demand justice and accountability. We have also seen property destruction and the enactment of a curfew for the first time since 1942.
We find ourselves living in multiple simultaneous, interlocking challenges: the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic; the economic crisis spurred by the actions to address the pandemic; the longstanding social- and racial-justice crisis exacerbated by COVID-19 and set aflame by Floyd’s death; and a crisis of trust in leadership on all sides.
Understandably, we may despair. Yet, “It is possible to hold two contradictory truths at the same time,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said early Monday morning, in a good reminder of the resilience of the human mind and heart. While the moments of our last weeks and days may hold despair, they also hold hope.
Our hope in these times comes from the many people in our communities standing firm and resolved – demonstrators gathering peacefully; volunteers tidying the streets and storefronts in the aftermath of property damage; and the work of so many to connect and listen and understand.
From hope and understanding must come action, in many forms. Valley Vision’s fundamental purpose is to make our communities the most livable in the nation – which is, above all, a purpose of hope. For many, however, our communities are not livable. A pathway to truly inclusive economic recovery and growth requires ongoing collaborative actions of many across our communities.
For our part, Valley Vision is acting now to identify and remedy inequalities. Among other things, we’re acting to better target workforce training to current and future middle and high skills jobs; to gather data on regional residents’ resilience to COVID-19 impacts; to bring greater broadband access across the region; to increase digital skills for the jobs of the future; to activate communities about the importance of local air quality, and to support our manufacturing sector and its many good jobs.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience and comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King’s words from 1963 ring just as true fifty-seven years later. In these times of challenges and controversy, we are proud to be standing together in the Sacramento region as we build a just, equitable, and prosperous future for all of us.
Meg Arnold is Interim CEO of Valley Vision.