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So far, 2020 has been a year of big headlines. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the horrific and inexcusable death of George Floyd, we are living in a period of great disruption, but also of great reflection. Americans of all ages, all backgrounds, and all geographies are deeply reflecting on how we have lived, how we are living, and how we want to live.
Recent events have inspired people across the nation to demonstrate and advocate for their visions of a better future. And this advocacy has been big news lately. We see big stories on television, we read big stories in the news, and we scroll through big posts on social media. They conjure strong, deeply personal feelings about what a better future looks like. And while it can be uncomfortable for anybody to experience a perspective different than their own, we must all acknowledge that every idea, every opinion, and every person has the same goal – a better future.
But the steps to building a better future are not achieved through single big actions; they are achieved through countless small actions. Just as the small decision to take 20 seconds to wash your hands is helping us stem the tide of COVID-19, it’s the small actions that each of us make that determines what our future looks like. It can be a small act of kindness for another person. It can be a small conversation between friends, colleagues, or a stranger at the grocery store. It can be a small gesture of peaceful demonstrators and police officers waving to each other as they pass by.
Over time, these small actions coalesce into something bigger and something better, into that better future we all strive for. Anyone driving through the intersection of Los Angeles and Spring in recent weeks may have seen dozens, sometimes over 100 people peacefully advocating for their version of a better future. They have done so peacefully, gracefully, and with respect for the residents and businesses that surround the area. This is not by accident. This is a reflection of countless small actions already taken. We enjoy one of the nation’s lowest crime rates because of, not in spite of, the small steps taken to forge trust and close relationships between our community and our police officers. Our police department is a part of our community, and our community is part of our police department, something memorialized by the Thin Blue Line Sculpture in front of our police department.
Free speech is a fundamental right for all Americans, but it only matters if we exercise it, whether it’s in big ways or small ways. And exercising free speech only succeeds if people truly listen to what is being said. That doesn’t mean everyone must agree with every opinion and every idea being offered, but it does mean that all of us should recognize that we all aspire for the same thing – that better future. We should be proud that people across Moorpark are safely speaking up for their visions and ideals, whether they are protesters, counter-protesters, or simply people having small conversations in their homes and neighborhoods.
Let us have these conversations, and let us see each other in that better future.