In Pasadena, it’s been more than three months since the initial Safer at Home order went into effect. And it’s been more than three weeks since people around the globe have been expressing their feelings and protesting the racial injustices experienced to this day by American Descendants of Slaves. These are truly unprecedented times.
COVID-19 brought people together in ways we could never have possibly imagined it would. Sadly, more than 100,000 of our fellow Americans have lost their lives in the past three months, leaving their loved ones to mourn and hold on to memories. Some of us have reached out to family members we haven’t spoken with in years, and perhaps family bonds have been strengthened. Some of us have spent more time with our children. Many of us have taken more walks and taken note of the depth of the color green of the leaves we see, or how beautiful butterflies are, or all of the different species of birds we haven’t noticed before or seen in a long time. In many ways, the implementation of the Safer at Home orders brought us together. We’ve been saying hello to and maybe even helping our neighbors more. I have received so many emails from people who have shared stories of picking up groceries for their neighbors and helping out in other ways as well. There has undoubtedly been a great deal of loss. Our economy has taken a significant hit that will take years to recover from, but there have also been silver linings in all that we’ve experienced over the last few months.
As we’ve watched the news more closely, many of us have witnessed more horrific killings of Black men and women across the country. I mourn the loss of their lives, and I know that I am not alone in this. So many of our neighbors have reached out to check on me and ask how I’m doing, not just as their elected representative, but as one of their neighbors, one of their fellow human beings. I appreciate the genuine concern so many of you have expressed. These tragic incidents have shined a light on and brought to the forefront of our collective consciousness the realization that race relations have not moved as far as some people may have believed.
The outpouring of concern and care for Black lives that has been demonstrated over the past few weeks leads me to believe that this time is different than other times. People are engaging in the public process in ways that they haven’t been before. I have literally received hundreds of emails from people reaching out to my office for the very first time. I’m excited about the change that is coming. I’ve always wanted to make the world a better, and even more so since my wife and I became parents nearly six years ago. We want the world to be a better place for our daughter, just like our parents wanted it to be better for us as they were raising us.
To share a little about myself and my family on this Juneteenth, my paternal great grandfather was born a slave. His son, my grandfather, was not able to obtain a formal education because that opportunity was not available to people who looked like him. In spite of this, my grandfather was a very smart man. My father’s generation continued the fight for access to equitable educational opportunities and full civil rights. At 37 years old, in my lifetime, I have faced my fair share of discrimination from people working in law enforcement, education, banking, and other sectors as well. My grandparents and parents would often tell me that a smile is a demonstration of love. A smile can be disarming. They encouraged me and my siblings to go out into the world and smile and show love because that may just save your life. My father would tell me that I could not have bad days because one bad day could cost me my life. During my teenage years, I would share these ideas with my friends. Needless to say, my friends and I wondered what in the world my parents were talking about. I remember many of my non-Black in particular telling me that my parents’ advice sounded crazy. As I got older, I realized that these life lessons my parents and their parents shared were key to my success and my survival. These stories help me to navigate the world to this day and I am grateful for them.
These are hard and uncomfortable times during which we, as people who care, will have discussions that will be difficult but are critical to our growth. I’m here, and I’m ready and willing to listen. I think it’s very important to recognize the past while we continue to move forward from where we are. Let’s all commit to taking positive action and making changes so that every person is heard and feels loved and respected. No matter who you are, let’s remember to smile at our neighbors and say hello to them as things continue to reopen and we begin to gradually spend less time at home. We don’t always know what our neighbors are going through and the simple gesture of saying hello can make a difference in a person’s life. It might even save their life.
About a month ago, I received the following message in an email from one of our neighbors…
Hello, After living in a vehicle with my daughter and our little kitty cat for almost a year and a half, I would like to thank Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton for helping to make it possible for us to have a home at the THEO in Pasadena. We are very thankful to be out of the heat, cold, and other elements. Thank you so much.
To know that I played a part in helping a mother and her daughter who were living in their vehicle to get rehoused fuels my passion to help as many people as I can for as long as I can.
My office has received a substantial number of emails from residents whose families and pets are struggling with the sound of fireworks that we have all been hearing for the last few weeks each night. In addition to the sometimes unnerving sound of fireworks, there has also been the even more unnerving sound of gunshots to contend with. Although there have been incidents of gunfire, the incidents have predominantly occurred outside of the boundaries of the First District. Some of the investigative and containment efforts have spilled over into our district. We can all hear the helicopter as it is used for surveillance and to catch those who are using illegal fireworks and/or firearms. Both our police and fire departments are working hard to get and keep these issues under control so that all of us are safe.
If you have information that you believe may be helpful in addressing these issues, please contact PPD at 626-744-4241. In an emergency situation, please dial 911. Let’s all work together for the good and safety of our community. Please be sure to read the information included below regarding our fireworks ordinance. There is also quite a bit of other important information included below as well for your review.
The City Council will meet by videoconference on Monday, June 22nd at 2:00 p.m. The agenda for the Council meeting is available here: City Council Agenda 6/22/20.
Finally, I’d like to wish all of my fellow dads a blessed and happy Father’s Day.