When we were looking for our first house many years ago, we wanted more than a place to live. We wanted a home for our future family.
Where we would choose to live was important because I’d promised myself that when it came time for our kids to start school, we’d do all we could to stay put. I knew from my own childhood how difficult it was to be uprooted, to leave a school and friends behind, and start all over again somewhere new.
Nearly 20 years on the other side of that decision, we’re still here. We’ve done it. We have stayed put. But not, admittedly, without the occasional bout of itchy feet. I’ve always wondered if there was someplace better for us, and we’ve even looked from time to time.
We live in a beautiful place with lots of tall evergreen trees (although far less than when we moved here), parks and nature trails that we use often. We live in a safe place with great schools and teachers.
We live in a good place.
We don’t live in a perfect place.
Traffic grows heavier by the day as more and more people move here, and we have to get in our car to go anywhere. Our city lacks many amenities that can make a community livable, like restaurants, a theater, a post office and good public transportation. I have missed those things living here, but ultimately, it’s the people who make a place home.
I was reminded of that after the election when a large group of citizens came together outside city hall to stand in solidarity, to speak out against hate, and affirm that we are a welcoming community. I was reminded again this week when our city council passed a Proclamation with this preamble:
“…As your City government, our role is to bring people together and not divide them. Our job is to be welcoming of all people and all ideas in recognition that we truly are stronger and smarter together. We need to recognize certain essential principles and conduct our government and hopefully our lives consistent with those principles.”
Among the 10 principles outlined by the Council are these:
-To ensure that City services are always provided in a manner that does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
-To welcome, without reservation, new people from all parts of our world, with an abiding faith in their potential to be part of and strengthen our community.
-To encourage that our national, state and regional leaders uphold these same values.
What we say defines who we are, and I believe most of us do not want to be defined by the ugly words coming from the mouth and Twitter thumbs of the new President-elect. His words do not speak to who we are and we cannot simply brush them off — not as individuals, nor as a community. This Proclamation was necessary and met with widespread support.
I’m proud to live in a community that affirms these values.
“We commit to regularly remind ourselves of these principles and to judge ourselves and our City by our adherence to them.”
We chose our home well.