By Christian Garcia
Like many other communities, Watsonville has significant challenges. We have an ailing local economy, affordable housing needs, needs for better access to healthcare and education, aging infrastructure, funding needs for local parks and youth programs, and the list goes on.
Inspiring people to live and work in our community who have the skills and commitment to take on tough issues should be celebrated. This is why it pains me to see our elected school board remove a beloved school superintendent without public discussion or input.
Let’s be honest. The events that unfolded at the school district are not new to our community. Too many times the public good has been put on the back burner for the political interests and ambitions of a few individuals who feel entitled to run Watsonville for their “benefit.” We have seen it from the school board to the city council.
Watsonville’s problems cannot be solved by continuing power plays by whatever group of individuals is in power. We need more citizen involvement, more volunteerism, more people willing to take on tough issues.
We cannot continue to shy away and wait for someone else to do something about our challenges. If we are going to make Watsonville a better community that is inclusive of all of us regardless of socio-economic class or immigration status, we need both the young and the young at heart to roll up their sleeves and act now.
Join your local parent teacher association. Don’t have one? Start one. Organize a neighborhood meeting. Listen to the needs of our people. Find out who your local representatives are and schedule a time to meet with them. Attend a city council or school board meeting. Get appointed to a commission. Mentor someone. It is time for us to pay attention and listen, because only together can we find collective solutions to our community problems.
I’m a strong believer that if informed and properly engaged, people can make a difference. I have experienced this in all the projects and communities I have worked with in my 10 years as a community organizer. That is why I’m so passionate about you, the people.
I love Watsonville and attribute my strong sense of family and community values to my neighbors, teachers, friends and loved ones in our city. If you love Watsonville as much as I do, don’t wait for someone else to come and change it. You are the change we have been waiting for.
Si se puede. Yes we can.
Christian Garcia is a 2005 Watsonville High School graduate, and a native of Watsonville. His views are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.