By Norb Garrett
The past three months have tested all of us as individuals, as parents, as business owners, as students, as public servants, as senior citizens, as lifeguards, as workers, as political leaders and as members of a community.
Our emotions, our passions, our wills and our spirits have been laid bare as we have had to grapple with the many challenges and realities placed in front of us. We are faced with a simple choice: deal with it, or run from it.
For the past 2 ½ months, San Clemente has rallied behind the governor’s call to observe steps to curb the spread of COVID-19. Despite so many people’s lives being disrupted, we’ve done a great job as a community keeping the number of known cases to a minimum.
In fact, since March 27, when the county started sharing city-by-city data and the SC Times reported daily on it, our number of cases has remained largely flat once it plateaued several weeks ago. That’s a testament to all of you and our community coming together to face the challenge and respect each other. We can all be proud of that.
This past weekend, I witnessed firsthand the peaceful and honorable manner in which many San Clementeans came together in solidarity to express their outrage at the senseless death of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
I saw many familiar faces from our community (albeit covered with masks), along with families and their small children, gathered with others from around the region, expressing their feelings and concerns about racial inequality and police brutality, peacefully alongside complete strangers.
I was impressed by the protest organizers’ steadfast efforts to maintain civility and to observe the rule of law while peacefully expressing their views. Equally impressive was the professionalism exhibited by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which coordinated efforts with the organizers to keep the protest without incident while also ensuring that a smaller group of individuals with differing views also were heard.
As police exited the Pier Bowl area, local residents and members of the crowd applauded and thanked OCSD. There were no arrests and no property damage. We can all be proud of that, too.
Now, as we move into the next phase of both the COVID-19 reopening and the heightened social awareness from George Floyd’s death, let’s all do our best to build a better and stronger San Clemente.
Let’s learn from these events and strive to make our community even better than before—more appreciative of what we have, more accepting of the opinions of others, more aware of how we each can make a positive difference. Let’s continue to support each other, our businesses, our teachers, our neighbors.
We can all find strength from adversity.