COMMENTARY: Initially, I wanted to take some time before I shared the pain and anger I was feeling surrounding the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. We’ve done a lot of work in Santa Fe to create and support a community conversation around the issues of gun violence, and I was going to talk about how that work can help us keep our resolve in trying times.
Then, overnight, the world changed yet again, and we woke up unable to rely on the same certainties we could rely on yesterday. Eleven police officers and one civilian bystander were shot, five of them fatally, in Dallas, Texas last night, in yet another act of violence solving nothing and contributing to the endless cycle in which we are trapped.
Among the waves of grief and sadness, as I woke up thinking about my daughters, I kept coming back to one thought. If we have any hope to find healing, it lies in living the full measure of the values that make Santa Fe so special: inclusiveness, respect for all people, equality, love, and understanding.
I am always grateful, but especially so today, to our chief and the dedicated men and women who make up the Santa Fe Police Department. They are part of this community, they understand and share our commitment to equality, and they put that commitment into practice every day in their application of the law.
I am also steadfast today in my commitment that we really do have to keep working. That we have to find collective solace in the work, and let these lost lives not be lost in vain. Our collective focus remains on access to opportunity, on reforming an often broken criminal justice system, on moving away from militarized policing to a community-based force, and on addressing head-on the sickness of violence that has this nation in its grip.
As we do that, day after day, with resolve that is unshakeable even in the face of violence we can never fully understand, we will make progress, little by little, until one day we will be able to say that America has finally become the place we have always dreamed it would be, free from these horrors for once and for all.
Javier Gonzales, a Democrat, is Santa Fe’s mayor.