READER’S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON RECENT EVENTS AND CHALLENGES TO PRESERVE CULTURAL HISTORY IN LA MESA

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By Jim Newland, President, La Mesa Historical Society

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) - The past few weeks’ events and experiences, including those in our local community, can only remind us of our nation’s challenging history of discrimination, violence and racism.  This is a very personal history for many that sadly continues into the present. 

We, the La Mesa Historical Society Board of Directors, wish to acknowledge the loss of life, injury, pain, anger, and emotional impacts of events nationally, as well as those that have sadly come to pass here in our community. 

As an institution charged with collecting, preserving and educating on the values and worth of history and historic preservation, we are dedicated to ensuring that all stories of the Greater La Mesa communities are captured, preserved and made available to inspire a better tomorrow.

We commit that our non-profit organization will endeavor to be an institution that collects, preserves, studies and presents the cultural history of all of us without ignoring the stories of any race, gender or creed.

Yet, any great societal movements require ordinary people to come together to effect real and meaningful change.   The uplifting response of hundreds of volunteers, including some of our own Board and Society members and partners on Sunday morning May 31st in our downtown is one such effort.  Their bringing brooms, brushes, paint and materials to clean up and secure the damaged businesses is a sign of our community’s underlying character.   These were not just City of La Mesa residents but those from the entire Greater La Mesa area and beyond.  Over the following days numerous artists and community members created beautiful and poignant murals and art that reflected and demonstrated not only our community’s pride and spirit to persevere and overcome—but sending a clear message of empathy and compassion for the greater cause of justice and equality for all Americans.

It is with such actions that our community can continue to live up to its now nearly century old motto of “Jewel of the Hills.”  Significant and lasting improvements are still needed but it is a renewed start for fulfilling our potential to provide those opportunities for everyone, especially our communities of color.  A goal that La Mesa Historical Society fully supports.

Jim Newland, President

On behalf of the La Mesa Historical Society Board of Directors

La Mesa Historical Society: https://lamesahistory.com/

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.


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