Our View: How we’re supposed to look

This wasn’t what our county was supposed to look like.

Street fights and sucker punches. Signs getting ripped from people’s hands. Violence in the streets of Nevada City.

You can bet the Chamber of Commerce isn’t advertising any of this.

The events of Aug. 9 — when counter-protesters accosted a Black Lives Matter march on Broad Street — are shameful. But even in some of our darkest moments there’s a lesson to be learned.

We should take this as a sobering wake-up call. Like so many places across our nation, we can continue down this path and throw our community into chaos. There will be places people aren’t willing to go anymore, spots to avoid.

Or we can do what Nevada County always does: acknowledge what went wrong, work toward correcting the problem and move forward.

This past weekend has two examples of moving forward: Remembrance Day and a vigil for Black lives lost. An event scheduled for today — Random Acts of Kindness — furthers that forward motion.

These events were different, but not in opposition to each other. They had different aims, but didn’t seek to damage each other. Both brought people together for a common purpose. They built community.

Remembrance Day honored service members who have died. The families of many people who have died over the past several months haven’t had a chance to hold a ceremony or memorial. This day gave them that opportunity.

The ceremony also honored those who serve on the front lines of the pandemic as well as people who have died locally and nationwide. The American Legion could have recognized service members only, but made a point of including these others.

We need more inclusion like that in all aspects of our lives.

Last weekend’s vigil brought hundreds of people to downtown Nevada City, where they mourned Black lives lost. Organizers, cognizant of the events of Aug. 9, said this vigil would be peaceful. It was.

Organizer Ana Mendez Mora said the break in demonstrations from Aug. 9 to last weekend was deliberate. It provided time for the community to heal, and gave time for nonviolent direct action training.

Organizers also made a point of asking people to patronize local stores before and after the event.

These two events represent the diversity our county offers. This isn’t a diversity of race — whites make up more than 92% of the county’s population, according to the latest census numbers. But instead it’s a diversity of thought, of priorities and of goals.

What’s important is that different priorities and goals don’t automatically make another group the enemy. We can honor those who have lost their lives to the pandemic, and we can honor Black lives lost. We can Back the Blue and state that Black Lives Matter. We can be red, or blue, and all be Americans.

We’re stronger as a community because we have events like these, and many others as well, in our towns.

We’re a month away from a presidential election, and our nation is deeply divided. We can’t fix that by ourselves. What we can do is become engaged in our community, and show through our actions that this is a vibrant county with strong and varied beliefs.

And that’s one of the main reasons we choose to call this place home.

Everyone who lives here wants our community strong, but that takes time and attention, effort and energy. It needs all of us, not in lockstep behind one goal, but engaged in a multitude of movements.

A good garden doesn’t have only one vegetable. It’s filled with fruits and vegetables of all kinds, providing a variety of foods that nurture and sustain us.

It’s that garden which will make us, and keep us, a strong and resilient community.

That’s what we’re supposed to look like.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at [email protected]

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