A Community For All
I believe that a community is defined and made richer by social, economic, religious and racial diversity.
As a board member of the Bainbridge Island Health, Housing and Human Services Council (2001-2003), I was a vocal advocate for our neighbors in need of help and support, affordable housing and access to basic health and human services.
I wrote a series of guest columns in the Bainbridge Island Review spotlighting these pressing concerns, saying that “People who live here can't afford to work here, and people who work here can't afford to live here.” That was true 20 years ago, and with the recent, skyrocketing cost of real estate, it has become more acute than ever.
From the Housing Resources Board, Helpline House, Island Volunteer Caregivers and more, we are fortunate to have a wealth of private non-profit organizations, faith-based groups and other services providing vital support for our neighbors and families in need.
The city should continue its support for these and other groups serving our greater community, coordinate human services with the Kitsap County Public Health District and other providers, and use every tool possible to encourage and create affordable housing opportunities for our seniors on fixed incomes and the first responders, teachers, health care providers, restaurant and hospitality workers, government staff and all others who make our city work.
Bainbridge Island has a proud legacy not succumbing to the government sanctioned tidal wave of racism, hate and fear that was directed at the Japanese American community during WWII
Standing by our Japanese American friends, neighbors, classmates and co-workers set our island community apart from the rest of the nation. That positive, patriotic, supportive and inclusive action should be the inspiration for support and acceptance of all people of color, religions, nationalities and LGBTQ community, adding to the diversity of our community.
I've always felt that our nation is not a Great Melting Pot, but a Great American Stew. Unlike everyone blending into one mass soup, every person contributes their distinct history, culture, music, arts, food, religion and more to the Great American Stew, adding to the ever changing recipe of our nation while still retaining their unique flavor and ingredients.
We should embrace and celebrate diversity to expand the recipe of Bainbridge Island. I applaud the city for creating the Race Equity Advisory Committee as an official body to promote issues of fairness, equality, opportunity and justice; to keep a spotlight on the issues, concerns, and rights of our minority communities; and to hopefully serve as an inspiration to us all for a more perfect union.