I consider myself to be an all-American islander, born and raised here on San Juan Island.
I love this town and my country. Unfortunately, the recent history of my nation has been upsetting. I was 10 when the trade towers were destroyed and the Patriot Act was established. The nation I love has been saturated in fear and our resources funneled into war.
I remember a town bustling with commerce throughout the seasons. Now I find many empty buildings.
I remember art and music being the most anticipated hours of the week. Now art is no longer offered at Friday Harbor Elementary School. A boy 10 years younger then I has been offered art class once in his entire education, he is 12.
When I leave I will remember our Christmas Eve fiasco, when Felix Menjivar, with his hand on his pistol, lunged at a group of Christmas carolers. Not only was this act aggressive but long term impact on the young children involved is yet to be determined. Now they have experienced fear from our government which is here to serve and protect. Is that what we want our island children to remember?
I will also remember the Co-op, Community Brickworks Building, and islanders taking a stand when the Department of Homeland Security leased a central building without due process.
What do you want your community or, better yet, your nation to be remembered for? Personally, I value cultural awareness, artistic expression and freedom. Freedom of information, freedom to ask questions, freedom to carol on Christmas Eve, freedom to have an opinion without fear of losing your job or community standing.
I value freedom, do you?
Catlyn Keys, Friday Harbor