One of the false narratives in the media today is that progressives are somehow anti-law and order. Without a stable and safe society, supported by law enforcement, we could not support the programs that are core to our country’s nonprofit infrastructure and social service delivery. Democracy can only thrive when there is security and safety for all of us. We can only exercise our rights when core services such as our police and fire departments are well functioning and available to all people. Progressives are strongly in support of law and order.
Thursday evening, October 28th, we had the opportunity to welcome members of the California Highway Patrol to an appreciation event attended by many Tides staff, board and Thoreau Center tenants. We all came together to express our thanks to the brave men and women who stood in harm’s way to ensure our safety.
The officers didn’t know that they were saving our lives. They were doing the work they do every day – they saw a person driving erratically and assumed that this person needed help. The officers did not go to work expecting that they would become heroes on that fateful night of the shootout with Byron Williams in July. But for all of us, they are heroes – from the dispatchers who help guide the officers, to the officers who sustained injury in a prolonged battle that closed highway 580 for almost a full day.
We were very fortunate to be able to meet these men and women, see their smiles, so rarely acknowledged for their bravery and discipline. Eight police officers, two dispatchers, and four commanders joined us to share a meal, drink some coffee, and watch some of the World Series. They were greeted by spontaneous applause and a very emotional staff. Each officer received a card and Tides presented the CHP’s 11-99 Foundation with a check for $10,000. The 11-99 Foundation is an organization that helps provide scholarships to the families of the CHP and steps in to assist when an officer is killed in the line of duty, or when a family is in crisis. We learned that the CHP in the East Bay alone has lost five officers in the last five months and we are humbled by their sacrifice. The CHP learned about Tides’ support of projects and grantees including a Veterans re-entry program, the improvement of community clinics in California, people in Africa receiving treatment for HIV, arts programs for inner city youth, adolescent nutrition, ending violence against women, civic participation to make our democracy work, and much more.
In thanking the CHP, we acknowledge the everyday bravery of people who have devoted their lives to protecting the public good. The officers had an opportunity to see the many lives they protected and the families they preserved. Together we shared emotions and community and together we were healed with the power of thank you.