San Bernardino: A view from the valley is a series produced by us, the students of Cajon High School, meant to challenge and complicate the traditional narrative about our city. We hope to change your views about San Bernardino through personal anecdotes and stories about the people, places and aspects that make our city more than just poverty or a terrorist attack.
As an individual born and raised in San Bernardino, you tend to also grow up with the speculations revolving around this so-called “declined city.” To any outside source, the first thought that may appear into their mind when they hear the name San Bernardino are either: “ghetto,” “poor,” or “where that one terrorist attack happened last December.” While it is true some impoverished areas of the city are in need of support, it still does not label every single one of it’s citizens as a “criminal” because of their diverse background in where we grew up. The stereotypical reputation the media has created for this city is an inequitably biased one. We’re here to change that.
With last year’s terrorist attack occurring in our already tarnished city, it really set the progress San Bernardino was making a few big steps back. The media ate up whatever they could to set in stone the name of our city by reporting their one-sided opinion to the rest of the world, on an area they most likely never once got to encounter living in. Without undergoing the full-on experience of living in San Bernardino it is unjust to solely cover the negative aspects of a our home.
If it weren’t for growing up in a place like San Bernardino, I wouldn’t be the socially and politically aware person I am today from growing up in more of a minority’s perspective. Living here encourages me to take the next steps to a higher education and, in doing so, show that the people of our city do have potential to have what it takes to excel. The issues facing San Bernardino can easily be applied to the challenges our country as a whole faces. A major problem in the U.S. is the injustice and hate towards the people of color. Whether you are a person of color or not and living in San Bernardino, we can somewhat relate to the years of oppression we were forced to reconcile with due to the labels stuck on our city.
In spite of that, I was given the great privilege of growing up in a community so culturally diverse that it allowed not only me, but many others as well, the benefit of spreading acceptance amongst individuals; regardless of their color, class, or gender. San Bernardino is a community that is emerged with such a diverse range of people and in that, there is a greater sense of appreciation held for the accumulated 135,000 of Hispanics, over 30,000 Blacks, and 64,000 other or mixed citizens. I find it deeply important to spread the same kind of acknowledgement and equality for people whom I learned to develop in San Bernardino with other areas in the country. In enabling what San Bernardino has taught it’s citizens, it gives us the opportunity to see the world through the eyes of an unclouded perception.