I am writing because I have been so disheartened by much of what I have seen and heard from us over recent weeks. Yet, in the last year I have seen this community unite in amazing ways. With all the challenges that the last year has brought, the beauty and teamwork of this community has more often than not shone through. That sense of community is being challenged right now.

Many of us love this town, this community, not just for what it is, but for what it can be. We love its past, its present and its future. Growing up in Montclair gives one a special perspective on the world — a reason I am truly grateful for being able to raise our children here. Though I can be tempted to see Montclair with rose-colored glasses, I find it important to acknowledge the faults along with the fabulous — that despite all the terrific things about Montclair, there are plenty of things that need the work of our community to improve.

It cannot be stressed enough, that to make progress we need to work together, to not just listen to each other but to value the perspectives of others. That lesson above all is what the Montclair community has given me. That is a lesson that I want to pass onto my children, and it is a lesson I can only pass on with the help of our community. We must understand the anxiety, anger, and most of all fear, that runs through this community right now. Everyone in our community is facing unprecedented challenges, though we must acknowledge that those challenges are not the same for all of us. As I said, I have seen this community come together in amazing ways — we shouldn’t, and can’t, stop now. We need to not drive wedges, but build stronger bridges.

If you are able to, I encourage you to find a group in this community to give your time or resources to, there are many. And if you are in need of help I encourage you to ask for it.
There are so many in this community who will welcome you with open arms and open hearts. In this time of uncertainty, I am certain that we are ALL better when we work together. I suggest we pause and choose to believe that the members of this community, our neighbors, are acting in good faith and with true intentions. That shift in perspective will allow us to come out on the other side of these crises stronger. Don’t let fear and anger beat us now, we have come so far and need to see this through together.

Ted Graham


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