By Ernesto Saavedra
Living in Fresno is tough and I’m reminded of it every day. As I write this, both my parents are struggling with ailments that plague a number of poor working-class, marginalized communities. Diabetes and high blood pressure, coupled with the struggle to find a decent paying job that doesn’t take advantage of you, have become so normalized we joke about it or silently accept it.
My 15-year-old sister struggles at a young age with institutions that just want to suppress her voice and put her on a steady diet of pills. “No hay locos en la familia/There aren’t ‘crazies’ in our family” my dad says as his eyes water up like our natural rivers did at one point. Depression and anxiety are taboos but very real, the invisible diseases that can cripple individuals, families and whole communities.
The other day, while reminiscing with a friend of mine I just helped bail out of the Fresno County Jail, I got flashbacks of visiting my brother in prison as a child and how I used to help clean offices with my mom to pay the bills. The struggle is real for me, and it probably is for you too. Yet we persevere.
We keep going despite everything that gets thrown at us. We become active in our community by organizing and or voting, seeking spirituality, advocating for the environment and turning our struggle into creativity. This resilience we have as a loving and caring community trumps everything else, and sometimes it takes a place like Fresno to bring it out of you.
As you read along, I challenge you to think about how you persevere and how you can become an agent of change either personally or with a specific cause or group. I challenge you to figure out how we cannot only survive but how can we live.
See you in the streets.