Let the political rhetoric, divisiveness and social media idiocy – How did so many parents go wrong in failing to instill decency to their kids? – continue.
While they go low, we’ll go much higher. That is the beauty of a community newspaper that is entering its 29th years of publication and serving readers from Visalia to Stockton, and beyond if you include those reached through www.vidaenelvalle.com and social media.
While the mainstream media goes crazy over blackface, border security and a Russian connection to the president, there have been many gems uncovered in this publication that deserve just as much attention.
How about author Tim Z. Hernández and his ongoing effort to put a face and a story to the 28 Mexican nationals who died when the Douglas DC 3 they were riding in crashed over Los Gatos Canyon near Coalinga 71 years ago? A January ceremony at Holy Cross Cemetery where a mass gravesite contains their remains went untouched by the media. His book, ‘All They Will Call You,’ needs to be made into a movie!
How about Selma High student Lizette Venegas who, in her Team 2, gold-medal-winning speech at the Fresno County Academic Decathlon, teared up while pondering the pressure on her shoulders from family expectations that she was their “golden ticket” to a better life her siblings had thrown away by not advancing past high school? No media was present that evening.
How about the yeoman’s work done by Edison High students Madeleine Fischer and Elizabeth Rodríguez who turned mission impossible into a well-deserved school win at that academic decathlon by cajoling enough students to form a team that five months ago didn’t exist? No media either to tell their story.
How about the current athletic success that has put McFarland High back in the spotlight its cross country team had run into only to be dimmed by administrators whose “competitive equity rule” punished that success by moving them into Division I status? The girls basketball team finished its second consecutive unbeaten run through league and poised for a playoff run. Outside the local newspaper, not much media attention.
For years, almost 1,000 immigrants who now call the San Joaquín Valley their home make their way into the Fresno Convention Center to take the oath as new U.S. citizens without almost zero media coverage at a time when the country’s immigration system gets tainted by politicians. Well, you’ve read stories about those naturalized Americans in this newspaper.
How about the great Johnny Gonzales and the job he’s been doing with Ballet Folklórico Oro de México at Monache, Granite Hills and Porterville high schools? One night he’s coordinating the company’s annual Christmas showcase, and the next day he’s walking down the floor of Selland Arena to get his bachelor’s degree. Again, limited media.
Let me tell you, there are plenty of positive stories in this region that often get overlooked or forgotten by the media. In turn, folks get a wrong impression that the Valley si only about vehicle accidents, robberies, weather damages, sex trafficking, abandoned cats and dogs, and “dusty towns” (I hate that adjective) as described by out-of-town reporters ... or lazy, local scribes.
As long as those stories are out there, we will continue to find them and report on them.
These gems need to be uncovered for all to enjoy.
Juan Esparza Loera has been editor of Vida en el Valle since it first published in August 1990. Send questions, comments or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org