Laker Notes: It's time for LO to embrace the future
I have lived in Lake Oswego all my life. I have been the beneficiary of our schools, our clean streets, our lake, our beautiful downtown and even of the flower baskets that hang above our streets each spring.
But because I have lived in Lake Oswego all my life, I know that some elements of our community are far from the perfection that those flower baskets imply.
Our community is one that often looks to our past, one which focuses on the superficial instead of what really matters. It's a trend in our community which I have seen manifested in our schools time and time again.
Just in my own time at Lake Oswego High School, I have watched contentious disputes over things that are, in all reality, superfluous, like the color of graduation gowns or the location where we hold our graduation. These fights, while mostly well-intentioned, have demonstrated a tendency towards the superficial, beginning in our schools and growing outward.
That said, these fights have also revealed a secret gift in our community; the fact that we fight at all illustrates not only a passion for our community itself, but also a strength to defend that passion.
My sophomore year of high school was the first time I recognized the lack of diversity, and the subsequent inequalities as a result of that deficiency, within our community, brought to my attention by peers who were actively challenging that reality.
In the three years since those problems in Lake Oswego came to my attention, the values of devotion and tenacity have begun to overcome our communal impulse to stay rooted in how things have been. In these three years, I saw parents and community members rally, creating groups like LO for LOve and Respond to Racism and showing up at school board meetings, which helped to ensure the creation of the school's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and the hiring of a Director of Equity (David Salerno Owens) for the district. Since the 2019 year began, we have seen rapid change in the attitudes of our city councilors, from initially rejecting a DEI task force to completely adopting one.
There is still a great deal of social change to pursue here, and while Lake Oswego is often a slow moving giant, we know how to fight for what makes us passionate. As long as we continue to let our desire to grow and find progress lead our fights, our community will continue to move forward, instead of staying stuck in time.