Editor’s Note: We are proud to announce Jeremy Miller, 22, is the winner of The kNOw’s 2015 Writing Contest. Miller received a Samsung Galaxy Tablet Pro tablet and gift certificates to Best Buy and Google Play. We will be posting all of the entries to the website in the coming weeks, and everyone who entered the contest will be receiving gift certificates. Miller is a community activist and is a member of Fresno Boys and Men of Color, Youth for Christ, and AmeriCorps. He has a passion for music and often sings at his church. He said he was “humbled and excited” to win the contest.
By Jeremy Miller
Some people say Fresno is boring and that you should just pass through it. Rather than investing in the city, they prefer to abandon it to the negative stereotypes and misconceptions that surround our communities.
But I believe that I have a future in Fresno because I see the potential for Fresno to be a great place for people of all ages and all backgrounds. Many before me also saw this potential and devoted their lives to help make this community a better place.
I am inspired by people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who led protests in Fresno over equal housing rights in the 1950’s. I am deeply encouraged by the life of Reverend Chester Riggins, who was a phenomenal leader known for the love he showed his community and for empowering residents to help Fresno become the city it is today. I am also motivated by the late former Fresno City Council member and founder of The California Advocate Newspaper, “Les” Kimber. He was a great leader who stood for racial equality for all races and cultural backgrounds.
It is upon the shoulders of these great leaders that my faith in this community stands. Many members of the community have also found themselves inspired and have devoted their lives to changing Fresno for the better. I myself have committed to pouring my heart, time, resources and energy into this city and am seeing many others of all ages do the same.
Those efforts are paying off. This year alone Fresno has made great strides that shine a positive light on the direction we as a city will go. Fresno formed its first Fresno Police Youth Council to help bridge the gap between youth, the Fresno Police Department and the community. There is also an effort underway to tackle the issue of blight and ensure that all Fresno families are given the opportunity to live in quality housing. Community organizations are now taking the initiative on ending the literacy gap impacting children in parts of Fresno by making sure they have the same opportunities to quality education as everyone else.
California’s passing of Prop. 47 signals a shift in Fresno and the rest of the state toward the rehabilitation of those caught up in the criminal justice system instead of investing in our prisons. Fresno is now actively finding ways to help those now in prison or recently released become contributing members of society.
New relationships are being forged between the residents who come together to push for the kinds of change that will restore our community and help build one healthy Fresno.
I recently became involved with the Fresno Police Department’s Youth Council, First 5 Fresno County, Faith in Community, and Boys and Men of Color because I know that we can and will help create a better Fresno. I see my fellow brothers and sisters of all ages, races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds coming together to become part of the history of this city. And I know that because of them Fresno will be a city full of life, opportunity and equality. Just like the many great leaders before them a new generation of leaders are stepping into that role today.
Because of them I have faith that not only will our city reach its full potential but that it will inspire others around us to do the same.