My hometown of Stockton, with a population of over 315,000 people, has a long history of public and private disinvestment. As a city, Stockton initially gained prominence as one of the largest cities in American history to declare bankruptcy, we once had the highest violent crime rate per capita in California, and we remain the largest city in our state without a public degree-granting university.
When we launched the Reinvent Stockton Foundation (RSF) in 2017, it was to build hope and expand opportunity by investing in Stockton’s people. Informed by our experiences in this beautiful, diverse, high-potential city, the RSF team envisioned a world in which all children receive the support needed to succeed in college, in careers, and in their communities.
It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this message to each of you, given the events of the past week with our country facing the fallout of hundreds of years of systematic racial injustice and civil unrest; most recently with the horrific circumstances surrounding the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. It goes without saying that the impact is hitting particularly hard against the backdrop of a global pandemic.