December 2, 2015 is a day San Bernardino will never forget. That was the day international terrorism landed at San Bernardino’s door. This horrific event could not have been perceived to happen in the Inland Empire, but yet here in San Bernardino we are facing that stark realization today, and it changes permanently the way we view our community.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families directly impacted by this massacre of their loved ones, as well as the wounded still being treated in hospitals throughout the Inland Empire. We will stand continually with you during this time of great sorrow.
One of the factors that has emerged out of this nightmare of utter darkness has allowed a bright and noble light to shine on San Bernardino is the quick and decisive response of so many who came together to provide aid in one form or another.
I want to take this time to personally thank our San Bernardino Police Department under the incredible leadership of Chief Jarrod Burguan. I want to also thank our San Bernardino Fire Department, the San Bernardino Sheriff Department, the San Bernardino County Probation Department, the ATF, the FBI and all the agencies who provided mutual aid during this crisis situation as it unfolded here in our city.
I want to thank the Parks & Recreation Department under the direction of Mickey Valdivia for the care and handling of the unification of the families at the Rudy Hernandez Community Center. Thank you OmniTrans & Durham School Services for helping with the transportation of the Inland Regional Center employees.
Thank you to all the clergy that responded for crisis intervention assistance, especially those who stayed at the center until the last bus came and was able to render solace and comfort to the bereaved families during a very traumatic time.
Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Webster defines courage as strength in the face of pain or grief. This is not the time to respond in fear. That’s what the bad people want us to do.
This is a time to show the world that San Bernardino will not let fear define us. Our unity one with another will distinguish us from the fools who attempt to threaten our way of life, because freedom is more powerful than fear. San Bernardino has displayed in the past a resiliency un-paralleled during times of adversity. We will do so once again.
Because of the horrific events that occurred, December 2, 2015 will be a day San Bernardino will forever remember. But I guarantee you this San Bernardino will be better, San Bernardino will be united. Together we will be San Bernardino Strong.
Rikke Van Johnson
Mayor Pro Tempore
Councilman 6th Ward
San Bernardino, CA