This is a link to my favorite version of “America the Beautiful” performed by Mr. Ray Charles. He sings with the anguish, love and faith of a man who has known his fellow Americans at our ugliest, suffered hate, and still believes one day we might find Grace. He sings about heroes who love mercy more than life, which breaks my heart in the midst of this pandemic. He makes the old words come alive with what is beautiful about our land and people and prays for what could be. I spent last night with my family watching “Hamilton” and this morning at a community farm on Orcas talking about food and land and homes. American Dreams of justice often come right down to a garden, a kitchen, and the peace to enjoy them. It seems like not much to ask, but 150 years ago my ancestors left Germany and Ireland to find those things here, and the people who have lived here for generations out of time got those things taken from them. Black people still don’t get the peace and freedom to pursue happiness. They get shot by police while asleep in their own beds or watching TV in their own apartments. Liberty is not a thing every American enjoys equally, nor should it be taken for granted. As your public servant on the County Council, I will not sacrifice fair treatment for convenience or count on handshake deals to protect your freedoms. Happy 4th of July!