We are all anxious about the announcement of the verdicts in the federal (Rodney King civil-rights) trial. We all experienced what happened last year, and we have all heard the wild rumors about what might happen this year. It's perfectly normal for us to experience this fear and anxiety. We shouldn't pretend that it doesn't exist.
But we must also remember that, sometimes, people have fears about things that they think will happen, yet these things don't happen at all. I remember when I was a kid, and I thought that there was a monster under my bed. Well, when I got up the courage to look, there was no monster there at all.
I want to talk to our children about their fears, and I want to assure them that this year is different from last year. Our city is now working together, like a family, so that we don't have any more disturbances. We have been working for a full year to ensure that the problems of last year do not happen again. We are going to make sure that what we all fear does not actually happen.
I know that our system failed our children last year. And I know that when trust has been broken, it takes time to rebuild. But our new chief of police, Willie Williams, has worked very hard to rebuild that trust and to build positive relationships with our neighborhoods. We will make sure that what happened last year does not happen again.
To all parents and teachers, I ask just one thing: Show our children that you love them, and be there for our children to listen and understand when they become anxious. Give them a hug. Tell them how much we care about them and depend on their smiles and their hopes and their dreams. Reassure our children that they will be OK, that our city will pull together like a united family and prevent what happened last year from happening again.
I hope that all parents and teachers are doing their best to educate our children about today's events. I urge you to speak to them honestly and openly about the trial that is occurring in our city and the events that led up to it.