Happy New Year, Fontana!

If you are like me, you don’t regret 2020 is over. But through all we have experienced, we should be proud of the people who live, work and care about Fontana.

Many of our residents lost their lives to COVID-19, and these losses continue in our community, nation and world. We’ve experienced pandemic-related lockdowns, school closures, long lines for essential supplies, the closure of many of our small businesses, and jobs put on hold and in some cases eliminated. In 2020, our community, state, nation and world were reshaped.

In May, the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer triggered protests across the country and world and sparked national conversation about systemic racism. Today, practically every level of government has adopted resolutions and programs to identify and eliminate injustice and inequality across the nation.

Last year was a year unlike any other. There was pain. There was suffering. But I also witnessed acts of inspiration and heroism.

A hero is defined as someone who shows great courage and valor -- who puts others first, even at your own peril. Amid all the challenges we faced, so many in Fontana were determined that they would provide resources for residents in need. That is the definition of #FontanaTogether at its core.

Our nonprofits and community-based organizations sponsored food giveaways and distributed PPE. Among them: The Dodger Foundation food drive through Dodgers Dreamfield, CityLink food mobile distribution, and Eat and Be Well drive-through giveaway.

Our Mayor's Youth Advisory Council actively participated in the United States Conference of Mayors Youth Voter Engagement Program. Fontana Walks participants didn’t stop stepping despite being virtual. The Fontana Mayor's Education Coalition continued to meet virtually and participated in a great discussion on racism in education. The Fontana Chamber of Commerce contacted all small businesses to obtain information on their needs and to provide latest information on assistance for business.

Local community members established the “Fontana Families” Facebook page and the “Feed Me Fontana” Instagram page. Residents rallied together to help not only other residents but the business community by promoting inclusion, collaboration and transparency. Both show what can happen when a community comes together -- an example being the “Feed Me Fontana” New Year’s post encouraging our 200,000-plus residents to spend $20 per week at a local restaurant. That’s more than $4 million going right back into our community every week. “Together we can keep businesses open. Together we can keep our community employed and thriving!” the post read.

These kinds of efforts will make a big difference in 2021. Among the social media hashtags I’ll be keeping up with (and encourage you to do so too): #support local #fontanaopenforbusiness #lovefontana #fontanaca #foodieblogger #feedmefontana

#ihearfontana #fontanatogether #fontanastrongeconomy #takeout #loveourcommunity. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter. I encourage you to get connected; Fontana, we are in this together.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering about why I’m so optimistic about 2021. This year I decided to follow my mother’s recipe and made black-eyed peas. I know what you are thinking, why does that matter? Well, southern tradition dictates that the first food to be eaten on New Year’s Day should be black-eyed peas for luck and prosperity -- one pea for each day of the year. I added collard greens for an extra helping of wealth.

Happy New Year’s Fontana!

(Acquanetta Warren is the mayor of Fontana.)

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