Tying a bow around the year with quotes—by me and others— taken from a year’s worth of this column:
What’s uncomfortable for many people is to meet people where they’re at. It changes people’s lives. Because it shows them immediately that you care. … [Ask] “How can I help you?” And just help them.—Bill “Guillermo” Mash
Going into any communication with the understanding that the person on the “other side” shares our same fundamental human needs, and responding without judgment while speaking our own truth (and not parroting a predetermined worldview), is the only way to create a connection. But both “sides” need to be conscious of the process and take part. … The only other choice is violence, in one form or another.
People who have been broken, people living in the street, have lost faith in themselves and lost faith in the community. Our job, literally, is to get them to start trusting us. … When they start trusting us and know that we’re not going away, that’s when I start seeing healing in them. Because they’ve had so many failures. When they see that you’re not going away, you can start seeing life changes.—Bob Trausch, board vice president Chico Housing Action Team
I am always caught off guard when I hear people say, “I won’t go downtown.” Mostly, I’m taken aback because not going downtown, for me, would be like not going to Chico. … What downtown needs is you. Just come and things will get better.
Standing around the open hatchback, listening to a recording Garr1son had made on a neighbor’s answering machine of a couple of his tunes, I had to force myself not to look around too much. I couldn’t have played a single note if I would have dwelled on the fact that I was standing in the burned-out heart of the man in front of me. As the red sun set behind the charcoal poles littered around the lot at the very end of Green Forest Lane, the three of us got lost in the groove of Garr1son’s bittersweet blues.
It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable.—Nick Cave
Thank you, News & Review, for keeping me around, and thank you readers and supporters of this newspaper for sticking around—mistakes and all.
And one new one, just for this column—a reminder for the new year: Don’t forget you’re alive—Joe Strummer
Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review