Not going to lie, before this particular trip, you were by far my least favorite city. I hadn't seen you in your true light and honestly, I don't think many people do.
You deceive people with your Hollywood lights and impressive financial district. The proximity to sun-soaked beaches and piers keeps the focus off of what's actually there. Could it be that you don't want to acknowledge the less-than-presentable parts of the city?
What if I asked you to walk just five blocks from the financial district into the heart of Skid Row? How would you respond? Would you be afraid or could you learn to recognize the fear that dwells in the own eyes of a young man without a home? Can you say, "Oh those people just want handouts," when you already demand so much for yourself? Would you just shrug and say, "Oh, I''m sure someone will take care of it", even if I told you 85,000 people in your city do not have a home?
Could you believe me if I said that many people you encounter on a day-to-day basis are finding it difficult to scrape by? When the end of the month comes, many mouths are open with bellies aching to be fed.
Would you look at your city in the eyes and apologize for not looking directly before?
When you see the woman sitting alone on the park bench, bring her water.
If you see hungry children feed them with food and compassionate love.
The next time you see a man who has been dealt a worse hand than you, don't assume he is a drunkard.
Step into the stories of your own city. Walk the streets of Compton and see the light bursting through. The light that paints houses and makes them new each week. The light which explodes from Faith Inspiration Church where the congregation prays for powerful changes. And although they are the last people who should feel the need to pray for President Trump, pray humbly and genuinely for the leader of this country.
Love your people and talk with the people in your borders. Don't turn away, invite in. Don't just give money, give time, a life-giving word, a smile.
Don't brighten Hollywood's lights,
Work harder to end a larger fight.
Stop focusing on the amount of your wealth,
Pause for a moment and care about this great city's health.