For those of you who don’t know, I am from Newburgh. Yes, the place that is voted “9th most dangerous city in the United States.” Wow, what a name we have for ourselves. When I tell people I am from Newburgh, some look at me like I’m crazy and if I should have some kind of demeanor about me just because I grew up and went to school there.

What people can’t see sometimes is that Newburgh is more than what its name is, and there is more to Newburgh than the parts that are bad. Newburgh to me is so much than a home, it is a place where I was taught to accept everyone, where I was shown I should have no fear and to really get know someone before you judge them. During my time in high school, I was in the City of Newburgh a lot. Whether it was to visit my Nana or walk with my best friend to her house on Lake Street, I was always around, so I could not have fear. I appreciated the great amount of diversity within my town. This gave me a chance to get to know people of different cultures, befriend many different people and get to see life through their perspectives. I would not change anything about that.

For years, Newburgh has been trying to get out of this rut. No, we do not want to be seen as the 9th worst city. While yes, there is a lot of bad, there is also good that is embodied in Newburgh. In more recent years, I have seen Newburgh doing its best to get better. There are new businesses that are booming and artwork surrounding the city that is beyond beautiful. The waterfront brings people in every weekend from all around. They come to experience the Ferry, the nightclubs or just the good eateries on the waterfront. They also come to see the breathtaking beauty that truly is Newburgh, which is not nearly appreciated enough.

Newburgh is filled with great places to eat that some people will never know about solely because they are afraid to enter those parts of town. Some of the best places in my spectacular little town are the Newburgh Lunch restaurant (which in my opinion has the best burger in town), The Rockland Bakery (the black and white cookies are amazing), Kennedy Fried Chicken, Billy Joe’s Ribworks (mac and cheese grilled cheese, whatttt?), Annas.. and the list can go on. The schools in Newburgh are also beautiful. Newburgh Free Academy (which educates about 3,000 kids), Mount St Mary College and Orange County Community College. There is also history forever engraved in Newburgh. Washington Headquarters is located on Liberty Street.

This place is filled with so much more than the eye can see. It with filled with people who are so full of life, so full of passion. It is filled with people that wish they could've had a better start at life and people that do what they have to do to survive. With the recent shooting that took away two innocent lives, people are probably looking for reasons, now more than ever, to look at Newburgh as a place that will never get well again, that will never see a day where crimes like this do not occur. But that should not be the case. This horrible crime should encourage people to fight to make Newburgh a better place, burn a fire in people to make us want to fight to give ourselves a better name.

We should fight to stop something like this from happening ever again. There can be a change and will be a change.

Newburgh….. forever a place to call home.