by Edi Birsan, Concord Mayor
Email me: Put EDI in subject line
As part of the 150th Anniversary of Concord ,we are planning a time capsule for the next 150 years, though I am not sure if it would be readable by the winners of the Robot Apocalypse. Back in 1868 ,they did not have the practice of Time Capsules, so I was thinking what would they have written back then to tell us about their times, values and hope for the future?
They would have been the survivors of the total destruction of the Town of Pacheco by the Hayward Earthquake with a history of destruction by Fire and Flood previously. Its water access to Suisun Bay was finally silted over and destroyed in the shaking making its economic reason to be: void.
It was also just three years after the end of the Civil War. The most destructive war in our land and culture with great discord from shore to shore. The survivors and its founders, the Pacheco’s, were firmly on the side of the North which is why we have streets named Grant and Colfax (Grant’ Vice President) and Concord Boulevard was actually called Lincoln Avenue.
In Washington, the extreme political edge that was called the Radical Republican Party pushed through the 14th Amendment to combat the growing Democrats use of racist voter suppression Jim Crow laws and the revival of the Dread Scott Decision which said that basically even freed slaves and their subsequent children could not be U.S. Citizens because they were brought here against their will. (They sort of ignored the founding of Georgia as a Penal Colony. Is there a parallel here with the DACA kids brought here without their consent and not eligible for citizenship?)
Then there was Don Salvio Pacheco, the dominant Mexican American landowner and his family standing firm in his commitment to his neighbors pointing to a place a little east of his Adobe and offering 26 acres and a town layout with lots for one dollar (or a handshake promise) to restart things.
Was it no wonder that the survivors/refugees who came together at the place he named Todos Santos, quickly started to call it Concord. A rash of such names spread across the U.S. (78 of them in fact with our Concord being the biggest…and best), with the emphasis on the value of living in concordance, neighborliness, respect, and an end to the discord that surrounded their immediate history.
I would then suspect that their Time Capsule words would be a reminder of the path that they were setting:
Emphasis on what we have in common, not what divides us.
Praise for the diversity of their neighborhood where the Mexican Americans reached out to help their Anglo refugees as well as anyone else who needed help to build a new community.
A reminder that there were still evil forces about who would try to use the political system to deny people votes, citizenship and inclusion.
And most of all, that being a good neighbor where families of different types can live in concordance.
I wonder how far different the future advice will be for the people of 2168?