There is such a vast amount of inequality in our nation, it is our job as Rockland residents to recognize that and ensure that whoever comes here feels safe, included, and equal. Rockland is an especially beautiful town filled with business owners, artists, educators, families, students, peoples of all ages, and, most importantly, open-mindedness. 

We need to come together as a group and welcome immigrants and refugees seeking a safe haven. We hold such positive power in the fact that we are a free people, willing and able to make positive changes within our town. We must hold onto that goodness, and make sure we stand in solidarity with all those who are threatened by our current government and the state of our nation. Hate crimes will not be tolerated, and education must be spread in order to ensure a more compassionate society for all of us. 

Of course, this country was built almost entirely on immigrants. Native Americans, being the first to sustainably live on this land, African American slaves, and immigrants were crucial to building the foundation of modern day America. I believe it is extremely necessary for that truth to be spread more widely throughout in order to create a smarter and more loving place to live. Teaching truthful history is something that can be accomplished.

Our public education system needs a lot of attention, because what goes into the minds of our younger generations is crucial to the world that is coming. If we want to live in a society where climate change is confronted, clean energy is harnessed, and compassion is practiced, we must put a lot more energy into our schools. Whether or not one may be a parent with a child in the public school system, everybody will [in one way or another] be affected by a positive change that we can create.

Trans inclusive bathrooms are something that must be placed into our public school system. No matter what gender a child was born with, and what they may identify with currently [gender specific or not at all], it is our job as a society to create a free and safe space for them to use the restroom. Every person deserves a right to their gender identity, and gender-neutral bathrooms are the best way to convey that message. The entire LGBTQIA community must be respected and celebrated, as should the entirety of our human race, without limitations. Moving forward, as soon as we can, on transgender inclusive restrooms in our public schools is necessary for the safety, happiness, and comfort of school children of all ages.

On Monday, March 6 at 5:30 p.m., there will be a workshop held at the Rockland City Hall. A discussion will take place on the Resolution Of Commitment To Promoting An Open, Respectful, Healthy Community. I encourage everyone to join in and take part, whether it is to share like-minded ideals or to learn more about why coming together as a community is so important. Showing support in numbers is one way to make a difference in our society! We need empathy and community gatherings more than ever right now. I am a proud Rockland resident.

Madison Kushner, Rockland

* Ed. Note: As of press time, we had not received confirmation from Rockland City Hall that the workshop was on the agenda for the March 6 meeting.