Leadership Burbank’s class of 2020 had almost made it to the finish line when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Class members crossed it anyway.
Participants in the local program, which provides leadership training and a behind-the-scenes look at city, nonprofit, school and business organizations, select a project every year to complete before the nine-month course ends in May. The class of 2020 — the most recent group, since the pandemic put the program on hiatus for a year — wanted to perform renovations for BCR: A Place to Grow, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults who have developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Domestic violence incidents are trending downward, according to the Burbank Police Department. But some local organizations believe underreporting may be a cause. There were 167 incidents in 2020, Lt. Eduardo Ruiz of the BPD said at a recent meeting of the Burbank Domestic Violence Task Force, a 16% decrease from the total of 199 in 2019. In 2018, he explained, there were 238 domestic violence incidents in Burbank. This year through March, according to BPD data, there have been 46 domestic violence incidents, compared to 49 in 2020 and 67 in 2019 for the same period. However, some members of the municipal task force — which convened for the first time in years on March 31 — expressed concern that the pandemic and related stay-at-home restrictions may be making it more difficult for those in an abusive relationship to contact police. Some reported that their organizations have received more domestic violence-related calls since the beginning of the pandemic.
On the evening of Aug. 10, 2019, when John Waite performed his 1984 hit “Missing You” as a finale to the Starlight Bowl’s summer concert series, little could anyone have imagined just how prophetic the words of that song would be. In just over six months, Burbank would join the rest of the world in missing everything and everyone by taking shelter from a novel virus. While the “missing” of those who have fallen victim to the virus is the paramount heartbreak, the pandemic has also precipitated missing myriad things, from businesses who couldn’t hang on, social gatherings and classroom schooling, to so many things we love and have taken for granted. Among those things are traveling, visiting museums, dining in restaurants, going to plays and films, and the Starlight Bowl’s 2020 Summer Concert Series.
People of all ages dressing as ghouls, goblins, witches or popular-culture characters for Halloween. That’s a normal late October occurrence. Teachers personally interacting with their students. That’s a normal school-day occurrence. Children losing themselves within the stories and pictures of a new book. That’s a normal childhood occurrence. Sadly, these are not normal times. “We’re living in a time when normalcy is in short supply,” said Albert Hernandez of the Burbank Noon Rotary Club. “Because of that, we wanted to do something to bring about a sense of normalcy — to give kids the chance to dress up for Halloween, get to see their teachers or, in some cases, to actually meet them for the first time, and be given an age-appropriate book they can enjoy.”
She could very well be me. She could very well be you.
Who is she? Well, she asked that to protect her privacy, I not use her name. So I will, fittingly perhaps, call her “Us.”
“Last year, I was pregnant when my husband lost his job, and we got to a point that we could no longer pay our bills,” Us told me during a recent phone conversation. “We tried everything we could to make it, but ultimately we lost everything and ended up in our van with a newborn baby.”
Articulate and in possession of a warm and professional demeanor, Us said she never imagined such a thing could happen to her family.
“As a mom, it killed me to live in a shelter and then go from one motel to another,” Us said, her voice cracking slightly. “Every morning, when we awoke, we had no idea what was going to happen to us that day; how we would eat, or care for our child.” Continue reading “Family Promise Keeps Pledge to Help Homeless”