Love and respect in Poway

When my wife and I discovered that our second baby was on the way, we knew it was time to settle into our forever home and embark on the next phase of our life. As a native San Diegan, there was never a question that we would remain in the county. There was also no question of which community it would be: Poway.

With its top-tier school district, small-town feel, 55 miles of trails, 5,000 acres of open space, and fantastic parks we knew Poway would be an amazing place to live and raise a family.

What we couldn’t have expected was the incredible diversity of our neighbors. We live on a cul-de-sac with 11 houses. Those houses include two Jewish families, one African-American family, an LGBTQ family, a Filipino family and a Muslim family who emigrated here from Pakistan. We have original homeowners who purchased in 1974 and those who moved in this year. We have liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

The best part: We all get along.

In fact, we do better than get along; we are genuinely friends. We’ve spent many weekends on our court enjoying beers with the neighbors, celebrated holidays at each other’s homes, done barbeques and birthday parties with each other and are raising our children in a happy, safe, and loving neighborhood that respects backgrounds of every kind.

And it’s far more than just our street. Four-thousand Powegians came together last week in the wake of the Chabad Synagogue shooting to show that hate has no place in Poway. If there was any question about the character of Poway and the strength of this city, it was answered that night and in the last week of overwhelming love and support displayed in our town. Poway residents of every faith, color, background, and worldview came together in a beautiful display of the best in humanity. It was one of the most inspiring things I have ever seen.

The New York Times’ David Brooks was correct this past week when he said Poway was assaulted by a lonely fanatic.

As someone who has been welcomed into this community with open arms and discovered a rich diversity that I’ve never before experienced in a lifetime of living in San Diego County, don’t let one man’s actions tarnish your view of this incredible city.

Brian Pepin is a Poway resident and chair of the city’s Budget Review Committee.

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