I had originally planned on penning a review of the 2019-20 state budget.
And I still will, but the tragic shooting in the early hours of June 20 in Downtown Allentown that left 10 people hospitalized changed my thinking.
Frankly, I think this is much more important.
I live in Allentown, in fact I have for most of my life, having been raised in Center City.
My father, John, grew up in the 1st Ward; my grandfather, Joseph, was raised across the street from the Allentown Fairgrounds; my mother, Georgette, lives around the corner from me and my family on the South Side; my daughters are proud and successful students in the Allentown School District.
On the same day as that terrible shooting, there was an already-scheduled event designed to bring together neighborhood folks in a celebration of our community, our humanity and our shared values.
About a mile from the Deja Vu nightclub, hundreds of people came out to celebrate on the Arts Walk.
Hosted by Promise Neighborhoods of the LV with support from City Center among others, this event brought together people living near the poverty line with folks living in upscale apartments, enjoying the setting, amazing local art and some great Puerto Rican food.
There, I spoke with lifelong residents and newly minted Allentownians.
I met victims of crime, formerly incarcerated people who are changing their lives, police officers, artists and businesspeople, all in one little pedestrian alleyway.
There was singing and dancing, meaningful conversations, but mostly, it was just fun.
The Deja Vu shooting was horrific, and my heart sincerely goes out to those victims who were innocent.
And like all of us, I am thankful for the men and women of the Allentown Police Department and our first responders for their quick and decisive action.
Allentown is stronger than any one incident of violence, no matter how tragic or scary.
Our residents always have and always will come together to promote a safe community.
We value traditional neighborhoods, places where folks look out for each other, and one where people from all walks of life can come together and live, work and raise a family.
This is my Allentown.
Editor’s note: State Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-22nd, represents the 22nd Legislative District which includes: Allentown Ward 1, Ward 2, Ward 3, Ward 4, Ward 5, Ward 6 Division 1, Ward 07, Ward 08 Divisions 1 and 2, Ward 9, Ward 10 Division 1, Ward 11 Divisions 1 and 2, Ward 12, Ward 14 Division 2, Ward 16 and Ward 19.