A buzzing crowd of almost 200 people instantly greeted me as I walked into the large room. Pleasantly surprised at the turn out, I walked to the front of the room, where, after a long three month-long process of constant email communication to organize the debate, I finally met the speakers and head organizer of the event in person. Countless residents were about to witness and participate in an ever-controversial debate of gay marriage and rights on July 17 at the Castro Valley Library. Little did I know that the passion and enthusiasm shown in that room would not only inspire me, but also every attendee of the debate that evening.
In all honesty, I never really knew that Castro Valley residents could be so fired up, eager to voice their opinions, and informed on news topics. Our former chicken farm town had actually made me ponder if we even had any teenagers or adults who were interested in things like debates.
Before I got involved in organizing the Great Castro Valley Marriage Debate, as it was called, I was not aware of the incessant quarreling of two of the debaters through the local Forum, or never took time to look at what topics matter to our small town.
By getting involved in this event, I opened my eyes and realized that there are so many opinions and voices in our community that have never been heard; especially because there is actually no place to go to speak your mind. Because this little place is not an incorporated city, we lack a city hall, mayor, police department, and many more advantages and/or disadvantages that a modern day city would have. The bottom line is, countless Castro Valley residents are informed and opinionated people, but have no place to voice their opinion.
So why is this? If such a numerous amount of people came to hear the The Great Castro Valley Marriage Debate, actively asked questions during the Q&A section, and even took notes and video taped the event, why do we as a community not have a place to nurture their sense of individual thought?
The idea struck my brother as my family and I came home, disillusioned at how truly incredible our community was. “What if we start something that bridges the gap between the people who want to voice their opinions, and the place where they actually go do that?” he said. I thought for a minute. He was right! Castro Valley has nothing for residents who want to debate or listen to debates about important topics around the world, as well as in the community. “Then let’s fix that.” I said.
That right there was the birth of The Great Castro Valley Debate. GCVD is a brand new non-profit organization founded by me and my brother, dedicated to creating dialogue between Castro Valley residents, and providing a platform for people to come and debate, participate, voice their opinion, and be informed on topics that run the gamut.
The first debate is coming up on Nov. 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Castro Valley Library. The topic of debate will be whether or not Castro Valley should be an incorporated city. Find out more information at http://greatcvdebate.wix.com/home
GCVD is just the start of educating and motivating the people of Castro Valley to stand up and speak their mind. It fills in the gap that I saw at the marriage debate this summer, and gives our community a chance to truly learn and share ideas. My only wish is that residents learn what I have: Castro Valley is bursting with vivacious and motivated people. You just have to give them a place to prosper.