When some of the darker aspects of his town’s past started to re-appear, Michael Kusiak decided to do something about it. The reaction was gratifying.
My wife, my newborn son, and I made Castro Valley our home in 2009. Often when I tell people outside of Castro Valley where I live, I hear uncomfortable hints about its past. There are stories about the KKK. If you were black and bought a house here, your new neighbor may have asked if they could pay you to move out.
I don’t mention these points to create a present-day narrative about Castro Valley that isn’t. You see, hear and experience a diversity that many never could have imagined just 20 years ago. Our neighborhoods and schools are like extended families. I love this town.
But recent events have shaken my pride in what Castro Valley has become.
A few years ago, a woman was caught on video throwing coffee and yelling anti-Islamic slurs at a group of men who had been praying at Lake Chabot. I reached out to Rasheed, the young man who was directly assaulted by the woman. We talked. We became friends.