The event of Sandra Cantu’s ordeal, as terrible as it was, had the effect of polarizing the citizens of Tracy and uniting us in a singular purpose.
I have been working with Sandra’s family to help organize and publicize the upcoming event, “Celebrating Tracy’s Children: an event honoring Sandra Cantu,” and have a very special request to make of Mayor Brent Ives and the city of Tracy: March 8 is the date of Sandra’s birth, and I propose that we declare March 8 to be Sandra Cantu Day in the city of Tracy.
I have never been so moved, nor felt so connected to a community or so proud to be the citizen of a city, as I did during the period when I and everyone else in this city became aware that one of our precious children was missing. Like so many others, I pounded the streets looking for Sandra, prayed continuously, and cried seeming unending tears that shook my soul.
Then, as events unfolded, something else began to happen. The people of Tracy came together to hold one another up. We shed tears in the arms of strangers, hugged and reassured children that they were safe, and asked people we’d never met before how they were doing. A sense of unity linked us together in a way that I will never forget.
Although Sandra’s name was once associated with shock and despair, we’ve had some time to travel through our grief, and I think I represent so many here in Tracy when I say that the name Sandra Cantu means something else to me now.
We were initially stricken with fear when we saw the very worst of humanity in a single person, but were lifted as we saw the best of humanity in thousands of our neighbors. The people of Tracy are connected by an ineffable bond because of Sandra, and when I think of her I feel a stirring in my heart. Tracy is a special community of people who care about one another, and Sandra Cantu Day will be a time for us to honor the strength and unity that she gave us.
I hope that you will honor her memory by declaring March 8 to be Sandra Cantu Day in Tracy.