They must talk to people who actually know what is happening in the streets; not just those with whom they are comfortable. If law enforcement or politicians continue to insulate themselves from the very community they represent, they will only make more mistakes and worsen an already negative situation.

The broader issues that contributed to this shocking incident are many. It begins with a lack of leadership and representation. Which officials are fighting for our community? Why do so many people continue to be denied a voice without district elections in Santa Rosa? Why has Roseland and the rest of southwest Santa Rosa not been annexed into Santa Rosa? Why are there no services, parks or libraries in the most disadvantaged of neighborhoods? This overall neglect of the people in the southwest section of our community contributed to the death of young Andy Lopez. Where is the political will to make the numerous changes that are needed?

Finally, we must honor our young people for their courage in leading what has become a movement. They have let us know loud and clear that the death of Andy Lopez will not be accepted as business as usual. Because of their courage, the eyes of the world are watching Santa Rosa.

<i>Caroline Banuelos is president and Michaele Morales is vice president of the Sonoma County Latino Democrats.</i>

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