On this day in Juneau history, I, Tasha Elizarde, reached the day of my final “This Day in Juneau History” segment.
While many great experiences lie ahead of me post-segment writing, I can’t help but look back at my experience summarizing the day-to-day life of the Juneau community. From discussing the nitty gritty details of the 1980s fiscal crisis (which drew many similarities to our own 2017 economic emergency) to recounting the Capital School controversy in 1987, my work has reinvigorated the passion I have for my hometown.
Being recognized as the “This Day in Juneau History” girl on the street has had even more, less obvious perks, too: I have been able to interact with and learn from Juneau community members on a level few youth have access to. I am grateful for the conversations I’ve been able to have about the importance of preserving our history. When you, the readers, speak, I am able to peek past the present life and see something I didn’t know you could have for anything so strongly: love. I see it again when you stop to thank me for my work — seeing that feeling is absolutely immeasurable.
This brings me to my central discovery in writing these segments: Juneau is an awe-inspiring place because of the people who care so much for it. Reading our history, it’s apparent the care Juneautonians had existed even 30 years ago. It’s like what Charles Westmoreland, who had chosen me for the job, had said when he introduced me in the Juneau Empire a year ago: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” “Same” doesn’t only point to what’s happened. “Same” also refers to the collective state of being that has made Juneau unique—and for everyone of us, home—for months, years, and even decades. “Same” is the feeling of belonging that has been ever-present in our community for decades, and it’s this quality that has revealed itself to be the most intrinsic and ever-lasting thing about Juneau throughout its history.
Thank you for reading my segments and thank you for being Juneau. It’s been a pleasure to adventure through Juneau’s historical jungle with you.
• Tasha Elizarde is a high school senior living in Juneau. Her column comes out twice a month. She also wrote “This Day in Juneau History” for the Juneau Empire. Read more at tashaelizarde.wixsite.com/thestorysharer.