by Virginia McCullough

Sunol, California is the small town this author has called home for almost thirty years. It is nestled in Niles Canyon, a scenic road that follows Alameda Creek for six twisting miles and connects the cities of Fremont and Pleasanton. Embarking upon this drive a traveler leaves acres of concrete and enters another world winding through hills covered with oaks and black cattle clinging to the mountain sides.

Sunol is nestled in this canyon and its history is deeply ingrained in the history of California (E Clampus Vitus in Sunol). This tiny community is known for many things from its unique mayor Bosco Ramos to its organic strawberries larger and fresher then any you can find in nearby markets. Once in town it is easy to find your way around because there are only five streets: Main, Foothill, Bond, Railroad and Kilkare. The longest of these is the four mile long Kilkare Road. Before drivers are forced to turn around when this road dead ends, they pass large historic homes like the Ellison Winery and beautiful log cabins hidden along Sinbad Creek, structures that date back to the late 1800s.

The magic that is Sunol can best be contained in one word…..diversity. The best description of that word I have found is defined by students at the University of Oregon

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Sunolians have found their safe, positive and nurturing environment in the place they call home. It is proven over and over again whenever a resident finds themselves experiencing personal hurt or pain and the entire community gathers around to protect the injured party. The individuals who live here show acceptance and respect for each other even when debating issues of morality or arguing over political positions.

Sunol’s monthly newspaper The Sunolian clearly encompasses the magic of this unique community.

This publication centers on the special people who live in this oasis of Alameda County and it also covers political issues that might impact its residents’ quality of life. The Sunolian is sold for 50 cents a copy at four businesses on Main Street allowing readers to see a picture of the diversity we celebrate.

Today reprints articles from The Sunolian written by two contributors…Neil Davies (Click.) and David Nealon Ledbetter (Click.)

Virginia McCullough © 5/18/09