On Tuesday, August 15, 2023, Councilmember Clarissa Cervantes attended her first City Council meeting since her July 1 arrest for driving under the influence.
Following public comment, during which many Riversiders lauded Cervantes' return while others called for her resignation, Cervantes shared she had completed a three-week inpatient treatment program for alcohol abuse.
Here is her statement in its entirety.
"I want to begin with apologizing to my constituents of Ward 2 and the greater community, who I may have disappointed by the event that took place on July 1. Being chosen as your elected Councilmember of Ward 2 and in the City of Riverside has been one of the greatest honors of my life, a role that I hold with deep regard as I rise daily to fight and serve you all to my best abilities.
"Last week, I voluntarily completed a three-week inpatient treatment with the support of my family and loved ones. And with the help of an incredible rehabilitation team, I have set myself up for success beyond this. I am committed to sharing my story and helping others find their path to recovery. Because it's so important that we know that we are not alone in this world; we need each other. And I truly believe this happened so I could shift my life and become of even greater service to those suffering in silence and who feel alone battling this disease.
"To anyone listening: you are not alone. We all know someone or have met someone who has faced challenges. And I've come to learn that our mistakes do not define us. Rather, how we choose to change and how we choose to improve our lives and health is truly what can transform us. And this can then be shared with others for them to see that there is a way, there is a light, and there is a road to recovery. We're all worthy of this path and healing journey. And I know my journey does not end here. But this is only the beginning. Thank you."
Cervantes, who is running to replace her sister in the California State Assembly 58th District seat, is scheduled to appear in court on August 30, where she will face charges related to her arrest.