SCUSD Classified workers held a heartfelt virtual vigil for the co-workers they lost to COVID-19
On Tuesday, April 20, classified workers, teachers, parents, faith leaders, and community members hosted a virtual vigil to acknowledge and honor those who have lost their lives and their loved ones to COVID-19, including their fellow SCUSD workers.
“Like many, I’ve been humbled about this pandemic. At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal and as this has gone on, it has really pierced my bubble of impenetrability. We’ve been stuck at home spending way too much time with each other. We’re tired, we’re over it, but we’re alive. So many of us haven’t been that lucky. Friends of mine have lost grandparents, parents, and kids. I don’t even have the words to comprehend all that pain. So many parents are concerned about exposure. So many parents have decided to stay distanced learning because it’s just not worth the risk. We trust the district and the school workers like the teachers, the aides, the food service workers, the bus drivers and so many others that keep our kids safe while in school. We know that if the workers don’t feel safe then the students are not going to be safe. I just want to say thank you to everyone here who is standing up not just for yourselves but for our kids.” said Mo Kashmiri, parent of a SCUSD student at William Land Elementary School at the virtual vigil last week.
The day before the vigil, classified workers at SCUSD were at the bargaining table successfully negotiating with Superintendent Aguilar and the District on a fair baseline health and safety agreement that will protect students, workers, and the entire school community as COVID-19 continues to be an ongoing public health issue.
“I remember the date, March 16, 2020, when we got the call from family members of an SCTA member and educator. She was maybe the first educator in the country at the time to pass away from complications of COVID-19. She was one of the very first. She was a retired teacher who went back to substitute teach in her community. To think she’s going to be one of almost 600,000 Americans and almost 3 million people worldwide we lost to COVID-19. It has been unbelievable. But I want to be hopeful, that’s why we stand here today in absolute solidarity with SEIU 1021 classified workers as they hold this vigil for the co-workers and other community members who have been hit so hard by COVID-19. This is exactly why we are so proud to stand side by side with SEIU 1021 on important safety issues. Together we have been able to negotiate perhaps one of the highest safety standards in the state for students and staff.” said David Fisher, SCTA President and parent of a SCUSD student in his address at the virtual vigil.
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the lives of workers and our communities in ways we could never anticipate over the last year. We may not know what the future holds, but we are certain that as COVID-19 continues to affect frontline essential workers, we will continue to fight for the protections that will create the healthy communities we all deserve.
You can watch the full virtual vigil here.