United Teachers of Richmond CTA/NEA

United Teachers of Richmond  CTA/NEA -

Oakland Fires Update 12.6.16


Dear UTR members,
With deep sadness I am emailing you today. Today we lost two amazing educators from WCCUSD. Sara Hoda and Travis Hough died in the Oakland Fires on Friday. Sara was a teacher at Coronado Elementary School and one of our UTR REPS in 2015/16. Travis was a counselor in King Elementary and Montalvin Elementary. My condolences to everyone who knew them, and to all the families who are being affected by this terrible tragedy. I personally had met Sara various times and can say she was an incredible advocate, educator, and an amazing woman. Travis made a huge impact in the lives of kids and teachers and always cheered people with his smile.
For those who might need anything, please do not hesitate to reach out. The school district has sent care teams to the affected schools but we offer many resources for people who might need them or for students. If you feel like you need some support today or this week please let your principal know.
I would like to leave you with this poem from Maya Angelou that says:

“When Great Trees Fall”

“When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.”

-Maya Angelou

Demetrio Gonzalez
President, United Teachers of Richmond CTA/NEA