As 2018 edges closer to 2019, we have increased opportunities to offer gratitude by giving of ourselves to family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers. As we sort out our feelings about the moral and societal failure of another mass shooting and a devastating natural disaster, we search for ways to help. The Guild will be joining the LA County Federation of Labor in its Labor Resilience Partnership, a new endeavor to train labor union members to serve as disaster response volunteers in the hours, days, weeks, and months after a major disaster.
These last few weeks have brought challenges we hope never to have to face. But once again, we find that what gets us through hard times is reaching out to those around us.
Here in Southern California, we’ve seen the power of the collective through the response to these tragedies. A coalition of students, families, law enforcement, and neighbors have reached out. Pierce College is housing animals, the California Federation of Teachers (CFT) has connected with members who lost their homes, and the LA Fed and the Red Cross have provided valuable assistance.
And this is what we do – take collective action in response to disaster, whether it’s a tragedy in our community or a polarizing and divisive political landscape needing change. While we celebrate our victories, we mourn those who lost lives and property. And we remain vigilant. We’ve made many gains, but we need to keep fighting together. Because when disaster strikes, that’s what we do.
As we reach the end of the year, which was filled with challenges as well as victories, we look forward to spending time with family and friends. With our collective strength, we’re ready to meet any challenges that face us in 2019.
Wishing you all a meaningful and memorable holiday season,
Joanne Waddell, President, AFT 1521