One year ago today, the lives of 14 fellow Americans were forever lost and dozens were injured in San Bernardino in yet another senseless act of gun violence. The deadliest mass shooting in recent history forever changed so many lives and infinitely shook our sense of security.
The San Bernardino tragedy hit our entire SEIU family very hard. We lost 10 SEIU brothers and sisters that day, and 22 more were seriously wounded. One year later the December 2nd tragedy has cicatrized our collective hearts, and no day goes without the sense of sorrow and emptiness felt by having beautiful lives dedicated to public service cut so short.
We’ve cried, we’ve prayed, and we’ve felt a tremendous pain, but we’ve also rallied in support of all the families affected. As we remember and cherish the lives of the 14 Americans and those wounded, we also treasure the powerful display of goodwill and compassion from fellow Americans across the country.
Immediately after the shooting, resources began to pour in to assist every victim of the San Bernardino tragedy. Even after the makeshift memorials were removed, and the headlines and political speeches dissipated, SEIU members across the country raised over $200,000 for all victims of the attack, including those who were not physically injured but still suffering the psychological effects of this terrible tragedy. Our union immediately began assisting with living expenses through the allotment of gas cards and grocery cards, and even covered the cost of child care for those families with children.
Assistance also came in the form of helping the gravely injured cope with their situation. For one family, SEIU Local 721 was able to provide a modular ramp to facilitate easy access for one of the victims, and it didn’t stop there. The funds raised have helped victims — regardless of union affiliation — cover the cost of medical expenses, mortgage and car payments, and more.
The tragic events of December 2nd marked a very dark day in our country’s history, but the tremendous generosity displayed by SEIU members and kind strangers throughout the United States proves to be a beacon of hope for a more compassionate world. We are grateful to every single first-responder who risked their lives to protect everyone at the Inland Regional Center, and we are thankful for all the frontline care workers who continue to heal the wounded and the families who lost a loved one.
Today at 12PM Pacific Time, SEIU Local 721 offices throughout Southern California will observe a one-minute moment of silence in honor of all the brothers and sisters we lost. We ask SEIU members and sister locals across the nation to join us in a moment of silence, remembering and honoring our union brothers and sisters.
Let’s honor the 14 beautiful lives lost, and vow to continue raising our collective voices to put an end to these terrible tragedies.