Healing, Hope and Action

Dear SEIU Local 99 Sisters and Brothers,

Like many of you, I was stunned and disappointed by the results of our Presidential Election.

But at the same time, California was a beacon of hope. Our hard work paid off. Many Local 99 members participated in our union’s efforts to pass Proposition 55. We spoke with thousands of voters, who once again stood up for children to ensure that our schools and community colleges will not face another season of massive budget cuts.

We joined with our sister SEIU locals across the state—social workers, nurses, classroom aides, state workers, security officers, college professors, home care workers, janitors and other hard working Californians who represent California in all its diversity—in massive voter outreach to win this victory for our schools, as well as other wins including:

  • The election of the first woman of color, California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris, to represent California in the U.S. Senate;
  • The passage of Proposition 56, which will slow the damages of tobacco that rob of us 40,000 loved ones every year;
  • Proposition 57, will begin to reverse decades of spending more on prisons than on our colleges by giving judges the ability to decide if juveniles should be tried as adults and sent to adult prison or tried as juveniles;
  • Proposition 58, which eliminates decades-old restrictions that hold back English language learners and gives more children the opportunity to learn two languages.

We must keep hope alive during these trying times. I’m confident that SEIU Local 99 members, many of us parents, are determined to stand united—maybe now more than ever—to create a better future for our children.

  • Our country needs healing and mutual respect. But respect means that we denounce racism and sexism. Let us all speak out against intolerance. It is unacceptable that anyone be treated different based on the color of their skin, the borders they were born within, the way they pray, their gender or who they love.
  • We need hope. But that hope is going to have to come from our own determination and purpose. All our struggles must be faced in unity and we must continue to fight for a United States that is inclusive and just. But to achieve this we must step out of our “comfort zone” and be ready to organize and take action. Local 99 members, now more than ever we must be bold and loud in our demand for change.
  • We need to get along. But until every woman, man and child—of every faith and color—is treated with respect, we cannot “politely” keep silent. Let’s resolve to denounce injustice when we see it. Silence is the enemy of the change we seek.

Human rights were never just given to those who face oppression. Every single right was achieved through a bitter struggle. The abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote, civil rights, labor rights, immigrant rights, LGBTQ rights, and the list goes on. Our ancestors and we ourselves have faced the seemingly impossible before and we have succeeded in bringing about positive change. These times are like none we have ever seen in the United States, and we will face many challenges. But I am confident that our spirit of compassion and justice will continue to lead us to demand a better future for us and our families. As Hillary Clinton said in her speech yesterday morning…

“So now, our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.”

Let’s start a conversation today.

I want to hear from you. I want to hear your feelings and your fears, your hopes and your resolve. I want to know your ideas. How can we, during these next four years, help to heal the division in our country? How can we come together and build a future for our children that is based on:

  • Economic justice, where everyone who plays by the rules and works hard can afford to support themselves and their family;
  • Environmental justice, so that all of our communities will thrive with safe and sufficient water, clean air, and healthy neighborhoods
  • Equality for all, regardless of color, gender, faith or sexual orientation.

Let me know what you think here.

In unity,

Max Arias
Executive Director
SEIU Local 99

Comments are closed.