Top Image

You are here: Home / Blog / #CaliforniaStrong

#CaliforniaStrong

created Nov 13, 2018 01:56 PM

by Nancy McTygue, Executive Director

Although I’ve been able to travel across this state, my favorite vacation is one where I get to stay home with my family.   Perhaps that’s why I’m having such a hard time with the news this week.  I don’t personally know anyone who has lost their house, but I have been to Paradise, to Malibu, to Thousand Oaks, and to Calabasas, and it breaks my heart to think of our fellow Californians unable to go home.  As I write this, more than 250,000 Californians have been evacuated because of the Hill, Woolsey, and Camp Fires.  Over 200,000 acres of California land has burned.  42 people have been confirmed dead and 228 are listed as missing.  And the fires aren’t the only horrific news in California this month; twelve people were massacred during College Night at the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks late Wednesday.

Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department

My own family is from Sonoma County.  My cousin lost her house last October in the Tubbs Fire.  I know from her – and from many others – that the road to recovery has not been easy.  And from my conversations with teachers in Sonoma over the last year, I know that the fires were very hard for their students too.  Many children lost their homes last year, and others lost their classrooms. 

With that in mind, I want to share the following message for educators in Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles counties:

Whether you have lost a loved one or your home, or your students have experienced such losses, I believe this will be a very difficult year. 

And precisely because of those difficulties, your role as educators just became that much more important.  You need to be there for your kids – you need to help them to grow and thrive, despite the difficulties.  You need to show them how a community can come together to recover – how that even in their darkest hours, they can help someone else.  And you need to show them just how strong they can be.  After the fires last year, there was a hashtag that became a rallying cry:  #SonomaStrong.  It came to represent the multitude acts of kindness and service of the community.  People who demonstrated resilience, despite their struggles.  People who took in strangers who lost their homes, others who prepared home cooked meals for the firemen and women, others who donated books to teachers who lost their classroom libraries, and the day to day celebrations of regular life that emerged from the ashes as people reclaimed their lives after the fire. 

I was in Redding twice this summer and was so pleased to see that a similar #ShastaStrong effort emerged – we saw countless signs on freeway overpasses and on handmade signs dotting the sidewalks - thanking first responders for their bravery and sacrifice.  And now we’re seeing it again in the wake of these fires:  doctors and nurses setting up makeshift clinics in local churches, people saving animals left behind and even opening up their homes for evacuees and firefighters.

Leaders from the Department of Education often talk about The California Way – an approach to instruction that is inclusive and respectful.  I agree, but think that inclusivity and respect are only part of what makes this state special.  When tragedy strikes in California, our citizens mobilize quickly to help, are generous in their support of those affected, and are willing to serve for the greater good. Kindness, service, and generosity of spirit are also the California Way.

And so as you help your kids, rebuild your communities, and restart your lives after such unspeakable tragedy, know that you are not alone.  Californians have your back, appreciate your leadership, and stand willing and ready to help.  #CaliforniaStrong.

 
Recent Blog Posts
Dec 12, 2018
What can schools do to improve civic engagement?
What can schools do to improve civic engagement?
Read more
Dec 06, 2018
Civic Education: Our Democratic Responsibility
Civic Education:  Our Democratic Responsibility
Read more
Nov 26, 2018
Climate Change: A Federal Report
Climate Change: A Federal Report
Read more
Nov 13, 2018
#CaliforniaStrong
#CaliforniaStrong
Read more
Oct 31, 2018
A Sadly Repetitive Blog Post
A Sadly Repetitive Blog Post
Read more
Tag cloud