Letter from Zeph Capo: Support the Uvalde Community

Yesterday was a dark day in Texas as we faced yet another school shooting—this one taking the lives of at least 19 children and two teachers. Those teachers reportedly put their bodies in front of the rain of bullets trying to save their students. The path ahead will be a difficult one for the Uvalde community.

Texas AFT will be supporting the entire community in Uvalde and the families of those killed and injured. Please consider a donation to our Disaster Relief Fund to support that effort. In times like these, a show of support from union members and all school employees will help the healing begin.

All shootings are devastating. But as I’ve talked to friends and colleagues, I know that I’m not alone in hurting worse than ever, imagining the grief and loss at an even deeper level, and trying to find some productive way to manage the rage burning in me.

As I contemplated the first step—a statement to the media—the frustration was overwhelming. Each word brought back memories of doing the same damn thing so many times before. Santa Fe High School. The Walmart in El Paso. Reaching out to others across the country who also faced these senseless attacks. I knew that I had to tell the truth: our state’s leadership is at fault for these continued assaults on our communities.

We don’t need more guns in schools. We don’t need another round table to explore options; we’ve done that. We need legislation that addresses common-sense issues and ensures our children and their teachers can learn and work without constant fear for their lives.

It’s certain we’ll be communicating with you on specifics for what our Legislature and Congress need to do now. (Much of which is outlined in the links below.) Meanwhile, our state’s top elected official—Gov. Greg Abbott—is scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association conference in Houston this weekend. The NRA’s stranglehold on many legislators forces them to block several restrictions on gun purchases that the vast majority of Americans support, so it’s quite frankly disgusting that our governor is going to show his support for their warped agenda.

As I noted in my statement, the only thing that could break our hearts further is to allow these 21 beautiful souls to become yet another set of numbers in someone’s stats folder. Nineteen children will never graduate. Two teachers won’t go home again. Countless others are wounded for the rest of their lives. Now is the time for change.

In Solidarity,

Zeph Capo
Texas AFT President