Our entire SEIU 521 family is shocked by yesterday’s senseless shooting at the Garlic Festival. Our hearts go out to the Gilroy community and the families affected. Sadly, one of our own SEIU 521 sisters was injured, and her six-year-old son was killed during the attack. Her mother who is a retired SEIU 521 member was also injured. A GoFundMe page has been set up by family members, co-workers, and friends: http://gf.me/u/ufkr6d
We want to thank the first responders who took immediate action after the shooting. We also want to recognize the contributions of our members who work at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and St. Louise Regional Hospital. These public health heroes helped limit further loss of life and will be dealing with the trauma experienced by families in our community for years to come.
“My condolences to all the families that suffered through this senseless tragedy. I am proud of our county hospital workers who helped heal the victims. I condemn the fear, hate, and divisions spread by some of our leaders that threaten the safety of our community and working people. No matter where we were born or the color of our skin, we need to continue building a society rooted in more justice, respect and inclusion. SEIU 521 members will stand together and support our community.”
– Riko Mendez, SEIU 521 Chief Elected Officer
“My condolences go out to the victims, and their families. I would like to extend my deepest sympathies for our sister Barbara Aguirre, her mother, and family members as they grieve the devastating loss of Stephen Romero. I pray his beautiful soul is now resting in the arms of the Lord. My heart is heavy and saddened for all of the community of Gilroy and everyone affected by this horrific hateful tragedy. I ask God to continue to embrace you in comfort during this difficult time. God Bless.”
– Alysia Bonner, SEIU 521 Elected President & Fresno County Worker
“I’m heartbroken about the tragedy that occurred in Gilroy. Any time a life is lost, it’s a tragedy. The senseless gun violence and hate took away precious lives. My deepest sympathy goes out to our union sister and county worker Barbara Aguirre and her family. I thank all the first responders and our county hospital workers who helped the victims. We will not let hate win over love.”
– Mullissa Willette, SEIU 521 First Vice President and Santa Clara County Worker
Here are some resources to help the community and family members cope with this tragedy.
- Morgan Hill Unified School District: Counselors are on-site at Live Oak High School.
- Gilroy Unified School District: Counselors are on-site at Christopher High School for students, staff, and community to begin the healing process. For more information: https://www.gilroyunified.org/parentstudent-resources/emergency-preparedness/talking-to-children-about-violence
- Supportive Grieving Circle at the San Ysidro Park in Gilroy
- DreamPower Horsemanship (7480 Crews Road, Gilroy) – Free support groups in English and Spanish will be led by licensed and pre-licensed psychotherapists on-site every day this week. For more information, click here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
- Community Solutions has set up a 24-hour crisis line to support community members: (408) 683-4118. Community Solutions is also coordinating and responding out at the schools and with the County’s Behavioral Health Department. SEIU 521 represents workers at Community Solutions and at the County’s Behavioral Health Department.
- The Santa Clara County DA’s Office’s Victim Services Unit, the American Red Cross and the County’s Behavioral Health Services will open a Family Assistance Center from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. tonight, and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, at Rucker Elementary School in Gilroy to assist those people affected by the shootings at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Information about the Family Assistance Center in Gilroy: http://bit.ly/32ZO3jC. The Victim Services Unit of San Jose office is available for walk-ins, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 70 W. Hedding St., West Wing, San Jose. Contact the Family Assistance Center at 408-209-8356 for additional information. SEIU 521 represents workers at the County and at the American Red Cross of Silicon Valley.
- 2-1-1 Information and Referral Services: Dial 2-1-1 for access to health and human services such as mental health counseling. It is a free non-emergency, confidential service that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Mandarin, and 140 other languages.
- People can call the Behavioral Health Services Call Center and be directed for services. Call Center number is 1-800-704-0900. For the Mobile Crisis team, select option 2.
- County Suicide and Crisis Hotline – Call 1-855-278-4204 or text RENEW to 741741 to speak confidentially with a crisis counselor.
- Bill Wilson Center has three dedicated Crisis Hotlines: Suicide and Crisis Hotline – 408-850-6125; Youth Crisis Hotline – 408-278-2585; and Grief Counseling Support – 408-278-2512