SOJWJ Board members deliver basket to Mercy Hospital nurses
By Vanessa Houk
One of the first actions our Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice coalition was to stand with the nurses at Mercy Hospital as they struggled for a fair contract. We remember the nurses and the difficult time they had as first responders and we wanted to show our solidarity and support.
We traveled to Roseburg to deliver a basket of fruit and treats for the Mercy Nurses. We met Oregon Nurses Association organizer and emergency nurse Carolyn and delivered our gifts. We were told about the amazing support and love from the community and the nation. We then traveled to Umpqua Community College to share as silent witnesses.
The road that leads to Umpqua Community College was full of signs of support and love. By mid-afternoon, the campus was very quiet. We saw a dozen or so students, some sitting on the ground surrounded by counselors and therapy dogs. There were dozens of people on campus in supportive roles, as well as uniformed police and security.
Close to Snyder Hall (where the shootings occurred) there is the university’s library. Library’s are like churches to us, so we went inside for a moment. A young man entered the foyer from the main building and answered his cell phone. “I’m in the library,” I heard him say. “Yes, everything is okay. I’m fine.”
What I haven’t heard from mainstream reports about students going back on campus today, is that there was such a feeling of sadness there. Part of being #UCCstrong is being willing to feel the loss of so many lives and to acknowledge that students and faculty of Umpqua Community College are not the same people they were eleven days ago.
I walked across their campus today hoping that by our family being there, in some tiny way, we tried to help them take the campus back from that terrible day and take a step toward making UCC a place where they can learn and grow again.
It’s going to take time, but we saw a community that’s holding them close and while their definition of “okay” changed a lot over this past week and a half, they will get there again.