Statement of Claude Cummings, Jr. on the Death of Santa Fe High School Student, Riley Garcia

It has been almost a week since we faced the awful truth that eight young teenagers and two of their teachers had been gunned down in classrooms at Santa Fe High School in my home state of Texas.

Time hasn’t lessened the pain – especially within our Communications Workers family. One of the young men lost at Santa Fe was Christian “Riley” Garcia, the son of our CWA brother, Darryl Claussen, Jr. Riley died a hero. He was shot and killed while holding and blocking the door to save two of his classmates.

Riley’s heroism reflects his strength, his character and his courage, but it doesn’t make his death or the loss of any of the other students and teachers less painful. We should have had the chance to see Riley grow up and demonstrate his strength, character and courage many times over.

We’ve heard from plenty of politicians, and there have been so many calls for thoughts and prayers. But, so far, we haven’t seen an ounce of the type of strength and courage shown by Riley coming from any of the politicians in a position to make real changes. Their lip service isn’t public service. Prayer without action and faith without works is no more than political manipulation.

I pray for Riley’s family and the family of all those lost last Friday and before then. But I will also be working for new leaders who are worthy to serve the families who have lost so much.


CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings, Jr. heads CWA's Human Rights Program.