Dear Teachers of Oakland, I am honored to have been asked to speak to you today, or, in the event, to send you a message of solidarity and support.

As many of you know, having read my work over the years (hopefully!) Teachers are some of my favorite people.  I have a deep respect for you.  A deep caring that you are treated fairly.  That you are treated well.

Frankly, I want you to be praised.

To me, teachers are the most important people, next to parents, on Earth.  It is you who are given responsibility to instruct our children, which means, in effect, that it is you who is given the responsibility to shape our society, our country, and our world.

For this responsibility, so unimaginably heavy, you should be given, really, anything you ask for.

It is criminal that you are not.

Especially when we see it is the war effort, more often than not, that is supported lavishly.  An effort that often cuts short the very lives you have lovingly prepared to live with understanding and intelligence in this world.

Know that you have sisters and brothers who stand with you, heart to heart.  We may not be beside you physically, but we are beside you in every other way possible.

Those of us who have benefitted from the devotion and care of great teachers will always stand with, and beside you.

Whatever happens.

Rain, or no rain.

And with all my love,
Alice Walker