Years ago I knew my Union sister Phillis. She agreed to apply for membership on the Committee of Credentials, the subcommittee of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The COC reviews cases of credential holders in danger of losing their livelihood/credentials. This has to be about 18 or 19 years ago.
Phillis's interview was memorable. She spoke with clarity and honesty. At one point she said, when someone asked her how she felt comfortable making decisions, she said, "I know it's not fashionable to say this, but I am a mother, and sometimes mothers have to say, 'this is how it's going to be.'" She was chosen to serve on the committee, and completed one term of that demanding assignment.
That evening, a group of us went to dinner to celebrate Phillis's appointment. So many moments during my service in Sacramento involved dispiriting losses and disappointments, so the evening stands out as celebrating a triumphant success. Phillis ordered three scoops of sorbet for dessert, and the restaurant, perceiving our mood of celebration, served the scoops to her on a giant dinner plate, with "Congratulations!!" written on the edge in chocolate.
If memory serves, Phillis is the only person from the AFT ever to serve on the COC. I'm sure she did it with the thoroughness and commitment she brought to everything else. I just wish I had had the opportunity to know her better, but what I did know of her makes me mourn her passing, yet celebrate her long, productive and powerful life.