Students and faculty gathered in front of the the Cesar Chavez Student Center Wednesday afternoon, where the Metro College Success Program and the Metro Association of Social Equity Student Organization held a memorial for SF State Student Michela Gregory, one of the 36 victims of the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire.
All who had words to share about Gregory were welcome to speak in front of the crowd as memorial organizers encouraged everyone to sign a poster and write their feelings.
On the steps of Malcolm X Plaza, there was a picture of Gregory along with flowers and candles.
A former co-worker at of Gregory, performing arts major Jesus Peraza, shared a few words expressing the fond memories he had with her as a friend and as a co-worker at Chipotle before she took a job at Urban Outfitters.
“Just seeing her picture up there is really surreal. It’s really discomforting that her presence is not with us,” Peraza said. “Throughout all of these weeks, the incident that took her life has been a reminder that we always have to tell people how much they mean to us because we never know when they’re going to go. Anything could happen at any given instance and I just wish that I could have told her.”
One of Gregory’s former professors in the ethnic studies department, Dr. Mark Bautista shared an essay Gregory wrote during her freshman year at SF State, commenting how she was a bright student.
“For me it’s sad that it’s the first time I’m finding out that she was a special education student because my son has special needs and I’m always looking for great teachers and I’m pretty sure she would’ve been my son’s teacher one day,” Bautista said. “It’s a big loss for our community but we’ll keep her memory, passion and energy going with the work that we do.”
Gregory’s parents, David and Kim were in attendance, touched by everyone’s kind words and support.
Gregory’s father thanked the crowd, saying he knew his daughter was looking down at everyone during the memorial.
“She had a beautiful soul,” Gregory’s mother said. “She was so passionate about what she was doing in life. She loved school and was really determined on helping children.”