Tag: Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat
There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
The rubber sides of the boat were like arms – thick, round, hard. “These are the boats refugees have to travel in. Men sit on the side, the women, children and elders in the middle, sometimes getting splashed and sick with the leaking gasoline from the engine because they are covering miles of ocean to go from one country to another.” The tour guide from Médecins Sans Frontières, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, was narrating the “Forced From Home” traveling exhibit of removal, imperialist wars and NGO and government abuse of indigenous bodies across the Global South.
As the trial over the police murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, an innocent, unhoused Mayan father, husband, brother and son who was killed 18 months ago on the streets of San Francisco, approaches, the witnesses to his murder are mysteriously dying. One witness, John Visor, died in his single room occupancy (SRO) hotel room on Aug. 11. Last week another person related to the case also died mysteriously in his SRO room in the same hotel. “It is critical that the death of John Visor be examined by an independent agency to uncover any foul play that might have occurred,” said lawyer for the people Adante Pointer.
“Even an animal doesn’t deserve to die the way they killed my husband,” said Dona Fedelia del Carmen, widow of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, a Mayan indigenous man killed by San Francisco police April 7, 2016, for doing nothing. For doing nothing, except being Brown and unhoused in a city plagued by the disease of capitalism and its sister illness, gentrification. “I am demanding justice and honor for my husband,” she concluded. The family asks everyone to join the march on Friday, April 7.
Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.
While two heavily armed police officers stood directly across the street watching us, a group of the most impacted, unhoused, criminalized, injured, disabled, Black, Brown, Trans and Indigenous peoples gathered to demand a 90-day moratorium on the killing of our Black, Brown, disabled and unhoused residents of this city and all cities struggling with the ongoing murder of our children, youth, elders and families.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground!” Moving in slowly like they were on a hunt, high-powered weapons pointed down, the descendants of slave-catchers aka police stalk an indigenous man crouching on Shotwell Street holding a soccer ball. They shout disgustedly and dismissively in English from the video screen; my heart stops. I try to keep watching, reminding myself I need to wear my reporter hat instead of my trauma-filled police-terror-from-my-life-of-houselessness blanket. We are watching the extrajudicial murder of Luis Demetrio Góngora Pat by San Francisco police. Why did they kill him? “He was a homeless man.”
SFPD has done it again … murdered another man in cold blood … in his own community … in broad daylight. Again, officers say that they were forced to fire their weapons. Again, cowardly officers kill a man whom they claim was wielding a knife. Again, this person suffered from mental disabilities. And sadly, again, the SFPD and Chief Greg Suhr have failed our communities.