First Nations, Black, Brown and poor people across the state resist the gentrification-to-jail pipeline
by Lisa Garcia, aka Tiny
“Is Cali 4 Rich People Only? Don’t be fooled / They want you in jail, the ground or dead, homey / Before the colonizers came, we loved our Mama Earth / But then they came to steal everything / using Jesus’ name and calling themselves holy / Now they come wit eviction papers, handcuffs and laws / cuz they want Cali for rich people only.” – Po Poets Project/Poetas Pobres
“After being evicted out of her home and community of over 40 years, my mama not only lost her job, she lost hope and became sick,” said Stevie A, the son of a very low-income domestic laborer whose entire five generations of family were displaced from San Francisco. He noted that his family, which included young children and elders, not only lost their life-long home, but the adult members of the working class family lost their jobs and the children lost their community and schools, which ultimately resulted in the young men of the family being racially profiled and incarcerated.
“My children were traumatized by our eviction. Our family never recovered,” said Sabrina, a mother of three who spoke about losing her family to the eviction and criminalization of her family due to eviction from their now-privatized and gentrified no-longer-public housing in San Francisco.
“My son Josiah cries for his father every day,” said his mother, Laurie Valdez, whose husband, Antonio Lopez, was shot in February of 2014 for doing nothing by San Jose police in an act of police terror just like Mike Brown of Ferguson, Ezell Ford and “Africa” of LA, and Alex Nieto of San Francisco and so many Black, Brown and po’ people across this stolen indigenous territory from Salinas to Oakland to San Francisco.
Police-terrorized displacement victims Stevie, Sabrina, Laurie and Josiah are just a few of thousands of families, elders and babies across the state who are under attack by the concerted forces of gentrification and removal by the white-supremacist nation that would like to remove us all. From police terror to the acts of elder and child abuse caused by eviction to the endless building of prisons and militarizing of these colonizer created borders leaves us all asking who is this shiny state being built for?
From the original settler colonizers bringing their false borders, slave-catchers (police), paper and mind-stealing poison (alcohol) to steal, rape and pillage Mother Earth and her earth people to current day 21st century GentryTechNation, the corporations, speculators and their state agents displacing, incarcerating and/or killing every poor and working person they get, the time has come to name the obvious: California’s Indigenous, Black, Brown, poor and working class peoples are undergoing the final and most deadly colonial removal project so California can become a state for rich people only.
Like previous apartheid colonization removal projects throughout herstory from the Congo to South Africa to West Papua to the first theft by colonizers of Turtle Island, they always involve covert and overt genocide, extra-judicial killings of the indigenous peoples of the land, the workers and the children. All of these acts of genocide and removal are rooted in the theft of resources from ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples and the ongoing destruction of Mama Earth and Mama Ocean.
From LA to Oakland, from Salinas to San Francisco, First Nations, Black, Brown, disabled and po’ peoples are resisting this removal project. We are taking back our civil and human rights, our ancestral lands and saying, “No, we will not be moved!”
Join IdleNoMore LA, California Network of Revolutionary Change, POOR Magazine, The Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Idriss Stelly Foundation, Our Mission No Eviction, OCNC (Oceania Coalition of Northern California), Justice for Josiah, Justice For Mario Romero and many more on May 1 across California as we put forth clear demands which include moratoriums on evictions, district attorneys across the state to charge Ellis Act-using real estate snakes with elder and child abuse, an immediate moratorium on more rich people housing development by speculators, instituting the Homeless Bill of Rights, support for people’s investigations into police murders and denouncing the amerikkklan lie of security (police) and much more.
In Oakland on Thursday, May 7, 12 noon, we will be at 1225 Fallon, eviction and foreclosure kkkourt. At the same time, same date, we’ll be at Los Angeles City Hall and Salinas City Hall.
In San Francisco on Friday, May 8, 10 a.m., we will be returning to the District Attorney’s Office to demand they convict real estate snakes of elder and child abuse for the violent impact of these evictions on our children and elders. Then we’ll move into the SF City Hall to support the “Mission Takes City Hall” action.
In San Jose and Vallejo, also on May 8, we will be at their local City Halls. In Vallejo and San Jose that day we will be at their police departments. If you are from another city and want to sign on to do a press conference and/or action, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510-435-7500 .
Tiny – or Lisa Garcia – is co-founder with her Mama Dee and co-editor with Tony Robles of POOR Magazine and its many projects and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America,” published by City Lights. She can be reached at email@example.com. Visit POOR at www.poormagazine.org.