Students march to City Hall for Mario Woods

Young people are deeply affected by police lynchings, wondering, “Am I next?” In city after city, they’re the ones taking the lead in the struggle for justice. Three friends from Deecolonize Academy in Deep East Oakland report on how they are protesting the SFPD murder of Mario Woods. They are Kimo Umu, Tiburcio Gray-Garcia Robles and Tyray Taylor.


Mario-Woods-student-march-from-Mission-to-City-Hall-121115-300x200, Students march to City Hall for Mario Woods, Local News & Views
Hundreds of students walked out of class Dec. 11 to protest the SFPD murder of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and other young people. The Dec. 2 firing squad-style execution of Mario has united Black and Brown youth.


by Kimo, Deecolonize Academy Youth Skola

Mario-Woods-student-march-Kimo-Umu-speaks-Tiburcio-Gray-Garcia-121115-by-PNN, Students march to City Hall for Mario Woods, Local News & Views
Kimo speaks at the student rally for Mario Woods, as Tibu waits his turn. – Photo: Poor News Network

This story all started on Dec. 2, 2015. A man named Mario Woods was killed at the age of 26. He was killed in a cold blooded murder. They said that Woods had a weapon in his hand but really he did not.

So that is why Deecolonize Academy went to the march down in the Mission in San Francisco, a place that is ugly and beautiful all in the same. You can smell all the markets selling items and you can see the people in struggle all around.

There were three Deecolonize students who went. They were Kimo, Tyray and Tibu. There were about 80 people at the start of the march, ages 12 to 16. More high school students arrived, and there were about 300 students all together. Chants were said all around like ‘‘No justice, no peace, the racist police!”

The students walked from the 16th and Mission BART to City Hall to let the city know that it is wrong for the Black and Brown people to get killed for reasons unknown most of the time. Deecolonize students were at the march because they were invited and they knew that it was not right that another innocent person was killed by another trigger happy officer or, shall I say, trigger happy officers.

The Deecolonize students were there and Kimo and Tibu went up to say a few words. That was the reason Deecolonize went out there with the students because they knew it was wrong and they knew someday there will be no more police brutality.

Mario Woods vigil

by Tibu, Deecolonize Academy Youth Skola

Like many young men of color in America, Mario Woods was a young African American man who was fatally shot by the police. He was a young man who had many friends and family who loved him. He was murdered on Dec. 2, 2015, because the police thought he had a knife in his hand.

Mario-Woods-vigil-cousin-Jeff-Steward-consoles-mom-Gwendolyn-Woods-120315-by-PNN, Students march to City Hall for Mario Woods, Local News & Views
At the vigil where Mario Woods had been executed by SFPD the day before, Mario’s cousin Jeff Steward comforts Mario’s mother, Gwendolyn Woods, as hundreds gather ‘round to support them. – Photo: Poor News Network

On Dec. 7, my friends and I at Deecolonize Academy went to a vigil. The night was dark and we had to walk a couple of blocks to get there. They were holding the vigil at the place were Mario Woods was killed. It was near a Municipal Transit stop, and grouped around the altar and fanning out all across the street were about a hundred people.

They had an altar for Mario Woods and many people were there, including his friends from the community and his mother. A couple of people were speaking at the vigil. “What happened to this brother yesterday was a direct product of gentrification,” said one supporter. After the vigil, everyone marched down to a town hall.

Mario Woods mother talked about the loss of her son and said that she did not want any other mothers to lose their sons like she did so we need to figure out a solution for these killings. My opinion about all of this is that it’s another young man of color being killed and it needs to stop before anyone else gets killed.

Mario Woods reflection

by Tyray, Deecolonize Academy Youth Skola

Deecolonize-Academy-MLK-March-Kimo-Umu-TyRay-Taylor-Tiburcio-Gray-Garcia-Robles-011915-by-PNN-300x169, Students march to City Hall for Mario Woods, Local News & Views
Deecolonize Academy students Kimo Umu, Tyray Taylor and Tiburcio Gray-Garcia Robles, who wrote these reports, are shown here marching in San Francisco on Martin Luther King Day Jan. 19, 2015. – Photo: PNN

On Dec. 2, 2015, a young, 26-year-old African American named Mario Woods was shot dead by police in the Bayview district. It was a tragic day for the young man’s family and community, but one thing I want to let you readers know is that this has been happening nonstop all over the world.

A couple of days later, approximately 100 people gathered on Gilman Street, where the killing took place, and we made an altar dedicated to Mario Woods. It was really unnecessary for eight to 10 cops to fire 15 to 20 shots at Mario Woods. They could’ve made a different decision so Mario Woods could be with his family.

A week after Mario Woods passed away, there was a walk out in San Francisco by students. Deecolonize Academy was invited, and when we arrived at 16th and Mission in front of the BART station, there were young men and women there who were wearing backpacks and talking. There were approximately 80 people at first, then the other high school students arrived. It was a windy day.

Mario-Woods-student-march-121115-by-PNN, Students march to City Hall for Mario Woods, Local News & Views
Hundreds of students, outraged over the police executions of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and more, walked out of class to take over the streets of San Francisco from the Mission to City Hall on Dec. 11. – Photo: Poor News Network

Then people start talking in front of the crowd. There were posters and organizers talking. A few of my classmates went up and told their opinion about how they feel about what happened.

After we started marching, there were lots of cops waiting for us to start marching so they could see the truth and understand what they have done. We marched all the way to City Hall located in San Francisco. It was terrifying seeing all these cops trying to police us at the end of the protest. It was approximately 400 people when we left.

How I feel about this is that the cops who kill our Black and Brown people get away with it just because they are wearing a badge and the people’s families who lost their children have to suffer and deal with that all our their lives while the cop killers are living their lives.

To reach Deecolonize Academy, a project of POOR Magazine at Homefulness in Deep East Oakland, email

On Dec. 11, hundreds of youth left class to march down Market Street to Union Square and to City Hall to protest the extra-judicial police killings of several San Francisco residents. Mario Woods was killed Dec. 2, 2015. Other recent victims include Alex Nieto and O’Shaine Evans. – Video: The Planetary Archives (BlackHorseMedia)