The Concerned Network of Women partnered with the United Council of Human Services, governed by Gwendolyn Westbrook and Dr. Betty McGee, to issue hand warmers and hot chili to homeless people. On New Year’s Eve, we visited the homeless living under the Cesar Chavez Freeway exit. While under the freeway, we witnessed an eviction notice dated Dec. 29, 2016. Evicting the homeless serves little purpose, other than further implying that homeless people have no human and/or civil rights. Here is one solution: Bring services to the encampment, not locks and chains.
It is of necessity and of urgency that we recognize that in order to understand our present situation and strive for change, we must come to terms with our past. We must tie America’s history of genocide and racism to our current history, to our so-called system of democracy, which is fundamentally hypocrisy, and to the lives of our lost youths of color at the hands of this system.
My cellmate is an inspiration to all ethnic groups who has endured the injustices by the hands of what we call the “government.” His name is Leonard Peltier, in prison since 1975 for a crime he didn’t commit. How can someone hate when all that’s asked for is “peace and equality”? My vision is this: to write with all people of injustice not for the purpose of war but for peace, so we may start to heal. I ask you to stand with me.
This statement was written for an event on June 26, 2014, marking 39 years of incarceration. Of all the things I want us to remember today and every day, I want us to remember who WE are, I want us to remember where WE came from, I want us to remember our ancestors that we are so proud of, and I want us to live in such a way that our children and our children’s children will look back at us and be proud of who they are because of what we were.