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On July 28, 2016, the San Francisco Human Rights Commission will be presenting the Frisco 5 with a Hero Award. While we appreciate the consideration, some of us cannot accept this award. It is insulting to us that the very administration who executes the will of developers and big business instead of the will of the voters would think that awarding us for fighting their failed policies would be acceptable. How can we accept such an award when our city is in a state of crisis?
Inspired by the stamina of the “Frisco 5” hunger strikers, hundreds of chanting supporters occupied the rotunda and grand staircase inside City Hall for seven hours on May 6. Their demand: “We won’t leave City Hall until the mayor fires Greg Suhr,” the top cop complicit in a string of police murders of Black and Brown people in the city. The movement to fire Chief Suhr, stubbornly resisted by the city’s political establishment, is nevertheless gaining momentum.
Five hunger strikers dubbed the Frisco 5 – angered by new police murders of Black and Brown people – have been occupying half the sidewalk in front of Mission Police Station since April 21. It’s Day 13 of their liquid-only fast and they’re losing weight, but they vow to keep it up until SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns or is fired. The Frisco 5 hunger strikers are Maria Cristina Gutierrez, 66, Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, 42, Selassie Blackwell, 39, Ike Pinkston, 42, and Edwin Lindo, 29.
The latest front in the fight to fire SFPD Chief Suhr is a hunger strike outside the Mission Police Station led by rapper Equipto and his mother, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, whose idea it was back in 2014 when Alex Nieto was executed by SFPD. She says, “Enough is enough. I cannot live in this city anymore. I will not eat until the chief of police is gone.” Rapper Selassie is another of the Frisco 5, the moniker the press has given the hunger strikers, who have starved themselves for over a week.
On Friday night, Jan. 15, many young people gathered outside of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church for the start of the “Reclaim MLK” weekend, a 96-hour action dedicated to non-violent protest against police terrorism and gentrification. During rush hour, “Reclaim MLK” protesters shut down the major intersection of Geary at Webster in the Fillmore, once San Francisco’s Black heartland.