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I went to San Francisco’s 2017 Dr. King Day celebration riding the same wave that hounded every other participant. As I suspected, a tragic election caused crowd levels to swell significantly compared to a year ago. I’d say at least three times the number of 2016 attendees walked in this year’s march. One ugly cloud loomed: the transfer of federal powers – which finally did arrive four days later – had crept oh so dreadfully near.
We DEMAND that San Francisco District Attorney Gascón perform the duties of his office and charge the San Francisco police officers in the shooting death of Mario Woods, Jessica Nelson-Williams and other victims of deadly police violence. We DEMAND that San Francisco District Attorney Gascón bring forth murder charges against the San Francisco police officers who were involved in the shooting death of Black and Brown citizens of San Francisco. We DEMAND a response from the DA – to whom we have recently reiterated our position in a formal letter – by Nov. 15, 2016.
The news was expected to be bad. San Franciscans for Police Accountability (SFPA), a civilian watch group, held a public forum in the Koret Auditorium of San Francisco’s Public Library. It was Saturday, Sept. 24, and featured D.A. George Gascón’s specially appointed Blue Ribbon Panel – the forum appropriately titled, “Making SFPD Accountable: A Community Conversation.” And what a conversation this was – one I could not miss!
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.”
Hundreds of middle and high school students from Black and Brown low income communities in San Francisco marched together last week in solidarity to protest the execution of Mario Woods. At only 26 years, Mario Woods, a young man with special needs, was gunned down in his own neighborhood by the SFPD. “We are sick and tired of the police killing our homies!” yelled the students as they marched from the corner of 16th and Mission Street to the steps of City Hall.
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. 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.
The Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation will be celebrating and honoring the lives of Kenneth Harding Jr., O’Shaine Evans and Alex Nieto, all killed by San Francisco police. It is written that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. So for the fourth anniversary of Kenny’s homegoing, please mark your calendars for Friday, July 17. We will be in Kenny’s Plaza, Third Street and Oakdale, distributing food and essential gift bags starting at noon. Please feel free to join us on this joyful day. To the community, thank you for keeping us truly community supported.
In one month’s time, the eyes of the Pacific will turn to Melanesia as our leaders gather in Honiara (national capital of the Solomon Islands, located on the island of Guadalcanal) to decide on West Papua’s membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group. For more than 50 years, my people have suffered a creeping genocide under a repressive Indonesian military occupation that is estimated to have claimed 500,000 West Papuan lives. Next month’s meeting is a critical opportunity to give my people a voice and to allow us to take our rightful place in the Melanesian family.
Over 200 people gathered in the early morning hours today and shut down Valencia Street in front of the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission District station. Sixteen activists locked themselves down for four hours and 15 minutes, blocking the gate to the parking lot and chaining themselves to large-scale art work in front of the station.
Activists locked down entrances to the Emeryville Home Depot to demand answers about the murder of Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old Black mother of two children who was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on Feb. 3, 2015, allegedly accused by the store of shoplifting. Activists chained themselves to multiple store doors as supporters rallied outside. Protesters shut down the store for five hours, the amount of time Yuvette Henderson lay in the street after being shot by police.
Nearly 800 community members, public officials, faith and thought leaders packed the pews of Third Baptist Church on Sunday to hear remarks from Mike Brown Sr., father of the 18-year-old shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. The event comes amid a storm of local protests decrying police brutality that have gained national attention. A somber Brown had little to say, but expressed gratitude to attendees for their support.
The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for an immediate end to police violence, the taking of Black lives and the terrorizing of Black communities. We are inspired by the determination and courage of the people of Ferguson, Black people across the United States, and solidarity protests. In the face of such incredible injustice, we openly support this people’s rebellion.