When the San Francisco Police Department shot and killed Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill in March 2014, they didn't just do away with some anonymous, no-count, young Brown male -- they killed a City College student pursuing his dreams, raised in the neighborhood, embedded in a family and an extended Mission community that loved him.
Yesterday friends, community and family came together on the windy steps of the old Federal Building to celebrate a judge's decision to allow to allow a civil suit against the killers to go forward. Trial date is now set for March 1, 2016. The two dignified persons on the right are Alex's parents.
Members of Danzantes Xitlali invoked the earth's directions.
Mission activist and poet Tony Robles read a poem for homeys.
And Benjamin Bac Sierra reported the sworn testimony of a witness, an individual unknown to any of Alex's friends, who had seen the killing and whose story convinced a judge to send the case to trial.
Under sworn testimony and critical examination, a neutral third party witness of the killing swears Alex Nieto never pointed or activated a taser at Officers. The witness observed Alex walking casually and coolly as though he had no idea that the police were after him (and we now know that Alex had no idea that anyone had called the police on him BECAUSE ALEX NIETO HAD DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG).
It is undisputed that the Officers did not give any warnings before they opened fire on Alex Nieto with 48 shots that ultimately killed him.
This San Francisco purveyor of graffiti has it right. When times are bleak -- when country and planet sink under the barely restrained sway of greed, raw power, and fear -- it's time to restate what matters.
I write here to preserve and kindle hope for a national and global turn toward multi-racial, economically egalitarian, gender non-constricting, woman affirming, and peace choosing democracy that preserves the habitability of earth for all. There's a big order -- but what else is there to do but struggle for this? Not much.
Topics range from the minuscule to the transcendent to the global, from dire to delightful. I am not an optimist, but I refuse to allow myself to wallow within the easy bias that everything is going to always be awful. Good also happens; love lives too.
I've been yammering here about activism, politics, history, racism and other occasional horrors and pleasures since 2005. I intend to continue as long as the opportunity exists. In this time, that means activism and chronicling resistance. Perhaps it always has, one way and another.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. Will work for justice.