Tag Archives: Black Lives Matter

Mission Murals 1: Murdered by Police

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Laurie says:

I’ve lived in the Mission District of San Francisco for a long time. The Mission is famous for its murals, and I see them every day as I walk around my neighborhood. One mural I see regularly memorializes people of color murdered by the police, half of them in San Francisco. Another honors a young DJ who died. I know there are more murals on this subject in my neighborhood, so I’m walking and looking.
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However, when I do a Google image search for “Mission murals” I get a huge number of results, but none of them show the murals memorializing people of color who were murdered by the police, including this one. If you know whose death you’re looking for, or if you look for murals about murders by police in San Francisco, then some do show up.

This mural honors Alejandro (“Alex”) Nieto, Michael Brown, Amilcar Perez-Lopez and Eric Garner. All four men were murdered by police officers, none of whom were convicted of any crime. Not that this is surprising: almost no police are convicted when they murder black and brown people.

Nieto died on March 21, 2014, in a barrage of bullets fired at him by four San Francisco policemen.

Amilcar Perez Lopez , a 20-year-old immigrant from Guatemala, was shot and killed on February 26, 2015 by two plainclothes San Francisco police officers.

Eric Garner, whose death on July 27, 2014 got more national attention than the two from San Francisco was unarmed and was killed by a police-prohibited chokehold; he was accused of the trivial crime of selling illegal cigarettes in New York City.

Michael Brown, as many of us know, was unarmed when shot and killed by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, after which his body was left on the street for well over four hours. His murder sparked weeks of demonstrations and unrest in Ferguson, and was a major impetus for the beginning of Black Lives Matter.

Mario Woods, who is not in this particular mural, has a story well known to San Francisco residents, He was killed after as many as 15 rounds were fired into him by five San Francisco Police Department officers.

I’ve been going to demonstrations for the murder by police of young people of color for much of my life. The first death I remember is Emmett Till. He was lynched in Mississippi in August 1955 at the age of 14. I was 13.

The murders and the protests are both American traditions. And the killings continue with no accountability and no consequences to the police department. It makes me want to weep with rage.

Feminism: Not Just for Middle-Class White Ladies

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Debbie says:

Lane Windham, writing in The American Prospect, examines the role of working-class feminism in the Trump resistance. Windham gives us a little history:

[W]orking-class feminists have long been potent champions for women’s advancement, and 1970s second-wave feminism had deep cross-class roots. The late-night huddle in Betty Friedan’s hotel room that first sparked the National Organization of Women (NOW) included a number of union activists, among them Caroline Davis and Dorothy Haener of the United Auto Workers and Catherine Conroy of the Communications Workers of America. NOW’s founders were fed up with the new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s refusal to target gender job discrimination while enforcing Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Working women activists formed more than a dozen organizations to improve “pink collar” office work in the 1970s. … Women like … roaring NYC firefighters fought their way into all-male blue-collar enclaves in the 1970s and 1980s, filing lawsuits and demanding respect.

She also delves into what’s happening now:

A big difference between the working-class feminism of the 1970s and that of the 2010s has to do with the economy. When those firefighters and pink-collar secretaries fought for inclusion 40 years ago, they demanded access to an economy marked by broad prosperity. Working people’s share of the pie had been steadily growing for decades, and they saw no reason why that wouldn’t continue. Since that time, working people’s prospects have dimmed and their wages have stagnated; the United States has largely traded manufacturing jobs for low-paid, contingent service jobs.

Windham doesn’t talk, in this article anyway, about what has happened to the “working people’s share of the pie,” and how it has relentlessly been transferred to the very rich and the super-rich. She doesn’t talk about how intersectional progressives need to think about work, and jobs, and income in the 21st century. She does talk about the disconnect between American women and feminism:

While the majority of females voted for Clinton, a full 61 percent of white women without a college degree walked into a voting booth and filled in a bubble beside the name of a man who bragged about grabbing women’s genitals without consent. … it’s clear that many of these women share the sense of dislocation and despair that drove white, blue-collar men’s votes.

In an Obama presidency, even in a George [pick your middle initial] Bush presidency, we had some luxury to divide ourselves, to say “that’s your feminism, this is mine,” or “that’s your anti-racist approach and this is mine.” Those of us with privilege need to be working hard at making our skills and resources available to those with less privilege. All of us need to be focusing on the goals: not just removing Trump and his band of vicious anti-human policymakers (a good start!) but building a country that puts people and the planet first, and is perfectly happy to empty overflowing pockets to fund our priorities. Windham namechecks Fight for $15 and Black Lives Matter, drawing the connections between economic justice, racism, and sexism.

Movements like these, unions with 21st century values, and mobilizations of working class women are all building blocks in the big fight of our time.