Open Letter Regarding Officer Involved Murder of George Floyd & the Injustice That Exists in San Francisco
“Alto al Fuego en la Misión” © 2019 detail of mural by: Carla Elana Wojczuk, Lucía González Ippolito, Cristian Muńoz, Anna Lisa Escobedo, Adrianna Adams, Flavia Elisa Mora, Pancho Pescador, Sonia G Molina in Collaboration with Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY), and the Justice for Amilcar Coalition.
From: The Coalition of Righteous Roots
To: Mayor London Breed, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and District Attorney Chesa Boudin
Date: Wednesday, June 3, 2020
The officers-involved murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked a new era in America: The Revolt of the Roots.
San Francisco, its politicians, and its machine, can embrace and support grassroots’ righteousness or be left behind in bewilderment.
If San Francisco truly represents the spirit of its namesake, Saint Francis, if it actually wants to solve struggles in our most oppressed communities, it must divest resources from the police department and invest wholeheartedly in frontline community empowerment organizations. It must prosecute police officers who have unlawfully killed our brothers and sisters on the streets, develop and implement authentic education for our youth, and act with urgency to install the Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial on top of Bernal Heights Park.
We, the roots, may be lots of things, but we are not stupid, and we cannot afford to live or die based on lies. On Thursday, May 28, the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association made a public statement about police protocol that is disingenuous and full of lies.
The truth is that San Francisco is just as bad, if not worse, than Minneapolis. San Francisco has never criminally prosecuted any officers for killing Brown and Black brothers and sisters. Note some of the most recent egregious officer-involved killings: Kenneth Harding, Jr. (shot in his head in broad daylight for evading a two dollar bus fare), Alex Nieto (shot at 59 times, sparked the biggest movement ever in the United States to defend a Latino victim of a police killing), Amilcar Perez-Lopez (shot six times in the back), Mario Woods (shot at forty times while walking away, while shooting was filmed), Luis Gongora-Pat (shot and killed while lying down), Jessica Nelson-Williams (killed while pregnant), Keita O’Neil (killed by police drive-by shooting).
There is no way to beautify this truth. It is horrible, evil, and unjust. But the Roots are rising. Before the grassroots people rose, the police force and Police Officers Association acted as bullies. Politicians were scared, denied any problem even existed, and did not speak out publicly against the police.
In 2016, the grassroots people ultimately fired former police Chief Greg Suhr. The politicians acknowledged our power and began shifting sides.
San Francisco, you do not have to be scared anymore. You can support the people, and in that way, there may be some reconciliation. At the very least, there will be truth. This statement is beyond politics. We need courage, not cowardice, during these unprecedented times.
Divest annual funding and resources from the police department and invest wholeheartedly in community-led health and safety strategies and frontline community empowerment organizations. Prosecute police officers who have unlawfully killed our brothers and sisters on the streets. Expand funds that develop and implement authentic education for our youth. Act with urgency to install the Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial on top of Bernal Heights Park.
Rise in Power, George Floyd.
Sincerely and Con Safos,
The Coalition of Righteous Roots:
- American Federation of Teachers local 2121 (City College of SF Faculty Union)
- Amor for Alex Nieto
- ANSWER Coalition
- The California Faculty Association at SF State University (CFA-SFSU)
- CALLE 24 Cultural District
- Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
- Northern California Chinese Progressive Association
- Coleman Advocates of Children & Youth
- Community Housing Partnership
- Faith In Action Bay Area
- Galería De La Raza
- Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY)
- Housing Rights Committee of San Francisc
- Justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez
- Justice for Luis Gongora Pat
- La Raza Community Resource Center
- Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
- Mission Nightwalks
- Mujeres Unidas y Activas
- Nurse-Midwives of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital
- Our Mission, No Eviction
- Pochino Press Publishing House
- People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Justice (PODER)
- Rafiki Coalition
- San Francisco Lowrider Council
- Service Employees International Union – United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW)
- South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN)
- Sunset Youth Services
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law La Raza Students Association
- The Young Women’s Freedom Center
- Roberto Alfaro, Executive Director, HOMEY
- Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D., Professor and Author, City College of San Francisco
- Kung Feng, Jobs with Justice San Francisco
- The Rev’d Jeremy Clark-King, Priest in Charge, St John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, San Francisco
- Maria D. Dominguez, Esq., Vice Chair, Alameda County Commission on the Status of Women
- Socorro Gamboa, Corafuerte Community Consejos Consultants
- Lucia Gonzalez Ippolito, Artist and Activist
- Roberto Hernandez, Artistic Director & Executive Producer, SF Carnaval
- Jon Jacobo, Vice President, Calle 24
- Adante Pointer, Esq., Civil Rights Attorney
- Father Richard Smith, Retired Vicar, St. John The Evangelist Episcopal Church
- Carla Elana Wojczuk, M.Ed.
- Rev. Joanna Lawrence Shenk, Associate Pastor, First Mennonite Church of San Francisco
- The Rev. Monique L. Ortiz, St. Mary and St. Martha Lutheran – a Sanctuary Church