Mission and Actuation

Next in the video you witness the Homeboys and Homegirls come to pick Favi up for their cruising journey. The cruising tradition is an American tradition, but here it has a Brown Homeboy and Homgirl street twist to it. Cruising is a way to escape the static nature of life. Cruising is a movement outside of the self and into community bonding with others. It is a way to live and love. They cross the new Bay Bridge and reach their destination, San Fran Mission’s La Raza Park, headquarters—a meeting place where there is no need for closed-in offices or minute keepers. Organizing is done on the streets. Homeboys and Homegirls have gathered together at Raza for the past forty years. We simply make things happen.

A true story about La Raza Park’s creation:

“Because of the lawsuit [for police harassment] and all of that, we were making the city and the mayor look real bad, so the city came up with the money to build La Raza Park. So we wanted actually to build a Low-Rider park. But the City didn’t go for it, so we negotiated for an amphitheater, and so we did concerts. Yeah, we used to have some badass parties here, and then we would have car shows on the side of the street. So we were real happy about that, that was one of the major outcomes of organizing as Low Riders …” –Roberto Hernandez quoted from an archive in the Newspaper El Tecolote.

Note that in the video Favi sings on top of Bernal Heights Mountain, a holy precious peak. One can see the magnificent view and just dream to be there. Who wouldn’t want to spend some time reflecting and singing on top of that gorgeous hill? Favi sings exactly where Alex Nieto spent the last moments of his life. He went to eat his burrito before having to go to work as a security guard. He was scheduled to work in less than two hours. Alex always ventured up to that beautiful place to clear his mind. SFPD killed him in cold blood on top of that same mountain where Favi, with red flower in her hair, sings to him.

The video then captures the posted colorful lowriders—Impalas, Cutlasses, Deluxes, Cadillacs and one red Monte Carlo which Alex Nieto cruised in many times. The “Bombas” are featured prominently, those 40’s and 50’s Chevys that trace our roots back in this country and show our unique American-ness. We respect our past, perhaps more than others, in that we value what the new gentrifying residents of the Mission have thrown away. We create art from antiquity.

Throughout the video you witness the free barbeque, people eating, DJ music spinning for all the gente. Congas banging, OG’s laughing, posturing, and dancing. You are amazed by the vibrant banners: “Amor for Alex,” “Justice and Love for Alex Nieto,” and “No Monster in the Mission.”

“No Monster in the Mission:” In March of 2015 the Mission community was betrayed by San Franciscan politicians who had promised to vote in favor of a moratorium regarding the development and building of luxury condominiums in the Mission. At present 19 developers want to develop only luxury condominiums. The politicians’ betrayal did not deter the gente. In March, 1000 people claimed City Hall. Unfortunately, after the board voted against the referendum, Mission activists were told they had only twenty days to collect 9,000 signatures for a ballot measure. An army of community members were put together to gather signatures. The Lowrider Council and Amor for Alex united to obtain signatures. In the “Cruisin’ with You” video you see Roberto Hernandez speaking. We used the video filming as an opportunity to galvanize people around this noble cause against gentrification. The following Tuesday after the video was filmed, one hour before the deadline of the ballot measure, San Fran Mission activists registered over 15,000 signatures. We have been assigned the letter “I” ballot measure for San Francisco’s November 3, 2015 voting day. Our chant: Vote yes on “I” love the Mission! “I” love San Francisco!

Other powerful images from the video: An African American Motorcycle Club rode through and joined us in solidarity, cheering us on as we took pictures and smiled together. Our spirit of love spread to each other. Handmade jewelry is also displayed, custom made by our own Mission jeweler, Friscasso, a homeboy of La Mission.

The starkest image, however, is that of a set of parents standing up for their son. With dignity, Refugio and Elvira Nieto, parents of Alex, stand together in front of the lowriders and banners. They are our inspiration for justice and the next generation.

The starkest image, however, is that of a set of parents standing up for their son. With dignity, Refugio and Elvira Nieto, parents of Alex, stand together in front of the lowriders and banners. They are our inspiration for justice and the next generation.

 

Lowrider Lawyers: Putting A City on Trial

In Lowrider Lawyers: Putting a City on Trial, the barrio community rises with creativity and amor for Alex Nieto, scholarship student security guard and beloved son, who was unlawfully killed by 48 bullets fired from the San Francisco Police Department on March 21, 2014 on top of Bernal Heights Mountain.

When the Homies discover that Alex, who had never even been arrested in his entire life, has been unjustly executed, they request that the heavy hitters handle the case. Caravanning with other fine rides, the Lowrider Lawyers lowride in a wine-colored 1966 Chevy Impala Convertible to the colonial courthouse, where indigenous danzantes drum out and stomp over evil spirits, and summon the truth into the justice system. A jury of peers, cholo homeboys and homegirls, listen intently to the evidence presented.

Using legal articulation, the Lowrider Lawyers begin with a clear, concise opening statement. They then move to critically examining the witness who actually saw the killing and contradicts the police narrative, a dog owner whose wolf-like dog attacked Alex, and the person, who without reasonable cause, called the police on Alex. The courthouse is then magically transformed into the barrio, where the last Lowrider Lawyer interrogates the police officer who killed Alex Nieto. Balmy Alley’s gentrification mural becomes the vibrant backdrop, and the Homies painted on the walls serve as the jury. Substantive answers from witnesses and the police are based on the actual San Francisco District Attorney’s Report, deposition testimony, and other true accounts.

Real footage of “Amor for Alex” marches and lowrider shows concludes this powerful, unprecedented type of film. Written and directed by Benjamin Bac Sierra and filmed and edited by Peter Menchini. Starring Homies from San Fran and around the Bay, San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ District Nine Candidate Edwin Lindo, national entertainer and singer Favi Estrella, and Stanford Law School graduate and international development consultant Adriana Camarena. Soundtrack by “Dr. Loco” (Jose Cuellar) and Favi Estrella.

Friends,

We have received extremely positive news regarding the Alex Nieto case!

Today a federal district judge denied San Francisco’s attempt to dismiss the case by way of summary judgment. The city attempted to obfuscate and distort the evidence and facts of this case, and the judge saw through their manipulation and flat out denied their elaborate motion for dismissal.

The judge decided that we deserve a full-blown trial! Trial date: March 2016.

There was no plausible reason for Alex Nieto to have been shot at 59 times by the SFPD. In order to update the community about new details that have emerged and celebrate this victory, we invite you to join us for a press conference to be held this coming Monday, November 9 at 3:00 p.m. in front of the federal building at 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102.

Please join the event page below and invite your friends as well.
Amor and victory for Alex Nieto!

Call for Community amor, prayers, blessings, chants, good juju vibes, good thoughts, light-a-candle, or whatever you do best for Elvira & Refugio Nieto:

Dear friends,

Today Elvira & Refugio will render depositions (i.e. testimony) about themselves, their son, and incidents related to the unlawful killing of their son. Depositions can be brutally exhausting even when the City Attorney is not trying to tear you down and tear into you. They will be accompanied by their attorney Adante Pointer.

Each of Alex’s parents can expect to be questioned anywhere from 2-4 hours or who knows how long. They’ll be there from 9am into the afternoon. Please keep them in your thoughts! They are warriors. They are strong. But we can still accompany them today with our good thoughts. I wish them calm.

While we’re at it please send your best to Adante Pointer and the legal team at the Law Offices of John Burris who are representing the Nietos and are there to shield them from any legal trickery.

UPDATE: Elvira and Refugio were questioned from 9am to 6pm that day with minimal breaks. They told a supporter that since Alex’s death, the deposition process has been the hardest day of their lives. The process which families such as the Nieto’s must undergo to get facts is a process of constant retraumatization. Thank you for your good thoughts!

Justice for Alex Nieto

Hello Community!

It’s the 21st and we will be meeting up on Bernal Heights (North-side). 1 year and 10 months ago Alex Nieto was shot and killed by SFPD. Since then many more have been shot and killed by SFPD and nothing has changed.

In the past few weeks you have seen Black and Brown unity and actions, let’s talk about it… The release of the film Lowrider Laywers: “Putting a City on Trial” has created so much buzz, let’s talk about it…The two year anniversary of Alex Nieto’s murder is fast approaching in March, let’s talk about it…One of the most important federal trials in San Francisco history will begin on March 1, 2016, let’s talk about it!!

There are so many historical actions that have happen, so let’s talk and eat! Bring whatever food you want to munch on. Let’s celebrate the young life of Alex Nieto with his parents Refugio and Elvira Nieto.

In Lowrider Lawyers: Putting a City on Trial, the barrio community rises with creativity and amor for Alex Nieto. When the Homies discover that Alex, who had never even been arrested in his entire life, has been unjustly executed, they request that the heavy hitters handle the case. Caravanning with other fine rides, the Lowrider Lawyers lowride in a wine-colored 1966 Chevy Impala Convertible to the colonial courthouse, where indigenous danzantes drum out and stomp over evil spirits, and summon the truth into the justice system. A jury of peers, cholo homeboys and homegirls, listen intently to the evidence presented.

Using legal articulation, the Lowrider Lawyers begin with a clear, concise opening statement. They then move to critically examining the witness who actually saw the killing and contradicts the police narrative, a dog owner whose wolf-like dog attacked Alex, and the person, who without reasonable cause, called the police on Alex. The courthouse is then magically transformed into the barrio, where the last Lowrider Lawyer interrogates the police officer who killed Alex Nieto. Balmy Alley’s gentrification mural becomes the vibrant backdrop, and the Homies painted on the walls serve as the jury. Substantive answers from witnesses and the police are based on the actual San Francisco District Attorney’s Report, deposition testimony, and other true accounts.

Real footage of “Amor for Alex” marches and lowrider shows concludes this powerful, unprecedented type of film. Written and directed by Benjamin Bac Sierra and filmed and edited by Peter Menchini. Starring Homies from San Fran and around the Bay, San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ District Nine Candidate Edwin Lindo, national entertainer and singer Favi Estrella, and Stanford Law School graduate and international development consultant Adriana Camarena. Soundtrack by “Dr. Loco” (Jose Cuellar) and Favi Estrella.

After the “Lowrider Lawyers: Putting a City on Trial” event on Sunday, January 3, 2016, many people shared with me that it was the best event they have ever experienced in their entire lives. Perhaps the most powerful comment comes from veterana OG activist La Mesha Irrizary: I had not set a foot in a movie theater for the past 14 years, since SFPD killed my son at the Metreon, I am glad I got over my fear and came to the premiere !!

Before the film premiere of “Lowrider Lawyers: Putting a City on Trial,” director Ben Bac Sierra, poet Margarita Bac Sierra, and politically conscious iconic rappers Dregs One and Equipto performed for the packed audience at this unprecedented event at the Brava Theater in San Francisco’s Mission district. After the screening there was a community discussion panel including Roberto Hernandez, Edwin Lindo, Adante Pointer, and Thea Matthews.

Thanks to all who made this experience possible.

SFPD has a rich history of violence enforced in black and brown communities. The Alex Nieto Case along with the Mario Woods case are direct examples of the detrimental effects of systematic racism, gentrification, and police impunity. In order to win justice for these two young men and our communities as a whole, we must unite! The goal of this March is to create solidarity not only with the families of Alex Nieto and Mario Woods but also the surrounding friends, family, and community members.

The march will start in two locations: Bernal heights and Bay View. Both groups will march towards each other until they meet for a culminating ceremony, which will include the breaking of the “Rosca de Reyes” bread between both families to symbolize solidarity. Please come out to help celebrate the lives of these young men, and the many others lost to state violence in San Francisco.