Press conference and rally
September 13, 2016. City Hall, San Francisco, CA.-
Refugio and Elvira Nieto held a press conference outside City Hall to demand from the Board of Supervisors a permanent memorial on Bernal Heights for Alex Nieto. In response, Supervisors Avalos and Campos expressed their commitments to support a resolution to the Board of Supervisors for a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto (see Live Videos on Justice 4 Alex Nieto Facebook group.) Danzantes opened the press conference with a prayer and friendship dance.
Specific statements of support were made by Ben Bac Sierra, María Villalta and Oscar Salinas members of the Justice & Love for Alex Nieto Coalition, Father Richard Smith of Justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, Maria Cristina Gutierrez for Black and Brown Unity as part Compañeros del Barrio and Justice for Mario Woods Coalition, Archbishop King of the St. John Coltrane Church, United Playaz, Mayra Hernandez Co-Chair of La Raza in Hastings Law School, Luis Poot Pat of Justice for Luis Góngora Pat, Tony Serrano Garcia of Justice for Yanira Serrano Garcia, Isawari España, Roberto Hernandez from Our Mission No Eviction, and Rae from Cultural Action Network. Other groups in attendance and support included San Franciscans for Police Accountability, Prensa Pobre, and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, alongside individual supporters who showed up for the Nieto Family.
Family addresses Board of Supervisors
After the press conference, supporters waited inside City Hall to provide public comment at the regular Board of Supervisors meeting. Public comment did not open until around 8 o’clock. Despite the long wait, many supporters remained to accompany the Nietos to demand a permanent Alex Nieto memorial.
Refugio Nieto addressed the BOS to explain how he goes everyday to pray an Our Father for Alex Nieto at the site of his killing, but is sometimes incapable of even saying a prayer because he might find the altar vandalized and in need of repair. He spoke of the cruelty of having to face such acts of hate, but also spoke of the many acts of care and love of others who made offerings to the altar. Elvira Nieto spoke to the Supervisors of her son, who was a good son, a good worker and student, who hoped to have children of his own one day, and asked for a permanent space to grieve and set up offerings. Both parents spoke of the loss and the fact that the City had so far failed to give any adequate response for the killing of their son, Alex.
About a dozen supporters supported the Nietos by asking the Supervisors to recognize that harm had been done to the Nieto Family and the Latino community; that altars carried cultural significance to the Latino community; that the request for a permanent and protected altar and memorial was a most basic act of restoration; that Alex’s death was tied to gentrification policies of the City that allow newcomers to arrive in droves to the Mission without understanding the cultural differences and their privileges in the communities of color they come to displace and inhabit; that there has been no change in policing policies enacted; and that the memorial could stand to symbolize a break with the past and new era in which police end their brutal use of force against black and brown people of the City.
Supervisors Avalos and Campos commit to support an ordinance
In chambers, Supervisor John Avalos committed to drafting an ORDINANCE ordering a permanent memorial for Alex Nieto. Supervisor David Campos committed to be in support. While a resolution would only be a recommendation from the Board of Supervisors, an ORDINANCE would be a law ordering the memorial to be established. This was an important day for the Nietos and the justice & love for Alex Nieto movement.
Supervisor Avalos promised to draft and submit an ordinance to the Board of Supervisors within the next two weeks. In other words, by Tuesday September 27th.
How supporters can help:
Once Supervisor Avalos fulfills his promise and submits the ordinance to the BOS, we request that supporter:
- Show up again for public comment at the Board of Supervisors to express themselves in favor of the ordinance.
- Organize with their coalitions to have a lobbying day at City Hall in support of the permanent Alex Nieto Memorial and Altar.
- Call their district supervisor and demand their support for the ordinance. Below is the list of supervisors and their office numbers and emails.
(415) 554-6975 – Voice
(415) 554-6979 – Fax
(415) 554-5144 – voice
(415) 554-6255 – fax
(415) 554-7670 – Voice
(415) 554-7674 – Fax
(415) 554-7630 – Voice
(415) 554-7634 – Fax
(415) 554-7450 – Voice
(415) 554-7970 – Voice
(415) 554-7974 – Fax
(415) 554-7410 – Voice
(415) 554-7415 – Fax
(415) 554-7752 – Voice
(415) 554-7843 – Fax
(415) 554-6968 – Voice
(415) 554-6909 – Fax
(415) 554-6516 – Voice
(415) 554-6546 – Fax