Community Meeting Nov. 28th @ 6pm, Bernal Heights Community Center

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The only way to the front lines is forward.

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If you are upset about Trump or the Dakota pipeline, you can and should let your voice be heard. But if you want action, an action that leads to creation, then follow us to the front lines, and it is not in a far off distant land; it is here in our city of San Francisco.

Join us this Monday, November 28 at 6:00 p.m. for the “All Hands Meeting for the Alex Nieto Memorial!” at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Cortland Street, Alex Nieto’s varrio. For all you OG Veteranos and Veteranas, you know that Cortland is one of our oldest varrios, one of the first places in San Francisco’s Mission/Outer Mission that was gentrified starting back in the 90’s. It was such a loco colorful beautiful hood until they tricked residents into gentrification and kicked them out. Now mostly wealthy white folks live there—lawyers and technology executives. In 2011 they literally erased the varrio history by destroying the Cortland library’s 1983 Native American and cholo mural.

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https://todobododown.wordpress.com/…/all-hands-meeting-for…/

This time we must stand together. History cannot and will not be erased. It is up to you, I literally mean YOU, to make this Alex Nieto memorial reality. Not only is it what the Nietos desire and deserve after being swindled by a mostly white jury out of a just verdict in the civil trial, but also it is what we need as medicine for our community.

We proved Alex’s murder. Check the evidence yourself. I would love to hear any reasonable arguments about how Officer Schiff could, after being counseled by his police officer father, on the night he shot at Alex Nieto, go from saying he looked into Alex’s “angry” eyes and saw his forehead “scrunch” up to being proved a liar two years later in open court— Alex had on a baseball hat and sunglasses on, so it would have been impossible for Officer Schiff to have seen Alex’s eyes or forehead. I would love to hear any explanation of how Alex Nieto’s wrist bone was found in his pocket if, as the officers state, he always had his hands out and pointing a taser. Because there is no reasonable explanation, we must conclude Alex Nieto was unlawfully killed, and this is a severe injustice and tragedy for his family and community. Yet we are thankful for whirlwinds, for they have helped shape who we are: Amor for Alex.

We need mass attendance at this meeting because there may be some who want to erase racism: from the caller, who admitted Alex was doing nothing improper but described him as a “foreigner”, to the dog owner who threatened Alex and spewed obscene racial slurs against him, to the police who profiled him and shot at him fifty nine (59) times. There may be some who want to ignore the corruption of San Francisco: from the district attorney that refused to file criminal charges against the officers, to the collusion between San Francisco and Taser International, the company that gained a two million dollar contract with the city, after manipulating the time stamps on Alex Nieto’s taser so that it would match up nicely with the fabricated police narrative.

We sing NO to erasure. We shout NO to corruption. With the joining now of 3,000 others who have signed the petition and at least four San Francisco supervisors, we demand an ordinance (law) for a memorial tribute to Alex Nieto on Bernal Heights. We imagine community members hiking up to that mountain and praying like he did, looking out over the view of San Francisco and being reminded and reminded of his unlawful death AND our community resilience. We want students of all ages to travel up to that hill for field trips and stand at that memorial site and learn about the history and creativity of our community; they will write thousands of critical educational essays. We want families to pilgrimage hands together and love each other at the place where Alex breathed his last breath. Lovers will make an offering and share a kiss, the way we used to do it up on that mountain in the old days. We want this place to be a place of peace, of inspiration and amor.

We need you there. Your family needs you there. Your community needs you there. Your unborn grandchildren need you there: “All Hands Meeting for the Alex Nieto Memorial!” Monday, November 28, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Wear red and black in honor of Alex. Join the Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1156504267790999/?notif_t=plan_user_associated&notif_id=1478981259825422

Amor for Alex Nieto: March 4, 1986 to March 21, 2014
Against the violence and injustice of 59 bullets, family and community rose to defend honor and promote positive spirit.
Benjamin Bac Sierra, M.A., J.D.

Community meeting Nov. 28th @6pm Bernal Heights Community Center

All Hands Meeting for the Amor for Alex Memorial at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Monday, November 28 from 6-8 p.m.! Bring banners and your Amor for Alex T-shirts 🙂 Wear red and black in honor of Alex Nieto. Let’s join each other at one of our oldest varrios on Cortland Street!

We thank you for your constant support and love. My friends, with the full Amor of Alex Nieto, join the Facebook event page and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/1156504267790999/

Because there may be present a minority of misinformed people, we need mass community attendance at this meeting. We must be united at this meeting to stand strong, intellectually aware, and action oriented, as we always have been. Note you will be with great company, as over 2,500 community members have already officially signed the petition to support the memorial. Also, note the following people and organizations that have also backed the memorial:

Amor for Alex Nieto, The University of California, Hastings College of the Law La Raza Law Students, HOMEY, United Playaz, Manilatown Heritage Association, Our Mission No Eviction, Loco Bloco, Supervisors John Avalos, David Campos, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen, the Mayor of La Mission Roberto Hernandez, Justice for Amilcar Perez-Lopez, The Mario Woods Coalition, various labor unions are planning to endorse, and over 2,500 community members.

Amor for Alex Nieto: March 4, 1986 to March 21, 2014

Against the violence and injustice of 59 bullets, family and community rose to defend honor and promote positive spirit.

If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so here: https://www.change.org/p/sign-share-petition-for-permanent-alex-nieto-memorial?recruiter=620382860&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

We Fly Even When We Fall: A Review of ‘On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto’”

 

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The capacity crowd’s energy is electrifying, urging the young actors to push their souls to the limits, to reach deep down and extract their essence, their street essence, their indigenous essence, their Frisco funk. A Latino and multicultural youth movement explodes in front of your eyes. Candy Contreras. Melissa Gomez. Jocelyn Lainez. Talia Matau. Luis Ramirez Martinez. Nicole Nutterfield. Estela “Nataly” Ortiz. Jad Quesada-Khoury. Lochlein Sekona. Stephanie Tomasulo.

The sound of gunshots greets you to the plot of the play: “On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto.”

Alex Nieto, we learn, was a young man racially profiled by the SFPD and unlawfully killed by 14 of their 59 bullets shot at him on top of Bernal Hill on March 21, 2014. The community would not accept this horror story, so the community rose. The artists rose. The youth rose.

The cast are all young people from the inner city. The musicians are a new breed of Santana/Loco Bloco/hip hop/rap fused artists with their own rock and roll soul slick style. Their music is a reminder of roots and a promise of revolution. Angela Rey. Amadeus Oyagata. Anthony Corona. Cy Thompson. Ariel Mestaller-Orallo. Mosiah Concha. Madison Cenac. Liset Gutierrez. Grace Nevarez-Ortiz.

“On the Hill” constantly confronts their pain, the taboo of gentrification in the most progressive and liberal city on planet earth. San Francisco, the city itself, becomes a main character. This is, however, a universal story, for it forces us to question, then, how racist and classist is it in other places, such as Denver, San Antonio, Walnut Creek, places that are not as open as San Fran. And even here we realize the developers believe the earth was meant to be made into cubicles, partitions, workspaces.

 

Wildflowers must be massacred.

 

Then how can the actors dance their pain away? They dance and gift us creativity and courage, performing intricate moves, tribal acrobatics, ballet-style grace. Nietzsche once proclaimed that a day without dancing is a day without life. These youth prove life in front of our eyes. Here is where the audience begins to see art as an authentic transformation tool. The message is deep: we create our own movements; we transform the tragic into triumph. We mold our own media, not made by politicians or professors, or ultra-intellectual outsiders, but made by people who care about community uplifting. The play is the epitome of vida loca, the street creed. Here locura serves as a medicine and philosophy forward, for who else would create a play that so blatantly confronts the perfect system of corruption?

“On the Hill” exposes the entrenched corruption at every level of the San Francisco machine. Based on actual testimony and trial transcripts, the play reports on the district attorney’s failings to prosecute the police officers who killed Alex, the collusion between the district attorney and the city attorney, the police department’s theft of Alex Nieto’s car and search without a warrant, the city attorney’s attempted manipulation of Yahira, Alex’s girlfriend, Alex’s wrist bone in his pocket.

 

59 shots.

Even with all of this overwhelming evidence, the jury decides against Alex Nieto and in favor of their beloved protectors, the police. The white jury. No African Americans or Latinos served as peers. Nevertheless, the community is not smashed by injustice. We know there is no hope through their system. So we create our own. In the play, the actress that played Elvira Nieto, Alex’s mother repeats: “I am not la llorona, the weeping woman.” We dance to death. We create art out of hatred. We realize and acknowledge our own power and do not hope for others to save us. We have proven we are not helpless. The future, even with all its obstacles, is bright.

Where do we go from here? More places, more performances, worldwide international travelers (or troublers, if you say it with my father’s musical accent). We play in front of their face and show them the roots of Frisco and how we still lead the way, even when they kill us. We continue to fight for justice for Mario Woods, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Luis Gongora, and all the others who have fallen, unlawfully killed by SFPD.

We fly even when we fall.

We need more writing about this play and these issues. We need our own education, our own arts, our own agency.

We need leaders like Paul Flores, the director, a working star. Consider it was only a month ago that Paul was recruiting actors off the streets. For them to perform the way they did, he must have reached into their guts and souls. Of course they had these gifts inside them all along, but we must praise Paul for his ability to love and to show them to give their love away to an unknown audience. Leaders love, serve, learn, and teach, but don’t bullshit. They train and inspire the next generation. A professional, Paul respected their style and worked to fine-tune it.

Leaders have gotten a bad rap lately—because we imagine idiots. But I am not referencing the clowns or political leaders but authentic organizers full of heart and soul, leaders with vision and selflessness but also with guts and unafraid to be leaders. Leaders work and prove, and the proof is not in a theory but in a substantive action. To accomplish is to practice constantly and to work ceaselessly. We cannot follow shortcuts.

While some may feel disheartened at the end of the play because there is no clear happy Hollywood ending, we must understand that art is not meant to be pure propaganda. Not every singular story or piece of magic surrounding the Alex Nieto movement could be told in ninety minutes. Perhaps more could have been explored about the effects of the intense trial, how, for example, we influenced other art, murals, songs and music, performances and actions, like a 2015 street play, a mock trial where the Nietos actually ripped up the badges of the killer cops, or the feats of the Frisco Five hunger strikers who, with puro locura and love, put their lives on the line in front of the Mission Police Station for 18 days and nights. Perhaps the play could have shown how joined together with other coalitions, such as the Mario Woods and Amilcar Perez Lopez Coalitions, we fired the chief of police of one of the most powerful cities on planet earth.

But that is for another story, one that can be created by our own people. “On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto” serves as a springboard for more. Using this play as a template and inspiration, we can create our own plays, our own world. That’s the way I see it. That’s the way the Nietos see it, as they loved the play and fully support it.

Thanks to all who have proven their amor and continue to fight the good fight.

https://todobododown.wordpress.com/2016/11/03/we-fly-even-when-we-fall-a-review-of-on-the-hill-i-am-alex-nieto/

“On The Hill: I am Alex Nieto” SOLD OUT ALL SHOWS!

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“On the Hill: I am Alex Nieto” International art full of amor! The greatest show I have ever witnessed in my life. The youth performing the true story of the Amor for Alex Nieto movement. Inspiring, horrible, and transformational. Thank you Paul S. Flores for your amazing leadership and love. Thank you to the Pachanga poets as well 🙂 Blessings to our loving community.

Stay tuned for our next moves: The Alex Nieto Memorial and justice for all, inlcuding Mario Woods and Amilcar!

~Ben Bac Sierra~