Murdered by Po’Lice for Being Brown and UnHoused in Amerikkklan: The Murder of Mayan, Indigenous Father Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat by SFPD
“What is the amerikkkan dream? families risking their life for the amerikkkkan dream, the same dream all of his hear about but few of us get to see ..” Muteado Silencio, Po’ Poet & Land Liberator with POOR Magazine/Homefulness
The concrete was quiet on Shotwell street. And yet you heard it. A soft ping of a ball against a metal wall. A sidewalk, A curb; The ping sailed through the air on a ray of sun. The sun came from the South. From the land of Yucatac Maya people.The land of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat. Killed by San Francisco Po’LICE for nothing. Killed because he was unhoused and Brown and therefore easy to harass, profile and eventually murder in the stolen Yelamu Ohlone land called San Francisco GentriFUKation City.
Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat was an Indigenous Mayan father, hard -worker, futbal (soccer) player, a loving friend to everyone who knew him. His story is tragically similar to the story of millions of other migrante, indigenous poverty skolaz who are forced to cross false borders to support their families back home struggling with the impact of indigenous land and resource theft by empires like the US, by evil contracts and treaties like NAFTA and CAFTA. Theyy come here only to struggle with wage theft, racism, and profiling in urban cities like San Francisco, LA and New York, with very dangerous housing shortages and poLIce terror.
Poverty Across False Borders
The story of Luis and Amilcar Perez Lopez is the story of so many poverty and migrante/indigenous skolaz who come here just to work. Uncles and Mamaz like POOR Magazine’s own Muteado Silencio, Teresa M, Angel, Ingrid DeLeon from Voces de immigrants en resistencia and my own Suns’ Tio Tiburcio (who he was named after) a migrante, indigenous skola, a Yucatec Mayan man who worked for 30 years in 3 restaurants as a “lavaplatero” (dishwasher) struggling with wage theft, racism, and seriously substandard housing just to survive.
“I am only here to work, I sleep in a corner of a closet with six other people, I have to endure this to make enough money to support my family in Mexico, to eventually go home to the land of my people,” said Tio Tiburcio to my Mama Dee, about his life, “ I dream everyday for the day when i can leave this place.” he concluded to my mama who shook her head in agreement.
Poverty is an industry for all of us on both sides of the empire borders. It is kept in place so that rich people can profit off our cheap labor, our struggles, our incarceration and our desperation. The connections between all of us poor, working class, Black, Brown and indigenous people from all sides of the false borderss are becoming clearer as we struggle with dangerous gentrification, profiling and police predation, like the kind that caused the death of Alex Nieto, Amilcar Lopez and Luis. All of them Brown men, hard-workers, and trying to survive in a City that might want our labor, our poor bodies to make their lattes, secure their parties and restaurants, was their dirty dishes, babysit their children but doesn’t want our bodies to actually live here.
Luis was an unhoused San Franciscan and a recycler. Although most people buy into the concept that independent recycling is a crime because they believe that corporations “own” trash, we as fellow poor people understand that recycling is a job, one of the hardest jobs a person can have. He was also a loving man who brought love and care to everyone he met. Like so many unseen, unheard, hard-working people, he was someone who my mama would say walked softly on Mama Earth. Luis had an apartment before the rent became too high. Houselessness killed Luis.
Poverty of the Spirit in the US
On the other side of the false borders, we folks in struggle, having dealt with hundreds of years of white-supremacy, colonization, land, culture, language and resource theft are holding on by a few threads. More and more of us can no longer fight the insane battle to stay housed, to stay on the hamster wheel. Like my mixed race, already soul-destroyed, Afro-Taino mama, who become unable to keep on keeping on, which is why we became houseless for most of my life as a child.
“I had an apartment, but like Luis, they raised the rent and i couldn’t afford the rent increase, thats the story of so many of us out here,” Reggie, a friend of Luis who lived, unhoused, down the block from Luis’s encampment, talked to us the day after Luis shooting. When we heard about the shooting we went to the encampment when Luis used to stay to support the poverty skolaz who witnessed the murder of their friend by Po’Lice. We did a healing circle and talk-story with folks and met a couple who were close friends of Luis.
On the Saturday after the shooting of Luis Gongora, writer and community organizer with the justice for Alex Nieto Coalition Adriana Camerena, showed up at the encampment to find the police targeting the witnesses, kicking tents and handing out citations to them specifically.
“You better get your stuff off this street or we will have DPW pick it up,” When POOR Magazine arrived the next day, there were two SFPD officers who drove up to the tents of the witnesses-- a couple, one of whom is 8 months pregnant-- threatening them with the removal ( read: theft) of their belongings and citations if they didnt leave. It was obviously targeted harassment because they left after harassing them, even though there were other unhoused San Franciscans literally right next to them.
Poverty Scholarship - a lesson outside of institutional boxes
After we met the witnesses we put a call out to the community to donate money and “papers” ( i.e., ID). Even though many of us poverty skolaz are “born” on this side of the stolen Turtle Island, due to racism, poverty and criminalization many of us don’t have access to the capitalist tools of co-called “success” , i.e., addresses, credit scores, well-paying jobs, family with resources and stolen land. Thanks to POOR Magazine extended family Pearl Ubungen, artist and dancer and Adriana we were able to get the witnesses a storage facility and thanks to all of the generous folks who heeded the call POOR was able to rent them a motel room. The hardest part of this process was teaching on poverty scholarship. Something we teach on at PeopleSkool to housed folks who haven’t struggled is that just because folks are unhoused, outside, or in struggle, it doesn’t mean they are any less “deserving” of protection, love and support when they have witnessed a serious crime like the murder of their best friend. We are still trying to raise enough to keep them in the motel until they can secure housing in one of the meanest cities in the world to poor people.
Now the family here and the family in Mexico are working with Advocates like Adriana and Laura Guzman as well as lawyers, indigenous groups like Association Mayab and the Mexican Consulate to bring a case against the San Francisco police department. And all of us conscious peoples are working to fight this endless police and gentrification terror on our poor, Black, Brown and indigenous bodies.
Hunger Strikes and Stolen Land/Hoarded Resources Tours
Last week brothers and sistarz in the struggle, Equipto and his beautiful mama Maria Cristina Gutierez, Selassie, Edwin Lindo, and many more launched a hunger strike until Po’Lice Chief Greg Suhr and Gentrification City Mayor Ed Lie stepped down. Come by the Mission Po'Lice station to lend your support.
And then on Earth Day, a beautiful group of us 1st Nations, Black, Brown and Unhoused peoples from POOR Magazine and the Sogorea Te Land Trust launched a stolen land/hoarded resources tour, refusing the accept the status quo from the land-stealers and resource hoarders. I walked in honor of Luis Gongora, Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, O’Shaine Evans, Amilcar Perez Lopez, Papa Bear, Gerry X, Iris Canada, Ron Likkers, Elaine Turner and all victims of Po’Lice terror and displacement who continue to hold on to these increasingly hate and raicsm-filled cities, BY Any Means Necessary. Next stop Huchiun Ohlone Land ( Oakland ) on May 20th.
On Saturday night at the wake organized by the family, I Prayed with the vessel that was Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat I-felt his beautiful , humble, loving spirit as it wafted thru the mortuary, down the amerikkklan streets& up into the last rays of Sun in the direction of his Yucatec Maya ancestors- wrapping around everything inHuman & un-Loving that is this stolen Yelamu-Ohlone land the colonizers call SF.
To support the family of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat go to this GoFundMe page
To support the witnesses motel and storage fund click here for the GoFUndMe page