100 Years of Black Herstory Murdered by Capitalism - Iris Canada
Knives are sharpened into paper called leases -
with blades that cut children and elders into pieces.
Murderers called Landlords get away with this violence
and no witnesses ever see it.
While our mamas die everyone stays silent
From Lola McKay to Iris Canada- From Ron Likkers to Elaine Turner-
a system that separates and then annihilates
was built on hate and winds paper trails around your neck so tight u barely have energy to think much-less fight.... Excerpt from Poison Paper trails by Tiny
“I was born in 1916,” Iris whispered into the camera, Peter, I can’t believe you did me like this,” her eyes were pools of sacred time.Sacred, like a prayer. Sacred like things you hold lightly to protect and lift up into the moonlight and dream about and kneel to. Not evict and harass and drag to court and intrude and disrespect and eventually kill.
Iris Canada joined the ancestors on Monday one month after being evicted. Iris was murdered by the people and the systems that rule this stolen land. Iris was killed by Peter Owens and the Sheriff and the DA and the Mayor and the Judge and everyone else who protects them
How do you honor your elders in a land ruled by cultures that desecrate their elders and everyones who came before them. How do you hold, love and learn from your generations when the people who crafted your world intentionally stand on and dismantle the generations, the herstory that proceeded you.
“Why did you evict a 100 year old woman in Black History Month?” One month ago, a small crowd of people who actually cared about a 100 year old Black woman living stood, mouths agape in front of the San Francisco county Sheriff on the day she changed Iris’ locks while Iris was at her day program.
From the sheriff to the real estate snake to the developer to the TIC tenant/neighbors to the judge who granted the final eviction, to the district Attorney who refused to charge the landlord with elder abuse to the Mayors office who welcomes in the Peter Owens of the world, we all live in a society that is built to evict Iris Canada and honor criminals like Peter Owens.
Eviction is Elder and Child Abuse.
In 2014 POOR Magazine came to the District Attorneys office to press charges against the scam lords who were evicting literally hundreds of elders and families out of San Francisco per week. POOR family presented original research that penal code 368 could be used to convict the criminals who enable, cause and allow the financial and physical abuse of eviction against vulnerable, dependent populations. The violent story of Iris Canada had not even surfaced yet. At the time the District attorney, told us we didn’t have enough evidence. That the death and resultant illness caused by evictions of elders who had lived in their homes for literally generations only to be thrown out wasn’t enough. That wasn’t. A crime said the DA. That poor people of color living on the street trying to stay dry and warm was a crime. That Luis Gongora Pat bouncing a ball was a crime, that Mario Woods walking was a crime, but evicting 60 , 70 80 and 90 year olds weren’t a crime.
Fast forward to 2016, a small contingent of us went back to the District attorneys office to press the charges of elder abuse already filed by Iris merriouns, her niece. We were confident something should happen. We had a live victim. Iris and her niece was willing to testify. Peter Owens was guilty as charged of the crime of financial and physical abuse of a 100 year old frail elder. But instead of a claim or an attorney, we were met by a line of armed guards of the state. We were told to leave the DA’s office and escorted out, with not so much as a piece of paper or an appointment.
Appeal after appeal was filed by Iris’ attorney and the advocates at Housing Rights Committee, Just Cause, Senior Disability Action, POOR Magazine and many more organizations continued to hold vigils and actions and press conferences and pleas and make calls and march and write letters. But the sickness of capitalism and blood stained dollar hoarding is a contagious drug and everyone seems to drink gallons and gallons of its sick-sweet cool-aid, even when it includes just a touch of cyanide. Normalizing the poison. living with the disease. Even when it kills 100 years of Black Women’s history.
And if this poison isn’t enough, the poison and sickly sweet cool- aid of hypocrisy should make you gag. Peter Owens who doesn’t live in California, works as Bernie Sanders “development director”. Bernie Sanders, the “progressive”.
Our Mother, Grandmama, Great-Grandmama, Auntie and Tia Iris, has been killed by capitalism. When will we start convicting the real murderers?.