The Mysterious Death of John Visor

Tiny - Posted on 19 August 2017


“Everyone in the hotel was saying how happy John was, that he would never have ended his own life,” power-FULL, superbabymama Stephanie Grant said through tears over the phone. Stephanie, who like John Visor, was a witness to the San Francisco poLice murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat over a year and a half ago, was discussing the increasingly suspicious death of her long-time boyfriend and comrade John in the Mission hotel last week.

“Myself and John's sister Maria Martinez, have spoken with three medical examiners and they all had different stories, first he was sitting on a chair, then he was on a desk, then he had marks on him, then something else, “ Stephanie concluded exasperated.

“It is critical that the death of John Visor be examined by an independent agency to uncover any foul play that might have occurred,” said lawyer for the people Adante Pointer who has been working tirelessly on this case since the murder occurred, “ Anytime someone dies like this we are suspicious about the circumstances given the implications his death may have against the Luis Gongora Pat case against the SFPD,” Pointer concluded. 

John was a poverty scholar, a street scholar who struggled with houselessness and the trauma that is lodged in our collective heads in this post-colonial gentrified streets of amerikkklan, in this case the stolen village of Yelamu (aka San Francisco ), where people like Luis were homeless because of gentrification and an extreme housing shortage.

Myself, my sun and POOR Magazine extended family, artist and organizer Pearl Ubungen had the blessing of meeting  john and Stephanie in April of 2016 within days of the murder of Mayan father, uncle Husband Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat as the tent cities surrounding his murder were being poLice harassed because the witnesses, like Luis, were unhoused,. POOR Magazine’s village of houseless and formerly unhoused revolutionary reporters and advocates were called in to assist, advocate and do whatever needed to be done to support the witnesses and the unhoused community surrounding the murder. When we arrived on Shotwell near 19th street John and Stephanie were standing in front of their tent while two police officers singled them out, threatening them with tent and belonging removal if they didn’t leave immediately, which of course was strange considering no other tents right around them were being targeted in the same way.

Poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine who have all been unhoused ourselves and therefore know the nuanced trauma /drama of what needs to happen to support folks in these moments, began a process  along with Pearl and her husband Ken Miller, advocate Laura Guzman, and advocate poverty scholar Nancy Scott to help them store their stuff, raise money, get into rehab and protect them from more police targeting.

At the same time us revolutionary advocates were advocating many of us were working alongside writer and organizers Adriana Camarena, Flora Campoy and the family of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat  and many others to form the Justice & Amor 4 Luis Demetrio Pat Coalition in support of liberation lawyer Adante Pointer from the John Burris Law Firm.

The fight for the safety and protection of the witnesses and the victims became connected and enmeshed as they should always be in cases like this. It was at this point that Pearl and Nancy and myself began to focus on getting the about to be mama Stephanie permanently off the streets so she could properly mama, while also working to support John into transitional housing. 

Months passed, a beautiful baby was born and a mama was lifted up.

So in the last few months Stephanie has been on track to get housing, raising her  baby and supporting John through his own recovery. John got housing at the Mission Hotel, working on recovery and helping out everyone in the Mission Hotel building who needed it. 

“He is sweet to everyone in the hotel , always ready to help, always there if you need him and always talking about his future, said an anonymous source to POOR Magazine about John.
“And the timing is all wrong, first his mama said he spoke with him on Wednesday but he was supposedly dead on Tuesday, We just want justice, we just want the truth to come out,” Stephanie and Maria stated clearly. "We refuse to be silent."

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