“My grandfather, while drinking his cup of coffee spoke to me about Juarez and Porfirio, the Zouaves, and the Silver gang, and the tablecloth smelled of gunpowder. My father, while drinking down his shot glass, spoke to me about Zapata and Villa Soto and Gama and the Flores Magon, and the tablecloth smelled of gunpowder. I kept my silence, about whom could I speak?” – Cancion Mexicana, Octavio Paz.
Each generation will have its heroes, villains, artist, poets, and martyrs. It seems these days that we have too many martyrs, but they become martyrs not because they are advocating for something, they become martyrs because of what they represent through their skin color. The young men like Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, and of course Trayvon Martin, these men and countless other men and women have suffered because of police brutality. We also have to understand that the African-American community is not the only one that has lost people because of police brutality. We also cannot forget the countless Latinos we have lost because of police brutality.
As I recite Octavio Paz’s, Cancion Mexicana, I ask myself the same question, about whom could I speak? I will speak about Andy Lopez, 13, California, who like, Tamir Rice, was killed because of a fake gun that he was carrying. Reynaldo Cuevas, 20, Bronx, New York, was killed because he had crashed into a police officer as he was fleeing an attempted robbery on a bodega in which he worked in, Osman Hernandez, 26, Salinas, California, was shot ten times just because he was wielding a lettuce knife. Noe Nino de Rivera, 17, Bastrop County, Texas, was tasered by police after breaking up a school fight, as he was tasered, he face planted onto the ground, because of the impact he suffered a severe brain hemorrhage, he is still in a medically induced coma because of it. Israel Hernandez, 18 Miami Beach, Florida, was tasered to death just because of a graffiti art that he had made on an abandoned McDonald’s building. Raul Rosas Jr., Fresno, California, was beaten, hogtied, and drowned in front of his children and a crowd, as he was surrounded by 15 cops.
These six men and countless other men and women will be whom I will speak of to the next generation. I speak about them the same way I speak about Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Gardner, and Trayvon Martin, by speaking about those that we have lost we will join the African American community in solidarity, because police brutality is not just an African-American issue, it is also a Latino issue, and it is also a global issue as well. We must understand that there will always be at least one person that can relate to our struggles, and as long as we keep that in our minds we will persevere and prosper in a society in which the system continues to oppress us.
So as these protest will hopefully continue, let us not forget about those that we have lost because as long as one person the community mourns and this something that is shared across all cultures, we will march shoulder to shoulder and speak about them, so that they may never die a second, we will immortalize them with our chants, with our peaceful protest, and with our dialogues, those names will be forever etched in our memories, so that the next generation will continue to march and fight against the injustices in the world. As we tell our children and grandchildren about our heroes, villains, artist, poets, and martyrs, the table should not smell of gunpowder, but now it will smell of teargas as it does in the rest of the world.