On Thursday, June 9th, El Centro de la Raza had the pleasure of welcoming Edwin Lindo, community advocate and law professional; Brenda Williams, former board member at El Centro de la Raza and professor of law at University of Washington; and Roberto Vargas, poet and community researcher and advocate. These individuals came to El Centro de la Raza to talk about the hunger strike that Mr. Lindo participated in April and May in San Francisco. Lindo, Ike Pinkston, Sellassie Blackwell, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, and Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, referred to now as the ‘Frisco 5’, went on a 17 day hunger strike to protest police killings of people of color and to call for the resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr. Mayor Ed Lee continued to support Chief Suhr even after 4 people of color were killed in the last year and a half in San Francisco alone, and exchanges of racist text messages between SFPD officers were discovered. Only after one more person, Jessica Williams, was killed during the protests, did Mayor Lee accept Chief Suhr’s resignation (another article here).
The Frisco 5 started the strike to protest the killings of people of color, and succeeded in making the world pay attention to these issues that might not have been at the forefront of people’s minds. The 5 were willing to die for a cause they believed in, and to fight for the justice that those who have died deserve. The community came together around them and for them during the hunger strike, making sure they had enough water and supplies to keep going. After ending the hunger strike, the Frisco 5 continue to fight for justice in their community and the nation. Police must be kept accountable for their actions and biases they hold, and we as a community stand together to keep up this fight. Read more about the events here and here, and keep up with them on Facebook here.