Sala Haquiyah Chandler and other mothers stood outside the SF courthouse recently, waiting while the alleged murderer of her son and three other young African sons in a quadruple homicide January 9th 2015 was being tried. “We are determined to get justice for our children,” she said.

Little is known yet about all of the facts surrounding the arrest of the alleged perpetrators, but one thing is known for sure: Had it not been for the endless resistance, marching, speaking, praying, and fighting on the part of the mothers and families of the four murdered boys this case would not have gotten this far.

 Consuelo Raybon, in front of the banner, is the mother of Manuel O'Neal. In the background is Yolanda Banks Reed
Consuelo Raybon, in front of the banner, is the mother of Manuel O’Neal. In the background is Yolanda Banks Reed

“They are killing our indigenous children,” said Chandler as she stood on the corner of Laguna and Page streets. It had been a few weeks since the execution of the four young men from the Fillmore District and the mothers and their supporters gathered near the scene of the quadruple murder to demand justice. All the mothers held a beautiful banner at the murder site with the faces and names of the four: Manuel O’Neal, David Saucier II, Harith Atchan, and Yalani Chinyamurindi, who is Sala’s child.

Powerful sister-mama-community leader Sala has been family with POOR Magazine since my mama Dee and I first started in 1996 doing journalism workshops for other poor mamaz and daddys like us. Sala, like many low-income, Black, Brown and poor mamas, was struggling to raise her children on the crumbs of welfare and also determined to tell our truths and make our own poor and indigenous people-led media.

Fast forward to 2001. Sala launched the effort to stop the senseless violence perpetrated by us killing us, i.e, the guns so easily attained by our young peoples of color in our own hoods, towns and barrios. this became the powerful march she called the One Life Walk-.

Then in January of 2015, I received a horrific call that brought me to my knees. Four young African sons murdered execution-style while driving in a van in the Fillmore district of  San Francisco. A neighborhood violated by an onslaught of displacement led by one modern day colonizer developer after another and most recently an influx of what I call the gentryTechNation pushing low and no-income communities of color into smaller and smaller pieces of what used to a thriving Black and Brown neighborhood transforming it into the FillNoMo as coined by A. Faye Hicks, Po Poet Laureate of POOR Magazine.

It was in the FillNoMo, struggling with this insane climate of removal, that these young men were executed. As I prayed, wept, and reflected on this horrible murder and because of my own experience through the violence of displacement, this formerly unhoused, evicted and displaced mama’s first mind went to a gentrification motive for these murders or what author and LA poet laureate Luis Rodriguez refers to as police-fueled gentrification.

“They came into our communities offering money and guns to young people, sadly, some of them took the bait, they became informants for the police.” Luis went on to describe how in LA in the 1970s the police were buying off young Xicano members of the community to help fuel the dismantling of a strong Brown community. We focused on this important and frightening connection in an interview with Luis for one of our PoorNewsNetwork radio shows on KPFA’s Hard knock radio, focused on the rise in gun violence when a community is undergoing gentrification.

Kanika Lemon, grandmother of Harith Achan and Sala-Haquekyah Chandler
Kanika Lemon, grandmother of Harith Achan and Sala-Haquekyah Chandler

“We will not stop fighting for our son,” said Sala at POOR’s Community Newsroom circle last year who along with other mamaz and community leaders like Yolanda Banks Reed, who refused to let up on the poltricksters, the police or each other.

Sala, working together with Yolanda Banks Reed and POOR and other comrades, never stopped pressuring the city and a police department that has a terrible record solving homicides, particularly in the Black community. She held marches, press conferences, rallies all year. She pushed District 5 Supervisor London Breed and her colleagues and demanded that a reward be put up. All the mamas of all the sons never stopped calling the investigators with questions, updates, etc.

No matter what the motivation of this horrible murder of our children, Sala and the other fierce mamas will not give up until the truth comes to light. As a parent of a 12-year-old son, my heart cries every day for Sala and so many mothers who have lost their sons and daughters to community violence and po’Lice violence, who as Sala says, will never give up fighting for justice for their babies.

 

  • Porfirio666

    “They came into our communities offering money and guns to young people, sadly, some of them took the bait, they became informants for the police.”

    The implication here is that police are giving guns to young people so that they will become informants for the police. This is highly unlikely. Ex-police chiefs Gascon and Suhr are both on record in favor of gun control. If the police are handing out guns to Fillmore residents, Gascon (now SF Attorney General) needs to investigate.

    You also write that the quadruple-homicide on Hayes St. last year was caused by “modern day colonizers” (property developers?) and “influx..of the gentry” (techies?). It is highly unlikely that young people of color kill each other because of anger over gentrification. Jill Leovy, the author of “Ghettoside” (highly recommended) thinks that gang-bangers kill each other because know they will never be caught. She blames this foremost on the anti-snitch culture.

    Finally, your headline has a typo in it (see below). Someone could have given this piece a quick edit and caught the mistake.

    “After months of community protests, marches, and demands, an arrest in [SIC] made in a quadruple homicide in the Western Addition

  • chris12bb

    To prevent these tragedies we should expect the best from all the kids in San Francisco, the schools should aim to get every child into Post High School education. Then SF born kids would have opportunities and the resources to remain here.
    The jobs that pay well are in Law, Finance, Engineering, Tech, Medicine etc, and for the most part you need a University Degree to work in these industries.
    To prevent violence we have to change the culture of violence and ensure all kids can have real opportunities through education.

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  • Maurice Patapon

    Gun violence is definitely connected to the availability of guns, and I would guess it is also connected to the competition within an underground economy in which the most desperate people are participants. I don’t buy the “culture of violence” thing because when that’s said people are usually talking about poor people and especially black people, and there is just as much a “culture of violence” among the middle and upper class who turn a blind eye to state violence, produce pro-violent media/”entertainment”, etc. lf it’s true that gun violence increases in gentrifying areas I’d like to know why. More money, so more intense competition for it? I don’t understand what’s being said with the quotation from Rodriguez, though I have no doubt that cops in the 60s/70s recruited informants who were sometimes armed and that these informants were participants in violence – this is well documented in Black Panther history and probably Brown Berets/Chicanos too. But this was Cointelpro shit and it was aimed specifically at political groups – does Tiny think these four men were victims of police informants? Does 48hills? Because that kind of idea, if it’s not true, could get in the way of stopping this violence. I don’t know the situation of the perpetrators here, but I think we need to own the fact that: 1. Capitalism produces desperation, and desperate people are pushed to desperate measures, and 2. Deadly violence is also perpetrated by non-desperate people, by well-off people, but contained and disguised in investment portfolios. Companies that literally exploit people to death. Investments protected at gunpoint. The destruction of the earth. This is not a metaphorical illusion this is real.

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