The video attached below was one of the best news interviews of the Alex Nieto Rises! March because Old School, real veterano Mission hombre “Uncle” Ray Balberan saw that we were getting swamped by the media, yet he had the instinct and love to know that community should stand together. He shouted for us to support each other, so in this video you actually see the Justice y Amor for Alex Nieto Committee and others standing shoulder to shoulder in the film. Even though the TV station eventually edited for sound bites only, Uncle Ray’s filming is pure history. (I must also thank Maria Villalta for jamming one of my favorite lowrider soul oldies, Mary Wells’ “The One Who Really Loves You.”)
Many of you have embraced me and commended me for my leadership (and loco) actions, but I share with you that I am somewhat selfish. I loved Alex Nieto. I told him many times that I loved him. Like unashamed real men, we commanded those words. We would talk on the phone or depart from each other’s presence, and I would declare these words to him: “I love you, Bro.” If I said it to him, to anyone, what does that mean? I must be true to my word and prove love, and that is my selfish reason, ultimately, for everything that I do: Amor.
I loved Alex because he and I would strategize all the time, and through those discussions, we developed curriculum and ideas to empower our community in unique ways. We both treasured gutter roots, but we also promoted evolutionary education. In this video, I can speak the way I do not only because of my street or Marine Corps history but also because I have read hundreds of books, written thousands of pages, and spoken to audiences for twenty years. I was once a shy boy, a cry baby, a street runt. I have tasted the happiness of sweet watermelon on a sunny day and the sadness of mama stuffing scorching peppers down my cursing throat. I combine it all for something new.
Alex Nieto would want for this movement to promote education and to inspire young people, especially young people of color. Homeboys and homegirls need strict yet loving leadership and inspiration. We need renaissance homeboys and homegirls to dedicate their lives to intense exploration, physical fitness, and rigorous education. We should check each other often: “What book you reading, homes?” or “How many push-ups did you hit?” I thank all of you who contributed to our unprecedented Alex Nieto Rises! March, but I am especially proud of the young homies who took the mike as we marched and led us with their chants.
I do not know what justice is more than that the future generation is justice.
It is my pleasure and my life to serve you.