On Monday, November 2, 2020, on Dia de los Muertos in La Mision, we buried the dead, the spirit of that Loved One, Mauricio Orellanas, killed in the suspicious negligent fire on 22nd Street and Mission on January 28, 2015.
That fire destroyed the entire corner of the block, killed many small owned businesses, including a taqueria, meat markets, and trinket stores. My brother Jeff’s insurance agency had at one time been housed on the second floor along with private practice attorney offices and tax and immigration assistant offices. Sixty tenants, mostly Latino low-income familias, were permanently displaced. The community is now opposing the construction of a nine-story luxury condominium building. And we do it with heart and style!
On Monday the community lit orange marigold-laced torches surrounding the entire vacant lot. The danzantes stomped and the drummers blasted the ancestors’ spirits into the air and night. In Chicano style, twisted chromed-out lowrider bikes and the torch red 72 Monte Carlo decorated the street. Into the sky, the community shouted out the names of lost souls. Loco Bloco, our very own Mission drumming group, led the procession. We carried a symbolic coffin and magically opened the locked space to enter into the crater of earth that now exists, that used to be a Mission hub for food, drinks, business, and good times.
With shovels, with grit and determination, beating into the hard-rock ground, we buried the spirit of the dead. We chanted and prayed, all the time gifting love and positive energy to each other.
This is the power of community that is beyond politics.
I am fine.
You are fine.
Do not be tricked by trivialities. We have succeeded in the jungles, the concrete, the prisons, and the abyss. We are resilient and effective and have proven ourselves beyond any expectation:
Street Honor, Family Honor, Community Honor.
Today, November 4, is a panic only for those who believed that only politicians could and would save us. This social media shit is a lie. The greater media is also a lie.
The only ones you can count on are your own. The only way to truly come up is with you, your familia, and your community. We must make ourselves even stronger and smarter than ever. This moment is opportunity.
Spirit matters most:
Caring: Have you tried to cleanse yourself? Have you apologized to your Loved Ones? Have you asked about their struggles?
Education, our own education: What book you reading, Homes? What poetry you writing, Love? What you teaching your children?
Physical fitness: You eating broccoli? You hitting your pushups? You dancing on the streets?
Discipline: What time you waking up? What goals you got?
Creation: What you working on right now? When you going to deliver?
Amor: Have I told you today how much you mean to me, how much I love you now and forever? Do you know how much I love to embrace you?
Unless we have lost our minds and spirits, nothing has really changed. It is a new day to breathe. It is a fresh new day to triumph.
Every day is both an apocalypse and a resurrection.