Fire SFPD Chief Greg Suhr!
Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.
For weeks, a group of courageous Black and Latinx protesters have been on a hunger strike to bring justice to the people of San Francisco—risking their lives to stop violence and killings by police. Our communities are fighting back with love, and we need you. Their demand is clear: Fire San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr.1
Yesterday, hundreds of Bay Area residents marched to City Hall in support of hunger strikers Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Ilyich (Equipto) Sato, Edwin Lindo, Ike Pinkston, Sellassie Blackwell and others who are participating in the “Hunger For Justice” protest to end police violence and rebuild Black and brown communities. The strikers, known as the #Frisco5, have deep roots in San Francisco. They are teachers, artists, day care workers and community organizers.2
Since April 2011, when San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee appointed Greg Suhr Chief of Police, SFPD has killed 21 people. And in the last year alone, at least 3 Latinos were killed by San Francisco police. Adding insult to injury, recently released text messages from SFPD officers show a pattern of racist and homophobic sentiment throughout the chain of command.3 And across the nation, there is an epidemic of racial bias, police violence, and a lack of accountability in our country's police forces. Thousands have been killed. Millions more have been sucked into the criminal justice system by racially-biased practices. At least 350 people have been killed in the United States by police in 2016.4
The apparent increase of police violence in San Francisco sits within a context of massive gentrification and displacement of the city’s Black and Latino communities. According to real estate figures, ALL of the homes in San Francisco are too expensive for anyone who makes a salary below $60,000.5 Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is more than $3000 per month.
The police are public servants who have sworn to protect lives, and no one should have to live in fear that they might end up killing us instead. But too often, the police treat Latinos and Latinas, Black people, and other people of color like second class citizens. We will not be silent as our communities are brutalized and killed by those that have taken an oath to protect and serve.
Thank you for all you do and ¡adelante!
– Favianna, Matt, Oscar, Erick, and the Presente.org team.
P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.
1. "‘Frisco 5’ hunger strikers take their cause to City Hall." The San Francisco Examiner. May 3, 2016.
2. "Why #HungerForJusticeSF shut down San Francisco's busiest streets." Newsweek. May 3, 2016.
3. "The Horrible, Bigoted Texts Traded Among San Francisco Police Officers." Gawker. March 18, 2015.
4. "The Counted: People killed by police in the US." The Guardian.
5. "Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco." The Guardian. March 21, 2016.