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Contacts: ISF 415-822-4731 ? Mesha Monge-Irizarry 415-595-8251 ? Mary Bull 415-509-1188
To: All Media
Date: April 22, 2004
Memorial to Youth Slain by SFPD Planned at Metreon?s Earth Day
Mother says earth healing must begin with justice
Groups call for uniting racial justice and ecology movements
Saturday, April 24, 2004, 12-4 pm,
Sony Metreon Center, 4th and Mission, SF
On Saturday, April 24, from noon-4 PM at the Metreon, 4th and Mission, a peaceful demonstration is planned as a counterpoint to the Metreon?s Earth Day exhibition. The event will include building an altar and memorial to Idriss Stelley, the 23 year old African American youth who, on June 13, 2001, was shot 48 times by San Francisco police while undergoing an emotional crisis inside the Metreon Theater.
?The Metreon has never offered condolences or regrets,? said Stelley?s mother, Mesha Monge-Irizarry, co-founder of the Idriss Stelley Foundation (ISF), which offers free services and counseling to Bay Area families of victims of law-enforcement violence. ?The Earth Day exhibition is aimed at youth, but what about the youth who are excluded?the poor, and youth of color? We need to remember what happened to Idriss so we can prevent it from happening to others.?
Monge-Irizarry has requested permission from the Metreon to build a memorial altar for her son inside as part of the exhibition, but has not received a response. Dozens of community groups, environmentalists, and racial-justice activists have signed a petition in support. Many groups, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Reclaim the Commons Mobilization, and the Greenwood Earth Alliance, are calling for uniting the racial justice and ecology movements.
?We cannot have one without the other?so why not work together for both?? said Mary Bull, co-director of the Greenwood Earth Alliance, and an organizer of the Reclaim the Commons Mobilization, who is co-sponsoring the event.
Plans for the demonstration include a memorial for Stelley, construction of an altar, a seed give-away, and preparation of a bioremediation brew that will be taken back to Bayview Hunters Point, Stelley?s home community, to aid in reclamation of land polluted by the naval shipyard, a superfund site, and to point out the environmental racism suffered by that community, which has high rates of asthma and other acute respiratory diseases linked to PG&E?s power plant, and of breast cancer, Hotchkins Lymphoma, and other cancers linked to toxins and radioactivity from the shipyard, and other pollutants.
Monge-Irizarry stressed that the protest will be peaceful, will not interfere with the Metreon?s planned events, and will encourage participation in the official events as well. ?Care for the earth means also caring for our communities,? Monge-Irizarry said. ?The racism behind the shooting of my son is also responsible for the environmental assaults on our health and well being in Bayview Hunters Point. Earth healing must begin with justice.?