“May She Remind Us as a Young Ancestor, When We’re Feeling Down, How to Continue Living”: A Community Mourns after Police Shootings

Right now in Denver and indeed across the nation, communities are mourning the loss of 17-year old Jessica Hernandez who was shot by Denver Police on January 26th.

Still experiencing trauma, youth, people of color, the LGBT community, and many others have held events from vigils, to press conferences, to marches, to nonviolent direct actions in order to hold law enforcement accountable for her killing and for the killing of other unarmed people of color who lost their lives in similar circumstances in recent months.

In San Francisco during a rally for Taja de Jesus, a trans woman of color who was murdered in San Francisco earlier this month, Jessica Hernandez was honored as her name was called out by the crowd.  A few days later, a banner reading, RISE UP FOR JESSIE HERNANDEZ, QUEER LATINA TEEN MURDERED BY DENVER POLICE  was carried across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco during a V-Day action.

On February 19th, one such vigil took place at the corner of 26th and Newport in Denver near where Jessica was killed, and then a memorial procession to the exact spot where she was shot to death.  Here a memorial of flowers, candles, pictures, signs, and teddy bears adorn an altar that pays tribute to the young teen.  The neighbors on the block have tended to the memorial since its inception as mourners add to it every day.

But Just before the vigil, Cecelia Kluding member of the group Branching Seedz of Resistance spent the afternoon with Jessica Hernandez’ parents Laura Rosales and Jose Hernandez to let them know of the vigil and to assess the needs of the family.  We first hear Cecelia Kluding’s account of the time with Jessica’s parents and then we move to the vigil itself where Mimi Madrid, also an organizer with Branching Seedz of Resistance and Cecelia Kluding spoke along with other participants, including members of Jessica Hernandez’ family.



music:  Jesse Cook

V-Day March across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Feb. 14 2015 photo courtesy of Not My Tribe
V-Day March across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Feb. 14 2015 photo courtesy of Not My Tribe