——————SIGNAL BOOSTING (via facebook) ——————
by Erika Vivianna Céspedes on Monday, September 10, 2012 at 3:27pm ·
I am writing you today because as some of you may remember in June 2012, I worked with ten local queer im/migrant youth to create space and art for The Stories of Queer Diaspora Writing Workshop Series. Amongst those 10 youth was a young 19 year old latina superstar named Elvira Zayas. Elvira came to my program with 4 years of peer mentor and non profit youth program experience. She has been a active part of Lyric, DCYF- Department of Children Youth and Families, and even the Brown Boi Project. She is a compassionate, mature, and highly responsible part of our family and has even been holding up her own tattoo business for the past few years to help her family out.
Two weeks ago, Elvira was arrested and falsely accused of three charges (assault, gang affiliation, and dissuading a witness from calling the police). Her bail is set at $1 million.
I am writing today as adult allies in the community who work with and support our youth. Elvira’s case is an unacceptable example of the paralyzing effects that gang injunctions, police surveillance, and racial profiling have in our communities (especially within working, queer, and migrant communities). Elvira was falsely accused of being involved in a fight that broke out on Aug 29th, off of 24th and Shotwell in the Mission. She was arrested that same night. The SFPD is accusing her of being gang affiliated, and is saying that the Cuban Flag tattoo she has on her arm is evidence because it contains the colors red and blue (I am not in any way exaggerating or making this up). Elvira’s mother came crying into my office this past Tues, because she was at such a loss for what to do. She is a single mother from Cuba raising 4 kids in San Francisco and her daughter- who has NO prior record or arrests has been locked up for 2 weeks now without reason!!! To make it worse, if convicted Elvira could face 7-10 years.
I am asking that y’all please help us show that we will NOT tolerate racial profiling or injunctions by:
1) Attending the preliminary hearing- Tues, Sept 18th 9am!
- Elvira’s preliminary hearing is set for September 18th at 9 am at 850 Bryant Street in SF. We are determined to PACK the courthouse to show that our local community will not silently watch as these false allegations threaten to tear this family apart. Please feel free to RSVP here: http://www.facebook.com/events/280239312081522/
2) Calling the DA’s office!
The District Attorney’s name is George Gascón. The main office number is listed as: (415) 553-1751
- The office is open from 8am-5pm. Feel free to talk about how as a community member or youth worker who supports Elvira— and all other youth who are constantly racial profiled like her—that the lapse of evidence in this case, the severity of the bail/potential sentencing for a young person that has no record and who has so much community support, and the fact that the family has experienced 2 full weeks of emotional stress and separation for something Elvira didn’t do is UNACCEPTABLE! This is just an idea/example of what to say, it would be dope if folks could call and say whatever they wanted to between now and this Friday, Sept 14th!
3) Please reach out if you have any suggestions/capacity to help organize this upcoming week!
- Julia Ris (another one of Elvira’s mentors) and I have been completely blown away at how unfair the entire legal process has been in this case. There is NO evidence of Elvira’s involvement! Please contact me if you would like to help Julia and I gather letters of support (or if you know Elvira, you can even help write one), access legal support, or help organize towards the preliminary hearing.
Help us show Elvira’s family that we support them! Feel free to holler at me with anyquestions, thoughts, suggestions, or strategy. Thank you for your time, energy, and positive thoughts for Elvira’s fam!
SIGNAL BOOST THIS!!
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
A story of a survivor
Anything before age 9. Anything before my parents divorced, anything before the molestation, anything before the abuse. I was genuinely happy, although it was, “Oh hey, I’m racing the neighbors on our bikes” sort of happy, I was still happy. I didn’t have to push, I didn’t have to pretend, I didn’t have to fake, I didn’t have to hide. None of that was needed to keep my mom happy.
Last night I talked to my dad about my molestation for the first time it happened. Sitting with my dad, and hearing him talk about how if he could take the pain from me, he would; how he’s never wanted to kill a man more than this mysterious man before. Seriously broke me to tears. I’ve never seen such emotion from my father, and knowing the past relationship we’ve had, it meant a fucking lot to me.
I brought it up to my mom tonight. She told me how she slept on the couch with her gun in her lap waiting for the man to come back. She told me how my grandpa, who usually shows no emotion, has never wanted a man dead before. I know I should be grateful that my family cared so much and was there for me, some rape/molestation victims don’t receive that.
The only thing I want is closure. I’ve talked to a lot of victims and have told me they wish they didn’t know who their attacker was, but I wish the opposite. I couldn’t take this scum bag to trial, I couldn’t see him sit in jail, I couldn’t see him taken away in a cop car, I couldn’t have the closure of knowing he was locked up and no longer doing sick, disgusting things to little girls. LITTLE GIRLS, I was 11 when this happened, a 5th grader. I had no grasp as to what was going on, I don’t know where this man is. All I know is that I never wanted to fall asleep ever again. I didn’t feel safe in my own house, my own bed, not even my dad’s house. What if he did come back, what if he knew where my dad lived? I kind of wish this man would find me and just apologize and wholeheartedly mean it. I mean, I know that’s fucking out of this planet and it’d never happen. I just want him to know how badly he messed my life up, how my depression is cause from that trauma.
I just want closure. I just want to know who it was, how old he was, what his name was, if he had children, a wife, a mother, a father in his life to teach him from right or wrong. I want to know why me, why my bed, why did it happen at all? Why was I your first time since the police department didn’t have your finger prints on file? Why you weren’t caught, where did you go after jumping out of my window, and why the police stopped looking for you just a month after it happened? Why did the police let me down so badly?
I never want to hear someone say they hate the police because they caught you smoking pot. It’s illegal anyways, shut the fuck up. If you have a legitimate reason as to why you hate them, then so be it. The cops were my fucking knight in shining armor at one time, only to be let down time and time again.