Rest in Peace and Paint, Dear Antonio Ramos

antonio ramos 2

rendering of the mural ramos had been working on

(My thanks to hfcMoFo for sending me the grievous news.)

 This is another tragic story replete with irony of the darkest sort: Antonio Ramos was shot dead in Oakland recently while he was working on a mural to make his corner of the world safer and more peaceful.

Ramos was part of the organization Attitudinal Healing Connection (ACH), ‘envisioning and creating a world where everyone is whole, safe, educated, valued, and loved’.  When he came upon the group’s Superheroes Mural Project, he was inspired enough to joint the painters every single day, which the directors said was exceedingly rare.

antonio 3

‘Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project (OSH) is a crucial community development effort by Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) in Oakland that will engage 105 youth to be change agents in their community. This project aims to resolve issues that plague our city, create over 30 jobs, enhance our neighborhoods and reduce blight. AHC is proud to share the progress of the first large scale mural beautification and revitalization public art project in West Oakland/Emeryville.’

This page describes the completed Superhero visions of two McClymonds High School Students in one of the planned seven murals.  Touching as hell, the Shero and Hero are.

From inqusitr.com:

“The circumstances surrounding the shooting are still under investigation. However, as reported by ABC 7, witnesses said the suspect was “messing with” Ramos’ painting supplies. When he asked the man to step away, he opened fire, shooting the artist multiple times.

Antonio Ramos was still alive when officers arrived on scene. However, he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local hospital.

Authorities have not yet made an arrest or identified a suspect. However, as the shooting occurred during the day in a high-traffic area, it is likely that someone witnessed the heinous crime.

The artist shot in Oakland will be remembered as a generous and talented man. Fellow artist Dave Young Kim said he knew Ramos for three years. In an interview with SF Gate, Kim said a lot of Antonio Ramos’ work was voluntary. Although he was not getting paid, the artist was conscientious about his work.

antonio ramos

“That’s just the kind of kid he was… He was super willing to help. He was very reliable and just had the sort of naivete that was so fun to be around.”

Although he focused his efforts on painting, Kim said his late friend was also interested in producing music and films.”

Ah, but the Scribes to the Oligarchy remind us that: ‘Mural Painter’s Killing Reminds Oakland That Revival Can Be Slow’.  Revival = Gentrification, of course, as was Mayor Libby Schaaf’s campaign platform. Oops; it seems Libby has elite friends of her own…

““That’s the life of the Oakland mayor,” said Ms. Schaaf, who was elected in November hoping to bring what she called a “holistic approach” to affordability and safety.

“I walk off the stage after giving a speech about technology and I hear about a murder,” she said. “I almost had to throw my phone to the ground. The frustration of seeing the problem, and not being able to wrap my arms around it like we want to, is frustrating and tragic.”

(I can’t find news coverage of the tweet, but her initial reaction to Ramos’s murder was: ‘I grieve for every life lost in our community’.  She’s changed her tune on her Twit account, and that one seems to have been deleted.)

“Ms. Harris, the head of Attitudinal Healing, had a more blunt assessment of the challenges facing a changing Oakland. She called it the “fear of the other.” What was special about Oakland, she said, was that its diverse culture mixed freely. But now newcomers and old-timers seem to be in retreat, eyeing one another warily from afar.

“As the community changes and neighborhoods are being gentrified, there are real opportunities to share,” she said. “But I’m afraid they are going to be missed.”

A journalist at contracostatimes.com lays it out.  Tammerlin Drummond’s ‘Senseless murder of muralist renews focus on fighting gun violence’.  She writes:

“Oakland is a schizophrenic city. On the one hand, we are in the midst of an economic boom. New businesses and residents are relocating here. Uber recently announced that it would open a headquarters in the old Sears building — a move that Mayor Libby Schaaf called a “game-changer” for the city.

Yet at the same time, violent crime continues to be the city’s Achilles heel. Unfortunately, some of our city officials seem to be doing their best to try to gloss over that and shift focus to what they maintain are the police department’s improved relations in the community.

But the appalling homicide numbers can’t be ignored. There have been 73 killings so far this year compared to 58 by this time in 2014.” [snip]

“Organizations like Attitudinal Healing Connection that created the Oakland Super Heroes mural that Ramos was helping to paint are doing important community work. But without a larger, comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing what we know to be the root causes of much of the violence — such as poverty, unemployment, the effects of mass incarceration, dysfunctional schools — the city stands no chance of making any real headway. These organizations, as well intentioned as they are, are like individual pebbles thrown into a lake.

We can’t expect magical solutions to complex socioeconomic issues that have developed over decades. But we can and should demand leadership from those who’ve been elected to lead.”

Exquisitely related, and I’ll assume that it’s clear how intertwined USian gun violence and the miltary power-gone-wild of the sole SuperPower on the planet are:

Via enough.ourjourneytosmile.com: #Enough! Inviting you to see Afghans differently, Oct. 5, 2015:

“After 14 long years of assuming that the war in Afghanistan is necessary, each day for the *next five short days, we offer you five tiny video snippets which invite you to see Afghans differently.

To the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul, acquiring new insights is essential, if we are all to survive the growing, multidirectional violence, from the Taliban on the ground or from U.S./NATO airstrikes like the fatal airstrike on the MSF ( Doctors Without Borders ) Hospital in Kunduz.

Please share these video clips with your friends. Tell them not to fear what they’ll see and hear. It is our hope that the images and sounds will humanize all of us, and help us to feel again.

*from the 3rd till the 7th of October, the ‘anniversary’ of the beginning of the U.S./NATO military presence in Afghanistan.

“We work to get rid of war, NOW. Join us! #Enough

 Médecins Sans Frontières says patients burned to death in their hospital beds in a bombing raid the UN describes as a ‘tragic, inexcusable’ war crime’, the Guardian

 ““The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgement as to the circumstances of this tragedy,” Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

Nato earlier conceded US forces may have been behind the bombing, after forces launched a strike they said was intended to target militants.

“The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility. This incident is under investigation,” a Nato statement said.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Master Cromwell (The Masters of War): ‘A matter of conscience. You’re a constant regret to me, Sir Thomas. If you could just see facts flat-on, without that horrible moral squint... With a little common sense you could have made a statesman.’

21 responses to “Rest in Peace and Paint, Dear Antonio Ramos

  1. More: “Well…I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties… they lead their country by a short route to chaos.”

    Interesting. More roots his social commitment in his “private conscience”. Why this paradox? Is it to speak to those who use society for their self-interest in irrefutable terms?

    Your thread of conflict between new-comers and old-timers needs multiplication, comrade.

    • i hadn’t been touting more, per see, but using the quote i did for a purpose. cripes, you’re always the smartest kid in the room, but to what advantage?

      and i have zero idea what your last sentence even means.

      • The gentrifiers will the old-timers to auto-exterminate. That’s their revolutionary plan. Ramos, muraling for attitudinal healing, is shot by detritus neglected by the crapitalist revolutionaries.

        So much for attitudinal healing, laugh the revolutionaries.

        • how sad that you mock them, comrade x, but i guess i’ve gotten used to your mockery. and how do you know who shot him, by the by?

          oakland is full of bold citizens working for a better world, including creating alternatives. Fania davis and comrades’ ‘restorative justice for oakland youth’, for instance (angela’s sister)

          citizens have created community gardens out of empty lots, are working on affordable housing…

          “This month, organizers with the Oakland chapter of Critical Resistance (CR), which works to abolish prisons and policing, are launching the Oakland Power Projects (OPP). The OPP initiative aims to build “the capacity for Oakland residents to reject police and policing as the default response to harm and to highlight or create alternatives that actually work by identifying current harms, amplifying existing resources, and developing new practices that do not rely on policing solutions,” according to CR’s website.”

          and they’ve been busy shutting down BART stations, the ‘justice department’, and more…while they wait for more people to wake up and resist. meanwhile, ‘The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperative businesses’ is in…oakland.

          but sure it’s easy for us to poke fun at folks who aren’t sitting at their keyboards amplifying various voices and credos like you and i are.

          • Who am I mocking?

            Anyway, you’ve left this issue uninvestigated: with all the good activist work, still they are at odds with the gentrifiers. While activists do their good work, those non-activist, crapitalist losers roam in rage.

            In a culture which exterminates via abandonment, activists must arm the prey with truth.

  2. Oh, and speaking of gentrification, ‘the other’, and (ahem) two-tier policing, hfcMoFo would want me to add: ‘OPD Responds to Noise Complaints by White Man Against Black Drummers at Lake Merritt, Sparks Concerns About Racial Profiling’

    “On Sunday night, a white Oakland resident called the Oakland Police Department on a small group of Black and Latino drummers by Lake Merritt, resulting in multiple citations and sparking extensive debates online about racial profiling, biased policing, and gentrification. The story has since gone viral on social media with a Facebook post from local radio journalist Davey D Cook who argued that this case is just the latest example of white residents who are newer to Oakland and the Lake Merritt area complaining about the activities of longtime residents of color — leading to unnecessarily aggressive responses from police.

    Williams, who is Black and grew up in Oakland, said that roughly a dozen OPD officers ultimately responded to the call and that he felt many of the officers had not treated him or his fellow drummers fairly and were clearly biased toward the caller, who is a white man who apparently lives nearby.

    Williams said that he and about six others — all people of color — started drumming just after 7 p.m. in time for the rare lunar eclipse happening that night. He said they played for about ninety minutes, at which point the white man showed up and allegedly started shouting at them.

    “He is screaming and yelling, ‘What are you guys doing in the park?! … Do you have a permit?'” Williams recalled. “I’m looking at him and I’m like, ‘Who are you?'” Soon after, according to Williams’ account, the man lunged at Williams, grabbed his wrists, and pulled his drumsticks out of his hands. “I said, ‘You cannot start grabbing on people and trying to take their personal property.’ … I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. … He said, ‘If you don’t stop drumming, I’m calling the police,'” Williams said. The man shortly thereafter did call the police on the drummers, and by the time four OPD officers arrived around 10 p.m., the group had already ended the drum circle — not because of the man’s demands, but because they were done for the night, according to Williams.

    But even though the drumming was over, the conflict only escalated after the police arrived. “The police, of course, didn’t hear any drumming,” Williams said. “But they immediately began to take the side of this gentleman.” Williams said police were hostile toward him from the start: “They shine a light in my face and scream, ‘Get back, stay where you are!’ … They immediately assumed because I’m Black, that I’m the perpetrator. … They just assumed that we had done something wrong.”

    multiple citations were issued by the veritable horde of po-po, apparently including the man who had originally called police.
    ‘drumming the eclipse in while black or brown’ is on their charge sheets./s

    Oakland Carnival Family Day: Samba Funk Festival

  3. the more things change, the more they remain, more and more, the same

    • will there be a flexion point any time soon? i really dunno; i’m a bit disheartened the the wider movement seems to have been coopted a bit too far into ‘respectability politics’. hope i’m wrong.

      but didn’t the samba funk fest rawk?

  4. Just next door, in Dreamland, the Ponzi System is disrupting prole existence:

    Vinod Khosla, a somewhat irascible billionaire and head of a leading venture capital firm reminds the audience: “We all love to talk about disruption. But if you are doing something disruptive, people are getting hurt. Revolutions are hard on people. People get hurt.”

    Have a sad, but get back to work replacing them proles!

    • yep. i’ve heard reports about ‘the rent’s too damned high’ in san francisco. and libby schaaf is high-fiving that she got Uber to take over the sears building. and ‘crossing the digital divide!™

      isn’t silicon valley the national seat of Libertarians? ;-)

      • Maybe of “Libertarians”, the polyglot, grotesque, anarcho-capitalist morons propelled by silicon; who destine proles to Uberification. The crapitalists of Oakland can’t help but be influenced by the mania of those bullshit artists in SF. And if the bullshitters have no solution for proles all over the nation but digital slavery, their cousins in Oakland would feel themselves enlightened in comparison if they only neglected their local proles.

        Not only are those Libertarian morons pursuing investment bubbles, but that article hints that the Silicon Valley Ponzi System itself will eventually crash. The SV investments by the Intelligence State (towards digital feudalism) will then prevail as the “Libertarians”‘ fraudulent “entrepreneurial” crapitalism collapses. The “Libertarian” pretense of selfish liberty will then be stripped away, leaving their fascist core in naked glory.

        Those poor proles in Oakland, butted against these hideous revolutionaries next door, are doomed.

  5. a few items of police news:

    ‘NYPD in ‘Dark Ages’ About Handling Officers Who Use Force, DOI Says

    William G. Porter, the first of six Baltimore police officers to be tried in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, faces a number of choices that could pit the desire to maintain a united front among defendants — the “blue line” — against the need to do what’s best for himself.

    With his trial set to begin Nov. 30, experts say Porter might decide in the coming weeks to accept a plea deal if one is offered, take the stand in his defense or remain quiet. He might also confront whether to testify against fellow officers after his trial concludes. Prosecutors consider him a “material witness” in two other cases.
    All this comes amid intense scrutiny.

  6. Mmmmm. Loretta Lynch, doing her best Rutherford B. Hayes parody trying to get you not to notice the political gun at her head.

    The routine is like this. Who are going to call to enforce the law, Loretta? The police?

    Hayes faced the dilemma of not having troops to send to defend blacks in the South because they were all off fighting the Indian wars. In fact in 1877, he had to pull troops from the South to fight the Nez Perce, a war that could easily have been avoided except of white greed.

    Does not the Lake Merritt incident not resemble the Indian wars?

    Having no left left in the United States creates a huge catch-22 when violence occurs. It is always slanted toward reactionary conservatism. And often the po-pos and the town fathers are glad to see it.

    • i wouldn’t have known the hayes analogy ever; thank you. well, political gun or not…sorry miz lynch: fail.

      indian wars at lake merritt; hmmmmm. will there never be an end to them?

      • No end to the quest for free land, free labor, and free money from those who use intimidation to plunder. And intimidation is much easier if there is a bunch of guys in blue with arms backing you up. Interesting thing about how the Nez Perce war started. The commanding officer of the cavalry thought that there would not be a battle because the Nez Perce leader they were visiting had already settled on a dairy farm. That leader said that he was not rising. None of his farmstead were holding arms. But a “member of the civilian militia” opened fire. “Ooops” and the massacre began. Civilians were the ones to gain from land cessions. Ethnic cleansing moves like that.

        Which reminds me. Israel was lining up to take the al Aqsa mosque and likely proceed with the completion of a one-state solution until Russia decided to intervene in Syria. Before intervention, Putin called Netanyahu for a tete-a-tete in Moscow. Don’t you find that an interesting development. Abbas renounced the Oslo agreement at the UN. And there have been expectations of more Israeli air attacks on Gaza. Abbas is now free to call on Russia for aid if Israel attacks. Hopefully all the other players realize this new state of affairs. Abbas is also going to pursue going to the International Criminal Court. The next 13 months could become very interesting internationally and domestically. And neither US major party is capable of grokking it.

        • Not grokking? Nah, they’re waiting for an event to rally Amerikkkans to fight Russkies, something they can lustily sink their vampire teeth into.

        • i’d never heard that about a dairy farmer nez perce leader not rising, although there were many bands. the only nez perce history i’m a bit familiar with is chief joseph and his band fighting their way thru montana to try to join sitting bull’s band across the border in canada. tragically, they almost made it, but for some general; miles, maybe? how many broken treaties due to gold, uranium, silver… ? how many uranium waste dumps, coal mines and power plants on reservations and sacred sites…oh, never mind; too many to count. and the ‘boys in blue’ to back it up when necessary, as you say.

          peek at the ‘good bombs, bad bombs’ post; nomad brought an odd link about israeli jets v. russian jets over syria. i have no idea.

          but yes, i did see the headlines about abbas renouncing the oslo accords, but i don’t know the history, and for goodness sake, i’d even had to look up hezbollah; oy.

          but goddam; we are far from dear peace-loving antonio ramos’s murder.

  7. The Nez Perce: On July 1, 1877, the US Army attacked Looking Glass’s dairy farm. Not even settling into a reservation stemmed the violence (as the Cherokee discovered 40 years previously).

    News items: All 170 bikers in the gun battle in Waco get off without charges.

    Report finds four prisoners from Chicago innocent but Anita Alvarez won’t vacate the convictions despite evidence that a CPD officer routinely rigged lineups and succeeded in framing 40 people. Ahhhhhh, Chicago….consistent.

    Trey Gowdy’s prosecutor style. In Congressional hearings questioning Sidney Blumenthal, the questioning went on for six of the eight hours before Benghazi was mentioned. Lots of angling going on there, n’est-ce pas? The Izaak Walton kind. Let the soap opera begin.

    • thanks for the looking glass history. all i discovered (iirc) was that he was a christian, sort of a different ilk than chief joseph, et.al., who was chased to the border by general howard, not miles, i discovered. but he surrendered to miles with his ‘i shall fight no more…forever’ speech.

      your next two news items are sick, your last…arggh; i haven’t followed the story at all; there’s just too much to read and watch. right now: wikileaks on the cables re: ‘our backyard’. more evo, chavez, zelaya. oh, and the ‘education president’s’ replacement for arne duncan: john b. king, who’s a couple notches worse, apparently.

      on edit: ack; you must mean this, yes? so hard to read, though.

  8. Bless their hearts: ‘Volunteers complete Oakland anti-violence mural after artist shot dead’; Mural dedicated to Antonio Ramos, one of 10 artists working on it and who was shot on 29 September during a disagreement with an unidentified man. it’s breath-taking.

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