(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.
‘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.
“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.
“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.’