Their reason and message was:
- We are sending a message of love and peace to our youth, and because of that love, speaking as One Mission, we will not accept or tolerate violence as a way of life in our community
- We want to highlight the work that Community Based Organizations & members do on a daily basis in preventive crime reduction in our community (Mayor and Police are trying to take the sole credit for the reduction of crime)
- We are fighting back against the Mayor's Office for the incredible and devastating Cuts of not only funding of programs through the DCYF, but complete elimination of entire programs that serve our youth in our community. We are literally fighting for keep our children & youth alive and safe so that they may have the right to a good quality of life and the pursuit of happiness
SNAG reporter Anastacia Diaz, 17, reports: "Valerie Laiwa spoke about bringing peace to the Mission. She said the Mission was One Mission and there should be no block, your block and my block, and how a lot of families have lost members from gang violence."
SNAG reporter Lavinia Morris, 11 - Interviewed some youth at the rally:
- Juan Carlos said, "I believe we should unite and show that we are all human and we are all friends and not enemies. Everyone wants peace. Certain people have strategies to stop violence. We need to bring peace to everybody. We can make history together."
- Jasmine said,"It takes the hood to save the hood. If you don't work together then nothing will happen so you have to work together to make it through."
Our entire community is under a systematic siege of attack by The City at a time when we have successfully cut the murder rate in half. Entire neighborhoods have fallen under unconstitutional "gang-injunctions", then the very same programs that been endlessly working successfully to reduce gang recruitment by doing crime prevention work, are now going to be cut. Other programs that were working specifically with youth on probation/parole by teaching then real job skills and then placing them directly into employment, will be completely eliminated and cease to exist. Programs that in one case, stopped an all-out gang-war from breaking out between Surenos and Nortenos in the Mission District, because of real life interventions, are now in jeopardy.
From violating the Sanctuary Ordinance Law by calling ICE on our undocumented youth when detained before even being charged, to entire after-school programs completely eliminated and locations shut down, we have completely gotten the message that The City does not care about the Mission. This cutting of funding and programs will only leave our youth susceptible to gang recruitment, more idleness with nowhere to go but to "hang-out" in the streets with "friends" and exposing themselves to the possibility of violence and criminal behavior. That in turn will eventually cause a huge rise of crime, leaving merchants & patrons feeling unsafe, less people will want to buy property or open up businesses in the Mission District. We deserve “quality of life.”
If we do nothing, if we don't stand as One, if we don't fight back, then the sad reality will be that our Supervisor will have to attend more than the 3 funerals he had to attend in one week during the sad month of September, when we dealt with gang related triple homicide shooting in one dark Sunday afternoon. As we say in our culture, “God forbid, through all of our collective work, from that ever becoming the "norm" in our communities!”