Injection of justice into veins of tyranny
By Francisco Romero
posted January 23, 2005, (This originally appeared in the Ventura County Star, December 14, 2004)
Re: Oxnard Police Chief Art Lopez’s Nov. 28 commentary, “Result of injunction: Crime is way down: No one has right to murder, assault”:
Most of us in the opposition against this injunction reside within the city of Oxnard. Several hundred residents and many who work within the alleged “gang zone” submitted declarations opposing this gang injunction to Judge Frederick Bysshe. We are educators, social workers, laborers, students, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. Some of us have lived here our entire lives. Many of have us have witnessed, been impacted and are victims of violence in our community. Still, we oppose this injunction.
We have walked in candlelight vigils calling for peace and justice in our community. We have washed hundreds of cars to raise money for lawyers in opposition to this injunction.
Why do we sacrifice our time, energy and even personal resources to oppose this gang injunction? Is it to protect “bands of predators” who prey on our community? No, this is simply ridiculous and anyone espousing this is truly misinforming residents. Of course, no one has the right to murder or assault!
We oppose the injunction because we are against violence. We oppose this injunction because we care deeply about victims of violence in any form. We care for our community and we also believe, as you do, that Oxnard deserves a safe environment. Still, we oppose this injunction.
The community’s opposition to this injunction wedged a hint of justice within the courts. Without the significant amount of support against this injunction, hundreds of residents would have had their rights annexed in a blink of an eye without due process and without a fair trial.
We oppose this injunction because it is too vague and defendants did not have their opportunity to aggressively litigate and defend themselves in court before Judge Bysshe granted this injunction. This was an injustice. It is the duty of all of us to engage this type of injustice, wherever it breathes and whatever its form.
Chief Lopez missed our point. The issue here is the fact that the existence of gangs in our community, and the violence which may be attributed to them, cannot be explained away or tucked-in nicely in a little box. His attempts to polarize and define our opposition through the “either you’re with us, or you’re with the gang-members” lens is unrighteous. This issue is not as easy as black and white.
Now, at least, with the sacrifice of hundreds of residents of Oxnard, the opposition to the injunction will be heard in the courtroom in a trial that we struggled for. This is an injection of justice in the veins of tyranny.
– Francisco Romero, of Oxnard, is a representative of the Committee on La Raza Rights, and Chiques Community Coalition Organizing for Rights Education, Employment and Equity (C.O.R.E.).