I have the best lawyer - God!

cayley - Posted on 06 September 2010

A life-long Mission resident fights eviction for all of us


"I will continue to fight! I'll bring this all the way to the supreme court if necessary.." Jose Morales' voice was loud and clear, seamlessly moving between English and Spanish as he outlined his refusal to be illegally evicted from his residence of 40 years in the Mission district of San Francisco.

Jose Morales, is a Latino elder, a migrant, a Mission resident, a worker, an advocate. But, perhaps most importantly he is a human being. And the so-called laws that govern property in the US are inhuman. Jose has been fighting eviction for the last 14 years with landlords who use the laws with impunity. Their most recent tactic included an Ellis Act eviction, claiming they , the landlords, want to move in to his unit and therefore he must leave.

As I watched the powerful, almost superhuman Jose, speak at a vigil in his honor held in front of his residence on Sunday night, his voice and spirit moving effortlessly past his body which was almost completely bent over at the waist due to his disability,I realized he was speaking for all of us, moving for all of us, fighting for all of us; for the Salvadoran migrant elder who was recently evicted from his residence of 40 years on Harrison street in the Mission and who now cant even afford to take care of his disabled wife in Laguna Honda, for the families who right now face eviction from their homes in The Bayview due to Lennar Corporation removing people for so-called redevelopement, for the elders in the California Hotel in Oakland who were threatened with eviction when the housing developer mismanaged their property, for us, POOR Magazine, and all the small businesses and non-profits who work in our building and face eviction from the new developer who bought our building and three others down the street for the sole act of speculation and so-called redevelopment and for all the poor people of color who are endlessly displaced, gentrified and removed from our homes, our neighborhoods, our land.

As a houseless and evicted child, struggling with my poor mama in eviction court to stay housed and throughout our loca vida there was never a time that I felt strong like Jose. I was terrified, I was demeaned. I was tired. And I was only a teenager and young adult.

"Speculation is an act of urban terrorism," James Tracy, a revolutionary poet, researcher and housing advocate spoke at the vigil and went on to encourage the crowd of over 50 people huddled around Jose's rickety steps leading up to his small flat and papered with the "documents that prove Jose's landlords' guilt" to realize that it is necessary sometimes to "stand in the way" of the laws and systems like the Sheriffs department to ensure that our communities don't completely get destroyed and dismantled. He went on to describe seeing Jose on the bus in the City always talking optimistically, never considering giving up the fight and saying one of his favorite comments, " I have the best lawyer, God!

"Everyday Jose pushes us to struggle more," Eric Quesada, one of the organizers of Sunday's vigil, spoke about the struggle to encourage and fight for Jose's case Eric went on to explain that the advocates have gotten an extension but only for a week and they are hoping for more. He concluded with a request to people in the crowd to contact Sheriff Hennesey's office to demand a longer extension for Jose Morales's case

St Peters' Housing Committee, Delores Street Communitiy services, Mission SRO collaborative organized the vigil while other organizations like POOR Magazine and Planning for Elders committed to being there for Jose as long as it took.

Luscious tamales and chocolate were served by organizers with candles to the shivering but determined crowd. At 7:00 pm the Canal 14 (channel 14) truck arrived and the cameras zoomed in on Jose. He stood up again- his small frame rising up above the crowd in the twilight, "Sigue Adelante- Continue moving forward- i Will Not give up !" Jose's voice traveled up into the heavens, directly into his lawyers office.


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