On Saturday, Oct. 17, about 120 people gathered to memorialize Andy Lopez, a 13-year-old who was killed by a Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy nearly seven years ago, and to support a Sonoma County ballot measure aimed at strengthening oversight of the Sheriff’s Office.
The memorial began with a car caravan around Santa Rosa and concluded in Roseland with performances by local Latinx and Black musicians, many of whom knew the teen. Measure P, the ballot measure which attendees supported, would strengthen and add funding to the county’s Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO), which arose out of the work of a county task force established in response to Lopez’s death.
- Chelsea Kurnick
- Anette Moreno sings at the Andy Lopez Celebration of Life.
The audience gathered throughout the parking lot at 777 Sebastopol Rd., which is now home to a mural of Lopez. The lineup included Anette Moreno, Kayatta, Los Rascuaches, Richie Bridges, Kurupi and DJs Chill-E and Chiquita. Attendees lit candles surrounding a flower arrangement that formed Lopez’s initials.
Tornado says that she could not have organized the event without the collaboration of Concepción Dominguez, whom she calls the Mama Bear of Roseland.
“Concepción leads with love and intent and a lot of times we forget that activism starts with community and community members like her,” Tornado explained.
Dominguez, who is a friend of the Lopez family, tends to Andy’s Unity Park, which opened in 2018 to commemorate the teen.
Karym Sanchez of North Bay Organizing Project spoke to the crowd and performed with his band Los Rascuaches. He pointed out that Lopez’s friends are of voting age now.
“Let’s show [the county] what we can do,” said Sanchez. “Let’s show them that Yes on P is something that the community wants. We want the police to be held accountable and to be transparent when they’re doing messed up things to our community. Literally killing our babies.”
- Chelsea Kurnick
Regarding Measure P, Tornado told the Bohemian, “I think the youth are hopeful but tired. A lot of the young people who showed up to the first few protests for George Floyd this year were Andy’s friends. And they’ve been intimidated. They’ve been silenced.”
“Yes on P” signs were distributed during the memorial and supporters were encouraged to volunteer in support of the measure by signing up to call voters.