Sunday, November 22, 2009

Vigil for Lopez Mercado

Tonight thousands of people hit the streets in memory of Jorge Lopez Steven Mercado. As I saw video of the people lighting candles and various people make statements, I began to feel warm-hearted. To think a man could be killed in a tiny mountain road in Puerto Rico, and thousands of people around the country could stand in solidarity with his death. I hope that this will stand as a wake-up call to the Puerto Rican Community. The time has long past for us to look at the homophobia and patriarchy in our culture and this despicable incident, affords us that opportunity. I thank everyone for taking notice of this event and standing up and saying Enough is Enough!

That said, I would like to caution people in regard to the cries for justice to be served. There has been a strong rallying cry for Juan A. Martinez Matos to be convicted under hate crimes law. This may very well be a necessary approach. However I believe that it is a flawed objective to expect to receive justice from the criminal Injustice system. Martinez Matos, claims that part of the reason for his actions was a result of being raped in prison. I obviously to not trust a word that he says, nor do I think anything that has happened to him could possibly serve as an explanation for his grotesque actions. That's not the point. The point is that his time in prison didn't make anyone safer. And that's what prisons are. They are incubators for horrific crimes among many other things. If you look at people like Phillip Garrido and Martinez Matos they share one thing in common, they served time in prison. Prisons do not make us safer. In fact I believe that prisons make the streets more dangerous. I believe most people that enter prison for smaller crimes, get out and graduate to larger ones because of the experiences they have being locked up.

So, in your rage and anger, I expect that you will want to see Juan A. Martinez Matos held accountable, and I assume he will be. But once he is locked up, possibly for life, do not believe for one second that justice was served. The only justice that can come for Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, is for our society to challenge patriarchy and heterosexism. To do this you can't reach out to the Criminal Injustice System. It is one of the most patriarchal and heterosexist institutions ever created. As Audre Lorde tell us, "you can't dismantle the masters house with the masters tools." I don't know if I always believe her but I certainly do in this instance. In fact I can't think of another quote that would be more appropriate.

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