Day of the Dead, remembering the fallen

This is the time of year when in Mexico (and throughout the world) we honor our loved ones who have died.  This is an especially poignant holiday in Oaxaca where over 30 people have been killed for their work demanding human rights and justice just since 2006.  For many of us from the United States the murder of solidarity activists, Brad Will and Sali Grace resonates deeply.  We remember and honor all those who have fallen struggling for justice, their work and the tragedy of their deaths will not be forgotten.

Read letters from the families of Brad Will and Sali Grace and other Day of the Dead activities…

In San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico activists passed out about a hundred copies of the following letters in Spanish  during Day of the Dead.  They set up an altar for
our fallen comrades.  Sali and Brad’s pictures were up with Subcomandante
Pedro, Comandante Ramona, Andres Aubry, Digna Ochoa, Che Guevara, and many
others.
Marcella “Sali” Grace Eiler

September 30, 1987–September 15, 2008

Sali is loved and cherished as a daughter to Barbara Healy and John Eiler, a
stepdaughter to Catherine Eiler, a sister to Claire Eiler, Cavan Telford,
and Erin Telford.

Sali was a citizen of our planet.  Sali believed that the earth and the
animals and people who inhabit it have the right to grow and thrive, and
deserve respect.

Sali was young, beautiful, had a powerful heart and a deep passion for
justice.

– Sali supported animal rights, and fought against cruelty in animal
experimentation.
– Sali worked with “Food Not Bombs” in a number of North American cities,
recovering food and turning it into hot meals available to anyone.  She
believed food is a right, not a privilege.
– Sali worked with “Los Sobravivientes”, teaching English to Central
American torture survivors who had come to live in Oregon.
– Sali worked with “Cascadia Forest Defenders” saving the last of the old
growth tree forests in Oregon from logging.
– Sali contributed to “Indymedia”, a collective of independent media
organizations and journalists offering grassroots coverage of news events in
communities throughout the world.
– Sali worked with “No Mas Muertes”, a humanitarian movement that
provides water, food and medical assistance to migrants walking across the
Arizona desert.
– Sali worked with “CIPO-RFM”, a movement that promotes peaceful
co-existance of autonomous, self sufficient communities and indigenous
people, and defends the territorial, economic, social, political and
cultural rights of those communities and individuals.

The brief outline above highlights issues that spoke to Sali.  These are a
piece of the whole.  Sali was so much more.  She was a singer, a banjo
player, a dance teacher and performer, a band member of Cinzana, an
accomplished artist in North America and Mexico.   A wonderful cook and
herbalist, a beloved daughter, sister and loyal friend to many.  An
inspiring humanitarian, a courageous woman of warmth, laughter and endless
energy who believed anything was possible.  Any change achievable.  Any goal
possible.

Marcella “Sali” Grace Eiler was raped and murdered on September 15, 2008.
Our family and friends throughout North America and Mexico deeply mourn her
loss.  We feel the outpouring of love and support coming from Sali’s people
in Oaxaca, in Mexico, and across North America.  We appreciate all that you
have done and will do in Sali’s memory.

* Justice must be served in Sali’s cruel and tragic death.

*********************

October 27 will mark the 2nd anniversary of Brad’s death, just before the
Day of the Dead celebration of fallen loved ones. We would like to take this
opportunity to send our love and support to all of the other families who
have lost loved ones and found themselves, like our family, at the mercy of
the impunity that exists in Mexico.

Our family misses Brad desperately and his wonderful sense of humor. We are
so proud of the his legacy, his efforts to help the downtrodden and his hope
to give a voice to the voiceless.

Brad was filming in Oaxaca with the intention of doing a documentary based
on the situation there. He was trying to expose the deaths that occurred to
demonstrators and the lack of accountability by the authorities. What he was
attempting to document is exactly what happened to him. He was shot by the
paramilitaries and, since then, the authorities have attempted over and over
again to ignore the facts and blame the innocent. The “investigation” that
has been carried out at both the state and federal levels has treated the
case (and Brad’s life) with callous disregard. From the outset, there has
been a concerted effort to “drop” the case for lack of “evidence”.  *
EVIDENCE* – take a look at his video!! Is there any question where the
shots came from? And now, to add insult to injury, the prosecutors are
attempting to frame innocent people for his death. Many of those people that
were near him at the time he was shot not only knew him, and loved him, and
respected him BUT ALSO put their own lives at risk in an attempt to save
him. We will not rest (nor will Brad) until justice is served!!

We thank you for your commitment to truth and we commend your efforts to
remember those that gave their lives for their beliefs in justice.

The Will family

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