Trumpets blared, drums beat and young and old activists took to the streets on Saturday in a memorial for social activist, beat poet and journalist John Ross, who died January 18, 2011, at the age of 72.

Ross inspired many by tearing up his draft card during the Vietnam War, acting as a human shield during the invasion of Iraq, and bringing a jar of cockroaches to City Hall to protest the Health Department’s inattention to the Mission, and his memorial drew a large crowd to a service at United Mission Presbyterian Church, followed by a parade to Cafe La Boheme, one of Ross’s local hangouts.

Ross died of liver cancer at Lake Pátzcuaro in Mexico, where he had lived on and off for the past 50 years. San Francisco, Mexico City, Humboldt and New York City hosted memorial services for Ross, who divided his time across all four places.

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