Roughly 20 people silently made their way from the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist at 15th and Julian Streets Friday evening to Mission Police Station. There, they lit a candle and prayed for Amilcar Pérez Lopez, his family, and others affected by violence.
It is their way of remembering Pérez Lopez,who was shot and killed by San Francisco police officers. In the four months since the incident, members of an interfaith group have organized twice a month “night walks,” through the neighborhood to visit shooting sites and Mission Station, but most of all to remember Pérez Lopez.
“We remember Amilcar, we remember why he came to this country,” said Father Robert Smith on Friday night, adding that Pérez Lopez had come to the United States to work to provide for his family in Guatemala.
“We ask you to hold and bless and comfort his family, and we ask you to hold and bless and comfort us as well,” Smith continued.
Other members of the circle prayed for the officers involved in Pérez Lopez’ shooting, calling them “part of a broken system” rather than an enemy.
Bill Simpich, an attorney who lives on the street where Pérez Lopez was shot and is part of the legal team bringing a case against the city, voiced another prayer for those who knew and loved Amilcar “in a time where there is still no resolution,” and for the safety of eyewitnesses and neighbors.
In a display of solidarity with the victims of the shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the group closed their evening by joining hands and singing “We Shall Overcome.”
“We just want to keep this on the front burner,” Smith said.
Too often the cases of those shot by police are forgotten as months go by, Smith said, and added, “We just can’t let that happen.”