[News] Bill Sorro, Presente!
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 7 11:27:07 EDT 2007
We at CPE honor and celebrate the life of Bill
Sorro, a comrade that will truly be missed.
Bill Sorro, Presente!
San Francisco has lost a precious treasure. Not
the San Francisco of downtown business interests,
or of the dot-com craze, or of the waves of
"young urban professionals" moving into the
city's overpriced live-work lofts or
condominiums. No, we're talking of the San
Francisco struggling, on a day-to-day basis, to
maintain its very existence: of Pilipino families
and elderly in South of Market, of African
American residents in the Fillmore, of tenants in
SRO hotels, and of immigrant Latina/o workers in
the Mission. In the early morning hours of
Monday, August 27th, this San Francisco lost veteran activist Bill Sorro.
Bill passionately fought for this "other" San Francisco.
Born in 1939, Bill Sorro grew up in San
Francisco's working class and predominantly
African American Fillmore District, long before
working class folk were pushed out by Justin
Herman's notorious redevelopment schemes. Coming
from a family that suffered as a result of
anti-miscegenation laws [his Pilipino father was
arrested and jailed for marrying a white woman],
Bill consistently sought to connect the struggle
against class exploitation to that of racial oppression.
Nowadays people in progressive circles often
discuss ways to decrease ones footprint in the
world; it can truthfully be said, however, that
Bill Sorro left a tremendous footprint in
peoples' lives and in their collective struggles.
Recently, he became an inspirational anchor for a
growing housing justice movement in San
Francisco, from the Mission Anti-displacement
Coalition to the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN).
Compañero Bill, however, leaves a much deeper and
longer legacy: most obviously, for Pilipinos (as
a leader of the famed International Hotel
struggle, as a member of the Kalayaan Collective
and, later, of KDP-the Union of Democratic
Pilipinos, as a founder of the Manilatown
Heritage Foundation, and as mentor for countless
Pilipino youth), but equally for communities of
color in general, for the working class in
particular (as a long-time union activist and
committed socialist), and ultimately for all that
suffer and struggle against the indignities of
oppression and exploitation ... whether it be
here in the belly of the beast or across the
globe. Standing in solidarity with anyone
fighting for justice, Bill embodied the
often-quoted, but rarely lived, notion that the
essence of any true revolutionary is a profound
love for the people! And, man, Bill loved the
people! Right on, brother! All Power to the People!
He stands in that long tradition of individuals
like Philip Vera Cruz, Paul Robeson, Dolores
Huerta, and many others who made enormous
contributions to history. But Bill made history
by believing in and nurturing the leadership of
others, by supporting the insights and wisdom,
the creativity and resourcefulness of everyday
people. He believed power truly existed in the
people themselves; they need not look outwards
for salvation, only into the mirror. Bill made
societies most discarded people-the elderly, the
homeless, the immigrant, queer and transgendered
people, individuals with substance abuse issues,
youth of color-count and believe in themselves.
Bill leaves behind a tight knit family-his wife
Giuliana, who he met on the 2nd Venceremos
Brigade to Cuba and subsequently married at the
I-Hotel, and children Desu, Daphne, Danae,
Django, Giulio, Joachin, and Jordan-as well as
one that expands to include literally hundreds of
community activists and friends, all who feel a
part of the Sorro family. This broader family-one
that includes many who may never have even met
him-continue to organize and fight to realize
Bill's dream: a world in which people matter more
than profit and property. And we collectively
dedicate ourselves to fight for that future
described in Bill's favorite song: Donny
Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free."
Jason Ferreira, Assistant Professor, College of
Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University; and
Eric Quezada, Mission Anti-Displacement
Coalition, and Executive Director, Dolores Street Community Services.
The Center for Political Education: Dedicated to
building strong movements and the left through
education, analysis, theory, dialogue and activism
San Francisco, CA 94110
center at politicaleducation.org
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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