[News] Bill Sorro, Presente!

Anti-Imperialist News 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."
By
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

522 Valencia
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 431-1918
center at politicaleducation.org
www.politicaleducation.org




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