On this day one year ago, Denver Police killed the beloved Jessie Hernandez after just turning 17 years old. Reviewing the police statements and news reports about what happened on this day only serves to remind us of the ways the police repeatedly modified their version of what happened while mainstream / for profit media served as a megaphone for the police department's iterations. The appalling coverage aimed to immediately blame Jessie for her own death. This media also contributed to the internalization of the negative messages that transmit into the community, young people, and especially those who share identities and experiences with Jessie. This is a death no mother, father, sibling, friend or community member should have to endure--violence by the officers with badges that absolve them and create an entire law enforcement culture of impunity.
It took days for the public to acknowledge and recognize Jessie as their fullest selves, as a queer and gender non-conforming Mexican@. Jessie’s whole story begins where all our stories are rooted, with our ancestors whose legacy and resilience against racism and colonialism lives within us. Jessie’s legacy lives within those who have been left behind to carry on their memory.
After a year of pain, hurt, resilience, and work to build up support for the Hernandez family, we are reminded yet again of the efforts of the City of Denver and its law enforcement agencies to treat the most policed communities as disposable. Jessie was the eldest sibling of their family and brought love and pride into their lives. They lived unapologetically.
We remember Jessie Hernandez. We remember every life DPD has abused the people in this city and our demands read:
Jessie, we serve you and all our relatives that live with you in spirit world as our ancestors. With our hearts open, we call on all to serve our deepest purposes, to liberate our people. State sanctioned genocide and violence ends in our generation. This is the will of our ancestors. Unite. Palabra. Axe.
Jessie Hernandez was a young queer Latin@ who was murdered by the Denver Police Department. On Monday, January 26th, Jessie Hernandez was in a car with four other young people in a Park Hill neighborhood alley. Media has reported that two officers from the Denver Police Department came to the spot where 17-year-old Jessie and her friends were reportedly in a stolen vehicle - the police used this as an excuse to fire towards the car full of young people, emptying an entire clip and ultimately killing Jessie. A video of the incident shows Jessie’s lifeless body laying face-down on the ground as the police handcuff Jessie and perform a search, while failing to provide any first-aid or display any care to avoid aggravating the fatal injuries. Witnesses describe watching Jessie’s body get dragged on the ground and as they pulled out a phone to capture the events the police yelled out “Don’t you dare!” Witnesses on the scene recall the cop shooting at Jessie through the driver’s side window before the rest of the shots were fired. The so-called reasons given by the police for this murder can never justify why Jessie is no longer with her family, friends, and community.
Buried Seedz of Resistance’s (BSEEDZ) legacy begins with our queer and trans ancestors that survived in order for us to be here today. In 2009, queer youth from all corners of Colorado gathered to create a community to mobilize effectively for and by queer youth. BSEEDZ formed as SOL (formerly CAVP) encouraged and followed youth leadership in the organization.
BSEEDZ was founded out of the need for spaces that center the experiences, leadership, expertise, and knowledge of queer and trans youth of color. Our space has always been youth-led and directed because no one can better tell our stories, manifest our healing and vision our solutions than us. By tapping into our creative practices, connecting with our own cultures and identities, we are able to tell a full story of what it means to exist in this world as queer, trans, gender non-conforming, two-spirit & multi-identity creatures.
Survivors Organizing for Liberation envisions a Colorado where Transgender, Gender non-conforming, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer people have the power to determine the conditions of their lives, are valued for who they are, take responsibility for each other's safety, and live their lives free from violence.
We seek to live in a society where all sexualities, gender expressions, and gender identities are embraced and celebrated as valuable identities that make our communities vibrant. SOL aspires to create a culture of liberation where people are inspired to heal the wounds of injustice and end the cycles that continue them.