Today I share with you a post I originally wrote for the now closed Los Angeles Moms Blog, exactly one year ago today. Even as I cut and paste and tweak something that “I’ve already done”. It’s as if I’m slammed backwards one year as I struggled to write this. If it weren’t for Jamiel’s aunt, Althea Shaw, patiently speaking with me over several phone calls, reliving her own tragedy with someone she didn’t know….I wouldn’t have gotten this piece done. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Ms. Shaw on a scorching hot day this past August in Beverly Hills at a political rally. I rolled Lulu in her stroller through the crowds looking for her. When we finally connected, we hugged like old friends.
My friend Althea Shaw is taking action, right now, right here in Los Angeles. She is running for Los Angeles City Council for District 10 to unseat incumbent Herb Wesson who has done nothing to protect young black men from becoming victims of illegal alien gang members. It’s clear Herb Wesson has an agenda that does not include following the law and/or protecting US citizens. In fact, in April 2008, when the Shaw family was planning to go before the LA City Council to speak about Jamiel’s Law, Herb Wesson sent out one of his representatives in advance to offer Jamiel’s father, Jamiel Sr., a “position on a board”—a bribe to get them to back off. Then when the Shaws actually arrived at the City Council meeting, Herb Wesson escorted them into his chambers to keep them from being able to speak during the Public Comment section of the meeting. He warned the Shaws that, “They were messing with a hornet’s nest.” It was ONLY due to the crowd assembled chanting “let them speak, let them speak” that the City Council was embarrassed into re-opening the Public Comments. I urge everyone who votes or knows anyone who votes in District 10 to get the word out to vote for Althea Shaw for Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Let’s take back our city with honorable, ethical people who look out for what’s best and do what is right.
I now present Jamiel Andre Shaw II 12/22/1990 – 3/2/2008, originally posted on The Los Angeles Moms Blog, March 2, 2010
Jamiel “Jas” Shaw was on his was home from the Beverly Center exactly two years ago today. He jumped off a city bus with a buddy a few blocks from his house near the 10 Freeway, said goodbye and started to walk the couple of blocks to his house. His dad called him on the way to confirm their plans to head out and buy him a new pair of running shoes. He was a standout member of the varsity track and football teams at Los Angeles High School. That morning Jas had participated in an invitation only weekend football training program. A program that prepared top high school football players for college football and even the NFL. Scouts from UCLA, Stanford and Rutgers had inquired about him. It looked like Jas was really going places. Sadly, he did not make it home that afternoon.
Three doors from his house, Jamiel Andre Shaw II was murdered. Shot twice, although there were three entry wounds. The first bullet went through his hand and then entered his stomach. The second bullet hit Jamiel’s head. Jamiel’s alleged murderer, Pedro Espinoza, an illegal alien gang member from Mexico, belongs to the 18th Street Gang. Espinoza had been released from jail on a firearms charge the day before he murdered Jamiel. The Shaw Family has been continually thwarted in its demands to know how this was allowed to happen.
Jamiel’s mom, Army Sgt. Anita Shaw was serving in Iraq at the time of her son’s murder. This aspect has been the most painful for me in preparing this piece. I cannot even put myself in her boots. Fighting for freedom in Iraq and receiving the news that her son was killed on his way home from the mall. Jas also left a little brother, Thomas, now ten.
You’d think that a young, promising black teenager, killed by an illegal alien gang member would get all kinds of attention from leaders of the black community. The Shaw Family couldn’t even get a return call from Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. How about the elected officials representing the Shaw’s district? Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council member Herb Wesson, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas have done nothing but throw up roadblocks. Their Congresswoman, Diane Watson has also ignored them. Clearly, there’s a mighty, mighty big elephant in the living room.
Where can we place the blame for the circumstances that led to Jamiel’s murder? One prime culprit is Special Order 40. A law put in place by the Los Angeles City Council in 1979 that prevents Los Angeles Police from obtaining immigration status from detained suspects. This law was upheld in 2006 when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa promised to make Los Angeles a “Sanctuary City for Illegal Aliens”. Let’s take a look at Pedro Espinoza and his 18th Street Gang. According to a 2005 report by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), “an estimated 80 percent of [the 18th Street] gang's members [in California] are illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America."
When Pedro Espinoza was arrested, among the tattoos recorded on his body were “BK” on his neck representing “Black Killer.” On October 30, 2007, the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles announced he had indicted members of "The Florencia 13, a street gang," for "shootings of African-Americans in neighborhoods the gang claimed to control." Mara Salvatrucha (MS 13) is another large gang founded in LA and now operating in other parts of the US and Central America. It is clear that these gangs, moreover, do not limit their “code” to "traditional" crimes like extortion and drug-running: they endorse ethnic cleansing.
Some may ask: Well, is Jamiel’s murder an isolated case? I’m afraid not. Just last month, Ronald Barron, a black anti-gang activist with Ameri-I-Can was killed by a Latino gang member when he tried to stop him from tagging in the 5500 block of Pico. On April 17, 2009, Marquis LeBlanc, an 18 year old black man was chased down a Pomona street by a group of Latinos, suspected gang members as reported by witnesses, and murdered. Here I ask, what of the numerous unsolved murders in Los Angeles? I don’t want to stir controversy unnecessarily, but can we get some answers? How many unsolved murders of young black men are there in Los Angeles? In a phone conversation with Jamiel’s Aunt, Althea Shaw, she stated that when Sheriff Lee Baca was asked this question in a news conference, he evaded answering.
We have a class of US citizens, young black men, who are being targeted by illegal alien criminal gangs and our politicians and law enforcement officials are unwilling to do anything about it. The sad irony is that just a few months after Jamiel’s murder, our country elected our first black president. President Obama, what say you about protecting our young black men?
For the past two years, the Shaw Family has been working very hard to get information, answers and to get Jamiel’s Law on the ballot. The ballot initiative has been spearheaded by 2009 mayoral candidate Walter Moore, who gave Villaraigosa legitimate competition last year. Jamiel’s Law, if passed, would permit Los Angeles police officers to arrest gang members for breaking U.S. immigration law. It would supersede Special Order 40. To get information about The Shaw Family’s fight, please visit JamielsLaw.com and follow them on Twitter.com/GoJamielsLawGo
The Shaw Family invites the community to a Candlelight Vigil to remember Jas, tonight at the site of Jamiel’s murder, 2136 5th Ave. Los Angeles 90018
Photos courtesy of the Shaw Family
An original post for The Los Angeles Moms Blog
After Elizabeth takes a deep breath, she can be found over at her personal blog, Traded My BMW for a Minivan.
Comments (These are the original comments from the post on the LA Moms Blog)
Thank you for posting this. It's very well written and I'm glad to know about it. It's very sad. Best wishes to the family and for their efforts to stop this horrible violence, too.
Kim Tracy Prince said...
I'm feeling physical pain in my chest as I read this. I remember when this happened and I cried and cried for the lost life, the lost big brother, the lost son, the lost friend. You ask tough questions. I have no faith at all in our city or state elected officials to legislate the purchase of office supplies for schools, much less pass meaningful laws, so it seems to me there is less hope in that direction and more in community activism on the ground. Nonetheless, I hope this post gets some local attention and I will promote it myself.
Damn you. Now I'm sad.
Eunice C. said...
Once again, I find myself in support of vigilante justice. So sad.
erin m said...
so horrifying. really makes me sick.
i am disgusted by our mayor.
my hubby's cousin was able to make a bit of a difference in Orange County....www.allanmansoor.com.
Sarah Auerswald said...
This is so frightening and sad for so many reasons: the injustice and the lack of compassion at all levels of government. Thanks for telling the story.
carrie meadows said...
Is there a petition for the ballot, or an online donation site set up?
Elizabeth Peterson said in reply to carrie meadows...
Hi Carrie, thanks for your interest. This info is on the home page of JamielsLaw.com
To donate financially and/or mail funds directly to the Jamiel's Law Committee account.
The mailing address for the account is:
The Committee to Pass Jamiel's Law
USC Federal Credit Union
1025 W. 34th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90089
for further info:
Official Website http://isupportjamielslaw.com/
Twitter Page - http://twitter.com/GoJamielsLawGo
Yvonne Condes said...
I remember when this happened. It’s a horrible and senseless tragedy. I can’t imagine the pain the Shaw family has gone through these last two years.
I don’t know, however, if Jamiel’s Law is the answer. If it becomes a law it will give the LAPD the right to arrest anyone who looks like an illegal immigrant gang member. That means any young Latino can be arrested for simply looking like they could possibly be illegal. It will stop illegals from coming forward when they have information about the perpetrator of a violent crime for fear of being deported. It’s racial profiling and that’s not the answer.
According to the LA Times, Special Order 40 wasn’t a factor in Espinosa’s release the day before the murder because he was arrested and released outside of LAPD jurisdiction. But that’s beside the point. I think the problem with gang violence has as much to do with the LAPD as with illegal immigration. There are not enough police officers for a city of this size. There are not enough resources in these gang-ridden communities to give young people any other choice.
Something has to be done to stop the gang violence that’s terrorizing this city. And we need to elect officials who are willing to do everything they can to make that happen.
I hope the Shaw family NEVER GIVES UP! Keep asking questions and demanding answers! Use the press to get them to be accountable for this very preventable tragedy!
Please check out www.numbersusa.com There are all kinds of facts and information on illegal immigration on this website. Also, on www.fairus.org We MUST speak out and DEMAND from our politicians to build the border fence and to crack down on illegals.
E-Verify is what is needed nationally. E-Verify is currently a volunteer program that employers use to "match" the documentation a new hire gives (only used after hiring). No match, no job. If this were implemented, within months, illegals would be self deporting. No job, no reason to be here! Americans like Jamiel Shaw should be able to walk down the street at any hour, and not have to worry that an illegal gang banger is going to kill you! God bless The Shaw family, and thank you Mrs. Shaw for serving your country. DON'T GIVE UP THE FIGHT!
thanks for posting this. My heart goes out to the family of that poor young man. How brave of them to be putting their energies into something positive.
Michelle T Griffith said...
WOW...thanks for sharing. I'm really just about speechless. My heart just sank and I'm thinking of their family.
I'm sorry, but not all Latinos are murderers, just as not all African American . If the Jamiel's law passes .. Simply put is that the Shaw family is encouraging racial profiling. I understand that they have hate in their hearts for a senseless act of ONE person, but there is no need to generalize all Latinos!!
How many times do African Americans murder Latinos or Americans ? And simply you don't see us all up in the media to try to pass a law to arrest every black person who walks down the street that may look like they are either from the crip or blood gang that sag their pants past their butts just to have them sent back to Africa ! Do I sound ridiculous ? Well, that's how this whole thing is being brought about.
To all: NOT all Latinos are Mexican . That's the ignorance of an uneduated individual . Read
about history before assuming and just because we speak Spanish does not mean they are Mexican !! I know that the famIly wants justice, but racial profiling is not the answer. And for Mr. Shaw to call Mr. Ridley Thomas a sell out simply because of his decision on not supporting the Arizona law on racial profiling is just plain wrong.
I just hope that the Shaw family's hearts heal and that it was a very unfortunate situation ,
but wanting to do is simply wrong.. Do they not remember the 1960's era.
It's a shame if they have forgotten on how it feels to be discriminated ?
And with that I have nothing else to say!
BlkWmSpeaks said in reply to Sickofignorantpeople...
First of all, need I define the word "INVASION" for you? Cuz that's exactly what's happening here .... illegal aliens are crossing our borders by the thousand each day.
So, it's not 'racial profiling' at all....it's PROTECTION for the Americans to enforce EXISTING immigration laws. According to federal law....immigrants are required to establish their immigration status [upon request...in other words....show "papers".....this is FEDERAL LAW .... "federal law" that "unfortunately" hasn't been enforced.
Likewise, Americans must show driver's license, car registration and car insurance "upon" request. What's the difference?? Why shouldn't Latinos show "papers", especially known gang members?
The illegal alien problem has gotten waaaay out of hand, it's "beyond time" to enforce existing federal immigration laws, however, if you have the necessary "papers" to establish your status..........what's the problem?
The majority of illegal aliens crossing the borders ARE Latinos [from Mexico]....there's no getting around that FACT.
The issue isn't about 'tit for tat' or "how many African Americans have kill Latinos" [as you so IMMATURELY put it] ... the issue is whether or not the Latino doing the crime is an "illegal alien".
Americans can't go to Mexico and do what the hispanics are doing here. please. Buy a clue. I'd rather the police stop every single suspicious Latino in town and enforce existing "federal immigration laws," if necessary...... than risk more loss of black life....our black youth are being gunned down by mexican "illegal alien" gang members [who, openingly, admit to ethnic cleansing].
Are we [Black Americans] supposed to stand by while these people kill MORE of our children....our people???? You must done lost your freakin' mind.
So, no, it's not racial profiling.....it's PROTECTION for americans [& black people ARE Americans] from INVASION .....from those who seek to kill us and our children. If anyone is ignorant, it's YOU......cuz obviously "you" don't know "your" history or federal law.
Every other country has rules, regulations, policies, and LAWS that are set in place to protect its citizens.....the US government has a moral & constitutional obligation to protect Americans from this [current] invasion from mexico.
And, before I forget.......YOU don't get to compare or minimize the plight of Black Americans [blk ppl. were FORCED here]........ to Latinos who come here "willingly" and ILLEGALLY on their own accord....those same Latinos can GO BACK TO MEXICO, if they don't like the laws here.
Go back to your own corrupted Mexican government [with it's hypocritical president]........cuz we all know.....the immigration laws in Mexico are a lot worse AND much harsher & strict. Yet, ya'll come 'here' and complain.
I ask you, dear readers, what's wrong with this picture? "eyeroll"
W. Martin said...
Jamiel “Jas” Shaw
I found this by accident and it brings me to tears.
To the Shaw family: I know your lives are forever changed but hope you have found strength through the pain. Jamile sounds like he was such a light with such a promising future.
I wish our government would listen to the will of the people. I believe they are all pawns of corporate greed. How can they see what is happening and not care? It's beyond me but money is the root of all evil.
We need a revolution.