a campaign led by
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
FREE VALLEJO is a multi-racial campaign to end gun violence comprised of young people, survivors of gun violence, impacted families of police violence, and Californians who are coming together to hold the City of Vallejo accountable and demand that the City develop a safer and healthier community by addressing poverty rather than criminalization.
Gun violence, which includes police shootings, is a public health crisis in Vallejo. Since 2011, Vallejo, a city of approximately 122,000 people with a police force of about 100 officers, has seen 16 fatal shootings involving city officials. During that same period in nearby San Francisco, a city with a population more than seven times the size of Vallejo, the police department has been involved in 22 fatal shootings since 2011.
In addition, five of the department’s officers have been involved in at least two shootings since 2016. After the February 2019 fatal shooting of young rapper Willie McCoy, activists and community members renewed their pleas for accountability and justice. The majority of those shot and killed by Vallejo officials have been working class Black and Latino men, people with disabilities, and queer people.
In February, the Vallejo City Council voted to approve the purchase of a piece of property on the city’s waterfront for $13.45 million as a location to build a new police department building. The Vallejo City Manager said that the existing building for the police department requires a lot of repairs and should be replaced. Meanwhile, communities of color are being systematically over-policed while also being displaced by rising rent and gentrification.
Gun violence diminishes the public health of our communities and inflicts insurmountable pain and trauma on the families and survivors. We must repair harm towards the community while decreasing the core drivers of crime. Our taxpayer dollars should be invested in mental health care, trauma recovery, efficient transportation systems, youth jobs programming, and affordable public housing, not another police building.
The City of Vallejo must immediately fire and charge all city officials involved with the officer-involved shootings of Willie McCoy, Angel Ramos, Ronell Foster, Jeremiah Moore, Anton Barrett, Mario Romero, and other victims of gun violence.
Redirect the $13.45 million earmarked for an additional police department building into resources for effective gun violence prevention and trauma recovery programs to address years of pain caused by the City of Vallejo’s past and current policies.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Gun violence, policing, and criminalization are the primary sites of racial profiling, police violence, police surveillance, and the mass incarceration of Black and Brown communities, trans and queer communities, working class people, and people with disabilities. This violence is compounded when these communities are also denied access to housing, health care, transportation, healthy food, and other basic human needs.
WHO ARE WE?
Million Hoodies Movement for Justice is a human rights organization dedicated to ending gun violence and reimagining safety and justice for all communities. MHJ partners with leaders and advocates to advance state reform through advocacy, public education, coalition-building, and research. MHJ also brings together students, elected officials, and survivors of gun violence to advance policies that help communities most harmed by the criminal justice system. We promote strategies to stop the cycle of violence and build healthy communities.