The following is an introduction to Gaudencio Fernandez' Liberty Wall and a report on his visit to the Los Angeles area.
We first heard about Gaudencio Fernandez when we got an email accusing us of instigating trouble in Manassas, Virginia. We’re headquartered in Los Angeles and we were a little puzzled by this. We next got a Google report from the Google Alerts that we subscribe to for “Mexica Movement”. We saw this report by white supremacists on a man who had put up a wall in Manassas, Virginia with words, attitude, and defiance against the crimes of colonialism. The wall we later learned was referred to as the Liberty Wall by the people who supported the wall. The text on the wall is of course a signature of the way that we do things at the Mexica Movement, so it was understandable that white supremacists would recognize the Liberty Wall as something that we would be involved with or would have influenced. Indirectly we did influence the wall.
We quickly learned more of this man, Gaudencio Fernandez, who had placed the following statement on a wall on his property in downtown Manassas, Virginia:
This was a very important historical action. We decided to get involved with the Liberty Wall and Gaudencio Fernandez.
Gaudencio Fernandez is a courageous man who lives in Manassas, Virginia. He has a small business and owns his home and other property in the town of Manassas. He and his family have undergone a great transformation due to the heightened white supremacist attitudes of the town of Manassas.
In July of 2007 the town passed ordinance 287g which is an agreement of the city to work hand in hand with ICE in handling "illegal immigration". This of course means that the police can stop anyone who they feel is "illegal" and demand proof of "legal residence". This ordinance has in effect meant that anyone who is not Anglo Saxon or white in appearance is now suspect of being "an illegal".
Mr. Fernandez was outraged at the audacity of this historically white supremacist town to now add 287g to their repertoire of racist terrorism against the Indigenous Mexican and "Central American" population of Manassas and the state of Virginia.
He immediately set up a wall on his property from the remnants of a house that was being torn down. The property was located in the downtown section of Manassas. On that wall he wrote a reminder to the city of Manassas of its history of racist actions beginning with the theft of Nican Tlaca (Indigenous) land and the killings and massacres of the local Nican Tlaca of Virginia and what is called the United States.
This act upset the KKK factor of Manassas to no end. They quickly firebombed the wall at night. Mr. Fernandez immediately rebuilt it, but with even stronger language to the text. When their intimidation and terrorism failed, they again attempted to destroy it by tearing most of it down, at night in the KKK fashion. But again Mr. Fernandez rebuilt the wall with even stronger language.
This war of truth that Mr. Fernandez was waging had touched the nerves of even some of the few liberal residents of Manassas. The wall became known as the Liberty Wall by civil rights advocates. But again, the KKK hoods went on but this time it was on the city council who demanded that the wall come down in language that more or less said, "Bring down that wall because of violation of ordinances, lack of permits, or anything else that is necessary to bring that wall down". An order to arrest Mr. Fernandez for failing to bring down the wall was issued.
The situation was taken to the courtroom but it became legally complicated and the wall stayed up for one year in the face of all of Virginia, the birthplace of white supremacy.
Well, there's a lot more detail to this story, but you can read between the lines of how this affected Mr. Fernandez and his family. This is a courageous man. This is an honorable man. This is a hero for our people.
He came to Los Angeles from October 21 to October 26, 2008 at the invitation of the Mexica Movement. We arranged a couple of lectures at a university and a college, plus meetings with local community leaders. The following is a summary of his visit:
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
11:50 Arrival at Los Angeles International Airport.
Gaudencio Fernandez arrives from Manassas, Virginia (via Washington D.C.). Olin Tezcatlipoca and Nelyollotl Toltecatl greet him and drive him to Maywood. Maywood is a sanctuary city, a city that does not terrorize undocumented Nican Tlaca (Indigenous people) migrants.
12:05 Gaudencio Fernandez does a 15 minute phone interview with EFE, an international Spanish language syndicate of newspapers, while he is being driven to Maywood.
12:35 Arrival in Maywood, California. The mayor of Maywood and community leaders greet Gaudencio Fernandez at the Pro Uno offices on Slauson Blvd. The people gathered to greet him are enthusiastic and anxious to speak with him.
1:00 Press conference begins. La Opinion (Spanish language newspaper), Telemundo Channel 52, and Channel 62 are present for the press conference. Gaudencio Fernandez, Mayor Felipe Aguirre of Maywood, Roberto Bravo of the Federacion Poblana, and Olin Tezcatlipoca of Mexica Movement are the speakers at the press conference.
The press conference goes better than expected. Mr. Fernandez gets separate interviews with the three media present.
3:00 Gaudencio Fernandez goes to visit his mother who lives in the Los Angeles. This visit to Los Angeles gave him another opportunity to meet with his mother and other relatives that live in the Los Angeles area.
9 PM Gaudencio Fernandez is interviewed at KPFK, a Pacifica Radio station. Mr. Fernandez got an opportunity to present his story to the radio listeners of KPFK. Nelyollotl Toltecatl joined him on air to express the importance of our community's support of the work that Mr. Fernandez is doing in Virginia.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
10:00 AM Gaudencio Fernandez speaks at Cal State Los Angeles to a class on activism in the community. The class was mostly African descent and very appreciative of the work that Mr. Fernandez has done with the Liberty Wall.
12:00 Gaudencio Fernandez speaks at East Los Angeles College.
7 PM Gaudencio Fernandez speaks to the community at East Los Angeles College. This was another great presentation and another appreciative audience from different parts of Southern California. Mr Fernandez was interviewed by the newspapers El Immigrante and Orale.
10 PM Gaudencio Fernandez appears on En Contexto on Channel 52 Telemundo in Burbank at the NBC Studios.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
5 PM Gaudencio Fernandez speaks to leaders from the community in the city of Maywood at Pro Uno. Leaders from the clubs from the states of Veracruz, Puebla, Baja California, and other states participated.
7 PM Gaudencio Fernandez spoke with the PUMAS organization of Maywood. There was a commitment from PUMAS to financially support the rebuilding of the Liberty Wall.
Friday, October 24, 2008
1 PM Gaudencio Fernandez visited the hunger strike participants at Placita Olvera. The hunger strikers are protesting the ICE raids that are terrorizing our communities in Southern California.
3 PM Gaudencio Fernandez visited the Great Anahuac Mural of East Los Angeles located at Roosevelt high school in the Boyle Heights area of East Los Angeles. This wall is the west coast equivalent of the Liberty Wall.
link to this mural: http://www.anahuacmural.org/introduction.html
7 PM Gaudencio Fernandez lectured at the Casa Puebla in Lynwood. Great turnout. Photos from that event below.
10 PM Gaudencio Fernandez made his second visit to the hunger strikers at Placita Olvera.
Saturday, October 24, 2008
1 PM Gaudencio Fernandez is given a going away luncheon by the members of the Mexica Movement. We did informal meetings to summarize the achievements of Mr. Fernandez' visit to the Los Angeles area.
Sunday, October 25, 2008
10 AM Gaudencio Fernandez makes his last visit to the hunger strikers at Placita Olvera
10 PM Gaudencio Fernandez flies back to Manassas, Virginia.
Mr. Fernandez raised money for the Liberty Wall while he was in Los Angeles through the sale of posters that the Mexica Movement provided and through donations from the Mexica Movement. He got several commitments for additional financial assistance for the Liberty Wall from several organizations that he met during his visit. He also accomplished a better awareness by the media of the Liberty Wall project.
We hope you will give a donation to rebuild and preserve the Liberty Wall of Manassas, Virginia. If you are interested in donating to this wall please email us so that we can pass on your information to Gaudencio Fernandez. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
See video links on Youtube of other Gaudencio Fernandez interviews in Virginia: