Tuesday, August 26, 2008

“What Makes a Hero”

Filipino Community Gathers to Commemorate the Life of Police-Slain Jeffrey Reodica

by Steve da Silva
Basics Issue#10 (Aug/Sep 2008)

It’s been over four years since undercover Toronto cops murdered Jeffrey Reodica in May 2004; but time has yet to heal the wounds inflicted by his tragic and unjust departure.

On June 28, 2008, family, friends, and allies gathered at the Wellesley Community Centre from across the GTA to commemorate Jeffrey’s life. The event was organized by Migrante Ontario Youth, with support from the groups Philippine Advocacy Through Arts and Culture (PATAC) and the Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ).

The free event included musical and cultural performances by talented Filipino youth, which included spoken word artists Len Cervantes and Myk Miranda, rapper R. Scribe, and vocalist Belinda Corpuz.

The emotional high of the event was struck with the stirring words of Jeffrey’s father Willie Reodica, who recounted the painful last days of Jeffrey’s life. Reodica reminded the mostly-Filipino audience that “We Filipinos are still the targets of police violence because we do not have enough organization amongst us”.

A lawyer who worked with the Justice for Jeffrey campaign during the Coroner’s Inquest, Mike Leitold, recounted for those gathered how it had been the mobilization and demands of the community that led to an expedited Coroner’s Inquest. More importantly, Leitold pointed out that because justice was ultimately not attained for Jeffrey “we need to continue relying on mass organizing if we’re going to get justice”

The event was concluded with vocalist Belinda Corpuz’s singing of “What Makes a Hero”, a song written by Jose Maria Sison, a hero among Filipinos who helped found the present-day national liberation movement in the Philippines.

The empassioned father of Jeffrey, Willie Reodica, tells crowd of his experience of losing his son to police terror (Photo by Alex Felipe).