This rainy morning marked day two. Still, the family and community are in shock. At 9:30am at the 3rd Mural of the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project, the place where Antonio Ramos was slain, began a vigil to commemorate him and his exemplary work and positivity he brought into this world. Hundreds of candles lit the underpass wall, many left over from last night, messages to Antonio were written on paper from loved ones, and a quilt was rolled out along the sidewalk, flowers, paintbrushes, a bicycle seat and other items resting at the base of the wall. The Ramos family was center, with friends and the team of muralists, behind them. There were hundreds of supporters present. Amana Harris, Executive Director of the Attitudinal Healing Connection (AHC) and Creator of the Oakland Superheroes Mural Project, opened the ceremony with words to remember Antonio, as an amazing contribution to the project and light force to everyone who knew him. He embodied the superheroes he was painting. She shared how profound of a loss this is and how important it is to continue this work forever, because of the violence that took Antonio's life. The mural is in dedication to him. Then, Guillermo Ortiz, Board President of AHC, led the crowd through a sacred ceremony, calling forth the 7 directions and ancestors, asking for peace, love and healing. He burned traditional incense, called copal, a resin that has been used for centuries in Mexico during ceremony, fanning it into the air with a feather wing made with Macaw feathers and with one Egret feather, to cleanse the space and bless Antonio's family. People comforted one another in silence. Around Noon, the crowd had dispersed and the artists returned to AHC, where another healing circle took place to continue the healing process and stay unified as a community, traumatized by violence.
The mural has been stalled until Monday, to give the family, muralists and community, time to mourn the loss and continue to hold the sacred space in light and protection.
The muralists have decided that the project must continue, in the name of Antonio and the message of the Project, to offset violence and blight and empower young people and artists. However, they must be protected. It is unacceptable that our artists must have to watch their back and feel unsafe while they bring youth images of hope and beauty to the neighborhood.
The muralists have expressed that the more support they can see from the community in the form of presence, the safer they will feel. That is why we are asking for your help. We are calling for a Volunteer Coordinator to galvanize all those who have offered to help in order to keep our muralists safe. We are looking for someone who has strong ties in the Oakland community and is available for 2 weeks from Monday, October 5th to Friday, October 16th,
Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm. Please reach out to us at (510) 652-5530 or
if you are available and passionate for this work.
We are also in touch with police and private security to address safety, who will be present on the wall, but we can't rely on them alone.
Love and peace to Antonio and his family.