Sheriff Mirkarimi, Lopez Shine During One Billion Rising Campaign Event

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in Arts and Entertainment, Crime, Events, News, Politics

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Published on February 16, 2013 with 12 Comments

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, his wife, Eliana Lopez and their four-year-old son, Theo, attended the One Billing Rising awareness campaign event in front of City Hall on Thursday.  Photos by Luke Thomas.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, his wife, Eliana Lopez and their four-year-old son, Theo, attended the One Billing Rising awareness campaign event on Valentine’s Day on the steps of City Hall.  Photos by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

February 16, 2013

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, his wife, Eliana Lopez, and their four-year-old son, Theo, shone Thursday during a Valentine’s Day celebration of “One Billion Rising,” a global awareness campaign demanding an end to violence against women and girls.

Conceived by award-winning playwright Eve Ensler, One Billion Rising began as a call to action to respond to the sobering statistic that as many as one-in-three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetimes.  The worldwide coordinated event was celebrated by as many as two-hundred countries.

Mirkarimi and Lopez, you’ll recall, were involved in a heated argument on December 31, 2011, eight days before he was officially sworn into office, during which Mirkarimi grabbed Lopez and caused a bruise on her arm.  He subsequently pled to, and was convicted of, one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment, triggering a failed effort by Mayor Ed Lee to permanently remove the democratically elected sheriff from office.  Lee’s failure to oust Mirkarimi was followed by a subsequent failed effort by Mirkarimi’s political opponents to drum up financial support for what would be a costly and uncertain recall election.

Throughout a protracted nine-month legal ordeal, Lopez and Mirkarimi steadfastly maintained that the zealous nature of Mirkarimi’s prosecution by District Attorney George Gascón, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Mayor Lee was, in large part, politically motivated – an opportunity to remove a political maverick who, as a progressive and independently-minded District 5 Supervisor, made enemies for his efforts to legislate mandatory police foot patrols to deter street and violent crimes.  As Supervisor, Mirkarimi also voted against then-City Administrator Ed Lee’s appointment to serve as interim mayor following former Mayor Gavin Newsom’s election to Lt. Governor; his opposition based on a belief that Lee would break his promise to the Board of Supervisors and run for a full term with full advantage of incumbency for what should have been an open seat.

Following Mirkarimi’s reinstatement by four of eleven members of the Board of Supervisors, Lee and Gascón made demands on Sheriff Mirkarimi to recuse himself from functions of his office related to domestic violence.  But those demands were proved short-sighted Thursday when Mirkarimi invited Magalie Bonneau-Marcil, founder and producer of Dancing Without Borders, to engage county jail inmates – some of whom have been victims and perpetrators of serious cases of domestic violence – in the participation of the One Billion Rising awareness campaign through choreographed dance.

Lopez, an established Venezuelan actress and accomplished dancer, joined Bonneau-Marcil and the Dancing Without Borders troupe to dance with the inmates.  She also led a group of choreographed dancers where Gascón and Lee gave speeches on the steps of City Hall to as many as two-thousand One Billion Rising, mostly female, attendees.

“They (inmates) really need to feel someone cares, that they are included,” Lopez said. “They were so happy to see all of us there.  Ross was there also, so it means a lot for them.  They were so warm, so nice, so happy that, not only me, but all the dancers that were there. They were so happy to be included.”

“I am so proud of what is happening and I think this is the power of women,” Lopez added. “This is against violence from women to women, from women to men, from men to women – so there are a lot of things that we have to stop and I am so happy to be able to be part of this.”

In addition to domestic violence, Lopez said racism, discrimination and unequal pay are other forms of  violence.

For his part, Mirkarimi said he was not invited to take part in the official festivities on the steps of City Hall.

“Did they send me a Valentine? No, they did not,” he said. “That’s not going to deter me. I’m not going to shy away from my advocacy and desire to see us do everything we can to eradicate violence and domestic violence.”

Time to Bury the Hatchet?

Asked, in the interest of inter-departmental cooperation, if it is time for relations between his office, the mayor’s office and district attorney’s office, to be normalized, Mirkarimi told Fog City, “We have constantly extended that we need to work together on behalf of the public – and in the spirit of reconciliation, crickets are chirping.”

The same question was posed to Gascón: “Today is a day of celebration,” Gascón responded. “We are coming together with women and men around the world to say we want to stop the violence and I want to make sure that the message that comes out of it today is that we’re here to stand with women around the world to make sure that the violence stops.  San Francisco has done an incredible job today.  We’re closing this incredible event worldwide and I am very proud to be a part of this – and this is what we should be concentrating on today, celebration and stopping the violence.”

Asked to comment on Sheriff Mirkarimi’s initiative to include inmates in the One Billion Rising event, Gascón said, “I think it’s absolutely wonderful.”

Some might say it’s “wonderful” to hear Gascón say something positive about our duly elected Sheriff.

As for the mayor, his office did not respond to a request seeking comment. We’ll update this post if a response is forthcoming.

One Billion Rising event Photos:

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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  • h. brown

    Great piece, maestro,

    You’re writing the real history with a camera here because the Downtown Media Conglomerate is telling an entirely different story of the marriage/love affair between our Sheriff and his gorgeous bombshell, his First (hear me George Gascon?) …. with his wife, Eliana Lopez.

    Pardon me for being a bit peeved but, y’all know me. I don’t work for anyone but I’ll flack on behalf of anyone on either side whom I consider to be getting shafted.

    This is a happy family and I’m tired of hypocrites like George Gascon and Ed Lee trying to break it up. Hell, Gascon knows that marriages go through ups and downs doesn’t he? Didn’t he recently completely give up on his aging wife and get a new model? Jeeeez, isn’t that like, elder abuse?

    As always in San Francisco, your photos reflect the diversity of the population.

    Races, orientations, nationalities.

    My 3 grandkids were all born in San Francisco.

    Two are Zimbabwean/Americans. One is a Mexican American. They range from 5 years of age to 10 and they change languages without a pause depending upon who they are conversing with. Ross’ 4 year-old, Theo who is … Venezuelan/Russian/Iranian/American is the same. He moved around the crowd with mom and pop and changed languages with ease depending upon whom he was talking to.

    This entire affair of trying to destroy this marriage is a complete disgrace.

    Ed Lee said nothing when his boss, the mayor, Gavin Newsom …

    that’s enuff

    Great piece and you shouldn’t accept anonymous comments on it from the cowards and consultants employed by the Ed Lee/George Gascon horde.

    Go Giants!

    h.

    • http://www.facebook.com/annie.garrison Ann Garrison

      h.: Suggested edit: Gascon’s decision to dump his wife for a flashy new model would probably be more accurately described as a form of domestic abuse. Is Gascón an elder? Is his wife his elder? Is Gascón an elder abusing another elder? The longstanding sexism that accords men eternal youth – in their minds – and women age often emerges unintentionally, even in the most well-intentioned remarks.

      Otherwise, thumbs up to everything you said about the Mayor and DA’s disgusting determination to destroy the Ross-Eliana-and-Theo family.

  • Theleona

    Eliana and Mirkarimi, Ed Lee and all those other shots of SF politicos – what a travesty! What a show! What BS! What is depicted here is not women rising! Don’t think for one moment San Franciscans will allow the media to sweep Mirkarimi’s acts under the rug no matter who is friends with whom.

    • BarryEisenberg

      tch tch

    • http://www.facebook.com/annie.garrison Ann Garrison

      Sore loser.

  • BarryEisenberg

    Oh I love every aspect of this story, from the spirit of the event to the DA’s conciliatory comment about Ross’ involvement. And Ross’es comment that “Crickets are chirping” in regards to lack of overtures from the Mayor’s office to work together, well I think the lad’s been probably watching too much Simpsons but I love the image.

  • PatrickMonkRn

    There’s a new Sheriff in town. Thank you. Good work you guys. Not holding my breath in anticipation of a peace token from Room 200, it’s still an ‘occupied zone’

  • http://www.facebook.com/annie.garrison Ann Garrison

    Great photos, Luke. This one, from Ross’s “Inmates Rising!” event in the SF County Jail, was the only U.S. photo that I saw in the gallery of “Billion Rising!” photos from around the world posted on lol.za.com, South Africa’s most prominent online news source yesterday: http://www.iol.co.za/news/world/gallery-one-billion-rising-1.1471105#.UR5Na1pevW5

  • http://www.facebook.com/annie.garrison Ann Garrison

    Also. . . Fabiola. . . Fabiola Kramsky . . . like wow . . . so to speak.

  • h. brown

    Barry,

    Yeah, yccch? The photos are amazing in what they reveal. There are shots of the ‘City Family’ doing literal ‘Sieg hie’ls!’ with the ‘trophy bride’ leading them contrasted with Eliana dancing with her husband and the ‘peasants’.

    Andrea Shorter?

    Don’t get me started, girl!

    Man-hating, tax-evading, hired thug …. what’s she been getting 6 figures a year from Ed Lee for other than attacking the Sheriff?

    Free soap opera at home and I know most of the characters.

    Who’d thought aging in place in an SF SRO could be so great?

    Go Giants!

    h.

    • grannygear

      the ‘City Family’ doing literal ‘Sieg hie’ls!’ with the ‘trophy bride’
      leading them contrasted with Eliana dancing with her husband and the
      ‘peasants’.

      Exactly!

      Terrrie

  • grannygear

    I seriously regret not being there! Great photos, great story.

    Terrrie