An estimated thousand-plus people attended the funeral in Oakland's Fruitvale district yesterday of Jesus "Chuy" Campos, a 58-year-old, beloved community leader who was shot dead in an apparent robbery attempt at the restaurant he owned last Friday.
At Hugo’s Travel just down the street, two of Chuy Campos’ friends were waiting for the memorial service to start: there was the owner Hugo Guerrero -- who ate lunch at his friend’s restaurant every day for the last 25 years -- and Rafael Campos. They were sitting in front of a computer looking at images of their friend who was killed. Many of the pictures showed Chuy Campos at cultural events with politicians like Barbara Lee and Ignacio De La Fuente. The rest were outside at his beloved ranch in Castro Valley, where he cared for a host of animals.
Rafael Campos said he will never forget one of Chuy Campos' sayings: “We make a living by what we earn, but we make a life by what we give.”
I also spoke to Gilda Gonzalez, the CEO of the Unity Council, a neighborhood organization that started the first Business Improvement District in the city of Oakland She said that the tragedy of Campos’ death has been a galvanizing event in the community.
Besides working with policy makers to get additional policing resources, though, she says people in the community need to report crime more. The Unity Council is working to publicize this. She says police resources are allocated based on cirme and if people are afraid to report things to authorities they’ll be passed over when it comes to being protected.
One of the most poignant things she said was at the very end of the interview. She said that the worst thing that could happen was if people stayed away from the neighborhood because of this crime because it is a good and vibrant place. Choking up, she said, "it is the last thing that Mr. Campos would have wanted.”
Yesterday Otaez restaurant on Fruitvale, which Jesus “Chuy” Campos worked over 25 years to keep open daily… was closed because of his funeral. Flowers and votives were on display, and a banner with his picture signed by area businesses hung in front of the traditional Mexican mural that fronts his original business.
Storekeepers up and down the block put up signs with black ribbons reading "RIP Jesus “Chuy” Campos." One of them is Fashion Palace run by Raul Maya. The diminutive store owner sipped a cup of cream-laden coffee in a small Styrofoam cup as he reminisced about his friend, whom he called “Don Chuy.” He also talked about the two times he’s been assaulted in robberies, most recently 3 months ago. He has pictures of himself with bloody head and neck braces, strapped to a guerny.
“I tell Ms. Quan when are they going to do something about it? When someboday is dead? And now I remember what I was talking about with Ms. Quan last month.”
“I worry about my people, all the time they pick up the cars…the cars with no lisences but what about the crimes?”
“Everybody, every race needs a peace, Anglos a home, Afro-Americano, Asiatic, Latino everybody needs a place to live in peace. En Paz."