UPDATE, SEPT. 25, 6 A.M.: Above and below are shots from the mock funeral procession in downtown Santa Ana on Friday, to make the International Day of Peace.
First stop was outside the Ronald Reagan federal building and the procession ended near an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office.
Symbolic caskets mourned victims of war, immigration policies, homelessness and environmental destruction.
“It went well,” according to an organizer.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 21, 6:36 A.M.: Two very different funerals happen in Orange County this afternoon.
First, Costa Mesa Police Officer Oscar Adrian Reyes will be memorialized at Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove at noon.
Then, at 3 p.m., a “funeral procession” in Santa Ana sets off to pass by the Ronald Reagan Federal Building, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office and the Orange County Board of Supervisors chambers “to mourn victims of war, immigration policies, homelessness and the destruction of our planet,” according to organizers.
No, the Costa Mesa and Santa Ana ceremonies are not related.
Reyes, 43, of Huntington Beach, was a 13-year veteran with the Costa Mesa Police Department, having started his career there as a recruit on Feb. 6, 2005, and being sworn in as a police officer on Aug. 21 of that year. He worked as a motor officer in the Traffic Division for the past 10 years, five of those as a motor trainer.
On Sept. 12, Reyes participated in the Orange County Traffic Officers’ Association Motor Rodeo. At home that evening, he felt ill and contacted his police partner for help. Reyes was found unconscious and was taken to a nearby hospital, where he subsequently passed away from a heart attack.
He leaves behind a wife and three children, ages 15, 14, 10, and the Costa Mesa Police Association set up a scholarship fund for the family, which can be found on their website, www.costamesapa.com.
A funeral procession is scheduled to begin at 10 this morning at the Westminster Memorial Park Mortuary and follow a route to Christ Cathedral, where services are set to being at noon, followed by honors rendered in the cathedral’s Garden Plaza. The funeral service is open to the public. In lieu of flowers, tax-deductible donations can be made to Project 999, which supports injured officers and families of fallen cops, by mailing in a check to P.O. Box 241, Santa Ana, CA 92702.
The funeral procession, which begins in the parking lot next to 826 N. Ross St., Santa Ana, is being held on the International Day of Peace by the Orange County Peace Coalition, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans For Peace, immigration rights activists and other community members who support the Poor Peoples Campaign.
“The procession will walk to three sites that represent the power bases in OC and by doing so educate OC about the war economy, expose the war corporations right here in OC that are profiting from these wars and let the public know where ICE conducts business in an unmarked building in Santa Ana near the Civic Center Plaza,” state the organizers.
“Our first stop will be at the Ronald Reagan Federal BLDG. Here we will hold a mock funeral with a minister, coffins and flowers representing those who have died due to our forever wars in the Middle East. Then we will proceed to the ICE offices nearby and then to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, because they still haven’t spent that $800 million earmarked for the homeless. There will be homeless and the hungry in OC being fed right at the doorstep at the Board of Supervisors taking place at the same time.”
One event coordinator is Jessica Riestra, a hunger striker from Families Belong Together, who says, “It is of extreme importance that everyone in OC understand how immigration affects them personally and their communities.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.