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Tell Them Ari Sanchez' Story

Sister of gang shooting victim asks 'why?'

By Susana Sanchez
Published on LatinoLA: December 30, 2004


Tell Them Ari Sanchez' Story


Happy New Year, or so it should be, right? While I plan to party like it was 1999, and revel in festivities in my hometown of Los Angeles, Califas, with my mom, cousins, sis and close family members, there's somebody missing.

That somebody is ARI "OVER" SANCHEZ. Only 21 and full of life, and then his life was taken. My lil' brother. The lil' bro who was a pain when we were kids and then matured to a handsome young man.

WHAT TOOK HIS LIFE?

A gun.

WHO?

Some stupid cholo.

WHY?

Only GOD knows.

As tears roll down my swollen eyes and cheeks, I'm told he is in a better place now.

WHAT DO I FEEL?

Anger and sadness

As the local paper printed, "A 31-year-old man is being held on suspicion of his death. Police believe a gang was involved in the shooting, but Ari Sanchez, who was helping a friend move, was ``in the wrong place at the wrong time. "...

My family later finds out at court that this CHOLO was arrested three days before he shot my brother and then we was let go, freed...

NOW ASK ME HOW I FEEL?

Betrayed by the system.

On this New Year 2005, my only resolution is to tell a cholo to grow up and to share my story.

The following eulogy was given by me, Susana Sanchez at the May 7 funeral of my brother Ari "Over'' Sanchez at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park, Hollywood Hills. My little brother, Ari Sanchez, 21, was killed about 3:40 a.m. May 2, in a Pasadena parking lot.

Oh Ari, Ari, Ari. It was only yesterday you were running around our one-bedroom apartment over on 1116 Beachwood Drive in Hollywood. But back then you weren't known as "Over,'' your nickname for being overweight, we called you ni?o.

Why?

Because me and my sister said so. We were bigger than you then.

You had lots of curly, black hair. You had helmet hair like my mom's.

But then you grew up, right before our eyes. Looking at you yesterday, my heart started to beat so fast. So fast, so fast.

The body in the coffin didn't look like you. I still don't believe this happened to you, to us. I felt like any minute you were going to jump out of the casket and say ``WASSSUUUPPPP!'' Made you look.
Ha, Ha, Ha, with your retarded laugh. I waited and waited and nada ... I'm still waiting.

These people, cholos and their gang, a pandilla.

These people who took your life didn't know you were: a brother, an uncle, a lover, a son, a hard worker, an artist, a provider, a nephew, a friend.

These people ... didn't know you had the biggest heart in the whole world. So big that you saved a life.

Your life was cut too short. I looked to see what was written about you in my old newspaper, where I worked at as a visual journalist, and you were just a brief, just another shooting story about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But Ari, you were so much more than those 100 words.

Baby, so much.

It's not fair.

And these people who did this to you, they will pay. How? I don't know but this isn't over.

To all of you, here, crying because he's now gone, do you know anyone in a gang?

A cholo?

A pandilla? ... Tell them about Ari. Tell them his story. Tell them how his hands are so cold and how we will never get to see his eyes, his beautiful eyes.

Tell them how he is now gone, all because of a stupid gang.

Stupid gang. Stupid gang. Tell him about my brother who was just making a phone call with two friends to get something to eat after helping a girl move boxes to her new apartment.

Tell them that his mother will never get to hear his voice because of stupid gang member being what gangs are: Stupid. Stupid.

To those of you in crews or gangs, I'm not trying to bust a gallon of haterade on all of ya.

See my brother in his coffin, his face is so cold and his hands can't grip mine like they use to when we use to dance salsa and cumbias to!

Is street ownership worth taking a life of someone so innocent?

See my brother in his coffin and ask yourself.

He wasn't doing anything wrong, why him? Can you - a cholo, a gang - answer that?

Why? Look at how many people are here and look at how many were here yesterday, why did these cholos pick my brother? Random acts of violence have to stop. My brother was an artist - took to the streets to show his work (as a tagger and graffiti artist) and spend my tax dollars. I never approved but accepted it. He wasn't a gang member, nor was he ever, just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

About Susana Sanchez:
Susana Sanchez attended East Los Angeles College and now lives in Hollywood, Florida where she is a designer at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. She jet sets to L.A. whenever she can to see her brother.
sssanchez@sun-sentinel.com




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