Portland's activist community should follow the flame of disobedience lit by Sean Kealiher, his mother said at a memorial two weeks after the prominent anti-fascist's mysterious death.
No arrests have been made after Kealiher, 23, was fatally hit Oct. 12 by an SUV during an after-midnight altercation near Cider Riot!, the city's well-known lefty hangout.
But the caution tape strung up along tree trunks in Chapman Square, 210 S.W. Main St., on Saturday, Oct. 26, was a signpost of Kealiher's life, not his death. One of his arrests involved tearing down police tape during a protest, his mother recalled, inviting the black-clad crowd of mourners to do the same and "take a piece of Sean" home.
"But I'm asking everybody to find something they're passionate about, and step up and really follow through with it. Stop talking about it, and do it."
"The people of Occupy helped raise him, and helped him become the awesome human being that they were," Laura Kealiher said. "His activism, in the end, was what his passion was."
Sean Kealiher — who also used the names Armeanio Lewis, Yaka and Anteo Zamboni (a reference to a teenager who tried to assassinate Benito Mussolini) — began organizing protests as a student attending Cleveland High School.
Under various names, he had been quoted in the Washington Post and appeared on the cover of The Vanguard, Portland State University's student newspaper. He published pamphlets of anarchist political theory, and his final work, "Why Break Windows," was distributed at the memorial potluck alongside shirts reading "Armeanio's Army."
"We are not slaves, we are dynamite. We are explosive beings with unpredictable reactions," Kealiher wrote in the zine.
Iâ€™m at Chatman Sq today at Sean Kealiher memorial in Portland. People do not want Brandon Farley to be at the memorial pic.twitter.com/cqFhFQ7UwV— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) October 26, 2019
Laura Kealiher said her son's legacy should be more than just words. "You don't have to be as radical as Sean was," she said. "But I'm asking everybody to find something they're passionate about, and step up and really follow through with it.
"Stop talking about it, and do it."
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