“Here’s what justice looks like to me”: Read Nicolas Morales Jr.’s open letter on losing his father, re-posted.

WATCH: Naples Daily News video (above), “Coalition of Immokalee Workers asks for justice in the death of Nicolas Morales”…

Nicolas Morales Jr.: “I will need to be strong, and with the help of loving people, I will manage to become stronger, and to become a good man, just like my dad was.”

Last week’s vigil and petition delivery outside the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) in Naples was an extraordinary event.  It was extraordinary not so much for the power of its numbers, at least compared to memorable CIW actions from the past, but for that of its message, and in particular, for the eloquence and urgency of the words of so many of the speakers that Friday afternoon in Naples. 

We dedicated our original post on the vigil to those words, quoting extensively those speakers whose energy and commitment made the protest so memorable.  But while that made for a compelling narrative, it also left the words of one young man who desperately wanted to be there to deliver his own message to Sheriff Rambosk but couldn’t make the trip — Nicolas Morales Jr. —  at the bottom of a very long report, so long that many readers surely never made it all the way to the end to read his letter.  So today we are re-posting Nicolas Jr.’s open letter in full, as a photo gallery in his own hand, here below.  We will let his words speak for themselves, asking only that you take a few minutes to read his thoughtful letter, and to consider what you can do to help make his vision of long-overdue justice for his father a reality: 

Also in our original post on the vigil, we included the words of one speaker in particular in their entirety — Giselle Ramirez-Garcia, a student leader at Florida Gulf Coast University who grew up in Immokalee.  We quoted her entire speech because her words captured so perfectly both the specific injustice of Nicolas’s death and mauling at the hands of Collier County sheriff’s deputies one year ago, and the broader fear and mistrust of the CCSO in Immokalee and the rest of Collier County, fear that pre-dated Nicolas’s killing and that continues today.  And we were clearly not alone in recognizing the power of her speech that day, as the Naples Daily News reporter who covered the protest also chose to make Giselle’s speech the centerpiece of the video that accompanies her excellent article.  The video, embedded at the top of today’s post, is a must-see as a result.

But it was Giselle’s unscripted comments to the Naples reporter, as well as those of Nicolas Jr.’s stepbrother Jesse Andrade, following the delivery of the petition to a representative of Sheriff Rambosk that gave voice to the Immokalee community’s frustration at the CCSO’s stubborn refusal to heed their call for common sense reforms with a striking immediacy.  Their comments highlight the closing section of the article, which we have excerpted here below:

… Petition not delivered

Coalition members presented their petition to the group of onlooking protestors, which had more than 1,000 signatures written on it. It was in the form of a banner with the phrase “Golpear a uno es golpear a todos” (Hitting one is hitting all) over a painting of an officer pointing a gun at a group of citizens holding their hands up. Behind the group is a drawn picture of a man laying limp in the arms of a sad woman. 

Fisher, Ramirez-Garcia and Andrade took the petition and walked toward the Sheriff’s Office-Administration building.

The two deputies, Lt. Gonzales and Sgt. Ashby, who had been handed Morales Jr’s letter stopped the group and told them that Sheriff Kevin Rambosk was out of town and not present to accept the petition in person. 

One protester standing by demanded a response from Gonzales, who explained that he could only pass on the petition to the sheriff and that the Coalition should expect to be contacted. 

“I think it would have been much better if the sheriff was here in person,” Ramirez-Garcia told the Naples Daily News. Ramirez-Garcia said the plan was to see Rambosk and that they were not told he was out of town beforehand.

“I think we would have been able to more effectively communicate how we feel if he was here.” 

Andrade told the Naples Daily News that Rambosk’s absence angered him.

’“Why couldn’t he show his face? What does he have going on right now?,” he questioned.  “He doesn’t want to face facts. He doesn’t want to show his face. What does that tell us? They don’t care about us, they don’t care about the situation at all.”

You can read the Naples Daily News article in its entirety here.  And check back soon for more on the continuing efforts to win justice for Nicolas Morales and an end to police violence for Immokalee and the rest of Collier County.