As many of you already know, Tonee Mello was murdered at his home in Oaxaca on Monday, April 11. Tonee was a former member of the Oaxaca Lending Library Board, co-founder of the Oaxaca Study Action Group, a gay rights activist, lover of people across age, gender, and race, an animal lover, gardener, with an all around zest for life cradled in arms of great compassion.
Whenever someone dies violently, many people want to know why. What is known so far is that the murder was not political or a gay hate crime. The evidence to date points to a robbery motivated by the need for quick money to buy drugs. The police are holding two persons in jail, one of whom is an American. Tonee was acquainted with the American but was not a friend.
Tonee’s son, John, is in Oaxaca. Not surprisingly, he is quite exceptional. John has been overwhelmed in dealing with his father’s death and with all the attendant details. However, he hopes to meet many of Tonee’s friends this Wednesday when a Memorial Gathering will be held to honor and remember Tonee. Everyone is invited. Please see details following.
Please keep John, Tonee’s sister, and all of Tonee’s family and friends in your thoughts, “prayers,” or in whatever way is meaningful to you.
Wednesday, April 20, 3pm
At Tonee’s house
You are invited to bring:
- Memories & photos of Tonee
- Flowers or other tributes consistent with your heritage, such as Mixe, Mixteca, Zapoteca
- Finger food or beverages to be shared communally
These are not requirements. We are most interested in having you attend.
If you have any questions or need directions, please contact David Myler: 951-117-4867
The following statements are in memory of Tonee’s life. You can add yours below as a comment. Please send photos of Tonee to [email protected] so we can post some here. Thank you very much for sharing your memories!
When I first met Tonee, I ended up spending the entirety of the gathering we were at talking to him. He radiated a love of life, generosity and warmth, and a dedication to working towards a better world. Within hours of meeting him, he offered freely the use of his motorcycle to explore the area – a gesture that endeared me to him. He cultivated love as he did his garden. When I was in Oaxaca, I was working on starting an organic rooftop garden. Tonee was an essential part of that garden. From locating seeds to visits to the dump for planters, Tonee helped make the garden a reality. He lent me my first books on worm bins which although it may not sound like it, was life changing in how I looked at compost systems in urban communities. He had such a beautiful soul. He made the world a better place just by being it and I am surely a better person for knowing him.
– Kristina Lim
Before moving to Mexico, Tonee lived and worked in Fresno. He will be missed.
– Mike Rhodes
I am saddened beyond words. Tonee was a dear family friend. He spread so much good in the world and still had so much to give.
Tonee, you will be missed.
– Kiel Famellos-Schmidt
Santa Cruz Fighter
Tonee Mello started a Food Not Bombs and Homes Not Jails chapter in Santa Cruz in the summer of 1992 and worked here for several years, raising homeless activism to a new level in organization and spirit.
He fought police misconduct and organized a street education campaign against Officer Loran (“Butchie”) Baker’s sexual abuse against ten women, the homeless population and political activists. He fought for the civil rights of homeless people, involved in organizing protests by Homes Not Jails and standing up against physical violence and personal police harassment.
He fought city council indifference, leading an effort to occupy the offices of the City Council and City Manager in 1992. He helped with early organizing for Free Radio. He stood up against and spoke out against discrimination at homeless services such as the St. Francis Soup Kitchen.
Tonee’s voice very briefly appears on this rebroadcast of a 1992 City Council meeting where he risks arrest and exclusion to ask a question of Santa Cruz Mayor Don Lane, why the police are excluding people from the chambers who want to speak on the issue of Officer Baker’s sexual molestation of the women. http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb11022.mp3 (3 hours, 4 minutes, and 57 seconds into the audio file).
I’m looking for more extensive tape of Tony’s voice and will post it when and if I find it.
Thanks, Tonee, for everything.
– Robert Norse
I first met Tonee in the summer of 2008 here in Oaxaca. We bonded over our ideological affinity and San Francisco Bay Area connections. He still followed events there and asked all about the recent FBI raid on the Long Haul infoshop in Berkeley.