Friends, family and allies of Theresa Smith gathered outside the Walmart parking lot of Anaheim Plaza on December 11 to mark the anniversary of the death of her son Caesar Cruz. Three years ago, the 35 year-old father of five’s life ended in a hailstorm of bullets at that very location when Anaheim police opened fire on his vehicle. Smith has been a force for law enforcement accountability and justice ever since. On this night, flames passed from candle to candle for the vigil. Balloons were released searching for Cruz’s spirit in the nighttime horizon above. Smith managed only a few words before becoming enveloped in grief, sobbing uncontrollably into the arms of others. Feeling just as overwhelmed as the day of the shooting, she collapsed and was carried away from the scene of painful memories.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the city, newly sworn in council members reveled in their electoral accomplishment celebrating into the night, one that could not be anymore stark for the city whose wounds remain open and raw.