Felipe Gonzalez, 22, died May 31 in a car crash at SE Clay and Grand in Southeast Portland. Winked out. According to police reports, his girlfriend Emma was driving. She’s been charged with manslaughter, reckless driving and driving under the influence.

His obituary is spread out on MySpace and taped to the fatal telephone pole. These photos are of the roadside memorial left by his friends and family.

Peace by Piece: Youth Take Action – is a 2001 documentary, made by Green Fire Productions and paid for by the Oregon Peace Institute. The film, shown to the Dalai Lama on his May 2001 visit to Portland, showed how “real” kids cope with conflict and personal violence.

Felipe met the Dalai Lama and was featured in the film, described by Inara Verzemnieks of the Oregonian this way,

“And there’s Felipe Gonzalez, a 16-year-old Lincoln High School student who dreams of a hip-hop career but thinks back to the days he roamed North Portland streets with a pack of friends, “assaulting people for no reason,” and to a friend who was shot and killed.

“I’m the ultimate cliche — ex-thug turned rapper,” says Felipe. He laughs, then turns serious. “I started rapping for all the wrong reasons. What I was writing about before was guns, basketball and corner stuff — ‘I got an AK- 47 in my pocket’ — dumb, ignorant things. It had no meaning. Basically, when I noticed people were actually listening, I thought I had to change so I didn’t make people more violent.””

Art doesn’t transform. It just plain forms. – Roy Lichtenstein

Advertisements