The body of Jafet Robles, 33, an organizer with People's Action member organization Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, was found on September 11 in a park in Chicopee, Massachusetts, near Springfield. He was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound, and local police have launched a homicide investigation.
Maria Elena Letona, the executive director of N2N, issued the following statement:
It is with a truly broken heart that we share with you that Jafet Robles, devoted father and fierce justice warrior, now rests in peace, love and power. He was 33 years old. He leaves four children behind.
To those of us at N2N who had the blessing of knowing Jafet, he was our Springfield Chapter lead organizer.
More than that, Jafet was the heart of N2N’s organizing work. He was fierce, fearless and relentless in his work to end mass incarceration.
He had deep, passionate love for Puerto Rico, her people and her independence. He quickly would become curious, find out on his own, and readily embrace the struggles of all people, keenly understanding that all our struggles are connected deep at the roots: Black people, immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community.
"Ubuntu" is the word he spoke to one of our members who brought Jafet’s spirit in remembrance yesterday: “I am because we are.”
Jafet knew in his soul that we are one.
His love for his work was only surpassed by the love for his people. He fought for your liberation, for my liberation, for the liberation of us all.
And Jafet acted this love. He manifested it. With his singular passion and devotion for la lucha, the struggle, he, through love, organized into N2N a beautiful and diverse membership.
Jafet challenged us all to think deeply and intentionally on our legacy: "What do you want to be remembered for?"
In these times of such chaos and confusion, of such hatred and violence, of such division and disintegration, N2N takes up your challenge, dear Jafet.
We vow that we, like you, will be remembered for taking a stand fiercely and fearlessly against injustice and hatred and division.
AND, we also will remember YOU, dear Jafet for your courage, your inspiration, your love, your fierceness and fearlessness, and your smile.
We are because you are, dear Jafet. Ubuntu!
Jafet Robles: ¡PRESENTE! Now and always.
P.S.: Jafet’s family has established a GoFundMe campaign. Jafet leaves four children behind, ages 5 to 16. All proceeds go to Jafet’s family to support funeral and memorial costs, and other expenses.