We, of the Guyana Tribute Foundation, are writing to invite you to the memorial service commemorating the victims of the Jonestown, Guyana tragedy. Two events will take place on the weekend of the memorial. The Help and Healing service will be held in San Francisco at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, 1111 Gough Street on November 17th of this year at 7:00 p.m. The second event is our annual memorial service, which will be in Oakland at Evergreen Cemetery, 6450 Camden Avenue, on November 18th at 11 a.m. Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco will be our guest speaker. A number of local dignitaries have been asked to participate. Your contribution to the healing spirit of the service would be most welcome and invaluable.
Twenty years ago on November 18, 1978, 913 adults and children died in the Guyanese jungle. The vast majority had been led to South America by the Reverend Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple of San Francisco to pursue his vision of an interracial utopia far away in isolation. Also among those who died on that day were U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a portion of the news crew, whose murders at an airstrip outside of Jonestown apparently sparked the tragedy at the compound.
Our personal loss of 27 relatives at Jonestown, including my mother, has led me on a mission to draw attention to both the horror of what is the single most violent massacred in recent history involving American citizens, and the dangers of cult religions that can spawn such tragedies. This will be a beautiful service. Young people will be coming in from Los Angeles to celebrate the life of the children lost in Jonestown, at the help and healing service in San Francisco and at the annual memorial service in Oakland at Evergreen Cemetery, where 406 of the victims are buried in a mass grave.
In this effort to erect a Jonestown Memorial Wall in San Francisco and a gravesite monument in Oakland, a coalition of prominent San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and national community leaders has enthusiastically joined the survivors and family members. We sincerely hope you will honor us with your attendance at these commemorative services, and giving your support to the establishing of a permanent memorial to the victims of Jonestown.
I can be reached at 310/419-3930; the Rev. Martin Grizzell can be reached at 415/921-6276; and Mr. Kola Thomas can be reached at 415/928-8546.
Dr. Jynona Norwood
P.O. Box 3330
Hollywood, CA 90078