Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier, whose life was forever altered by the 1978 Jonestown massacre, told The San Francisco Examiner on Monday she is opposed to plans to include Jim Jones’ name on a memorial to the victims.
Speier, then a 28-year-old legal aide to Rep. Leo Ryan, D-South San Francisco, was shot five times while on a fact-finding mission in Guyana to investigate abuses by Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple.
Ryan and four others died in the ambush by Peoples Temple gunmen. Shortly after, a mass suicide and murder of Peoples Temple members began in Jonestown, killing more than 900 people.
More than 32 years later, surviving Peoples Temple members, including Jim Jones’ adopted son, Jim Jones Jr., are installing a memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in East Oakland, where more than 400 unidentified and unclaimed victims are buried.
The memorial would include Jim Jones’ name alongside the victims.
“Jim Jones was a perpetrator of violence and murder,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, told The San Francisco Examiner. “That he should be recognized on a plaque with victims is not something I can be supportive of.”
In November, Jim Jones Jr. told the Associated Press he wants an all-inclusive monument, adding that his father was a victim of his own madness.
The Rev. Jynona Norwood, who is leading an effort to install a separate memorial at the same gravesite, said including Jim Jones’ name would be similar to engraving Adolf Hitler’s name onto the Holocaust Memorial
“Go tell Congressman Giffords [and other victims] that got shot by Jared Loughner to forgive Jared and to honor him,” she said. “It’s an insult. It’s not right.”