LATHROP – It’s a symbolic march that keeps on going, and getting bigger every year.
Saturday, Nov. 4, the fourth annual Justice for Jeremy Memorial March will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s a 6.5-mile walk from the San Joaquin County Jail’s parking lot in French Camp to the Lathrop Valverde Park on Fifth Street designed is to “symbolically complete the walk Jeremy couldn’t finish.”
Lunch will be provided to all the walkers; cost is free. The Sheriff’s department where the walk will begin is located at 7000 Michael Canlis Blvd. in French Camp.
All walkers are asked to meet at the parking lot no later than 8:30 a.m. Transportation from Valverde Park will be available at 8 a.m. for those who need to be transported. Look for the JFJ sign. Transportation will be available also for those who will need to go back to French Camp to retrieve their vehicles after the walk. Water will be provided along the walk route. Everyone is encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Sunblock is also suggested.
The symbolic march aims to symbolically complete the walk taken by Jeremy Lum after he was released from the county jail in 2008. It is also an advocacy effort on behalf of those suffering from mental illness.
The memorial walk is part of the Lum family’s continue effort to turn their tragedy into something positive and to challenge everyone to “be the change,” the phrase that became the rallying cry for the Justice for Jeremy movement which was launched after the untimely death of the UC Berkeley philosophy major graduate.
The event also focuses on the special needs of the mentally ill and to bring positive change to the way public safety agencies handle mentally ill persons.
At the first annual walk, some of the participants walked barefoot in sympathy with the 29-year-old member of one of Lathrop’s philanthropic and pioneer families. When he was released from jail, he was barefoot and without any means of transportation.
Every year since the first memorial walk, the event has started at the county jail because that was where the Jeremy, who was bipolar, was released after he was detained overnight allegedly for being under the influence. The night before, he was picked up by Lathrop Police in a residential front yard not far from his own home after residents called police about a suspicious circumstance.
Family members believed Jeremy, who was with his dog Attila at the time he was detained by police, were headed to the home of his aunt, Connie Lum Perez’s which was a few minutes’ walk from his own home in the Old Town district of Lathrop. But the young man apparently became disoriented. Jeremy, who was a member of the first senior class to graduate from Sierra High School, vanished soon after he was released at the county jail barefoot and without any means of transportation.
After a massive land and air, his body was found floating in the San Joaquin River not far from the county jail.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by Jerry Lum and Dorothea Timmons, the parents of Jeremy Lum, in United States District Court, Eastern District of California. Named in the suit are the City of Lathrop, San Joaquin County, two Sheriff’s sergeants, and 50 unnamed individuals.