Once Alfredo LLamedo said his work was done advocating for the voiceless and pushing City Hall to confront homelessness, he decided he was going to end his two-year battle with liver disease on his own terms.
Always one to force the issue, LLamedo first went without food and water for a few days to speed up his death. Then he decided he would only drink alcohol to dehydrate himself. After that he ate and drank whatever he wanted, which meant lots of sweets and Mountain Dew, and took medication as he chose.
LLamedo, 60, died Sunday in an assisted living facility surrounded by friends and family.
His legacy, those who were close to him said, is that he inspired others to become advocates with voices almost as big as his.
LLamedo began a hunger strike in protest of the city’s sit-lie ordinance, which bars people from sitting or lying on downtown streets, last November that turned into an encampment outside City Hall of people who were homeless due to a lack of shelter space.
Eight days after LLamedo’s protest began, the city suspended the ordinance until more shelter beds came available.
“There were many people living at Camp Hope that are now big advocates and have a voice to speak for people that are homeless,” said Joy Fradin, a fellow activist and close friend. “Now we’re facing another winter without adequate shelter for all the people who are homeless. And I think his legacy is his activist friends are doing incredible things.”
Spokane City Council Member Kate Burke credited LLamedo with helping to form her as a person who would continue to follow her moral compass, even when doing so is difficult.
“He definitely had a change on how I view people experiencing homelessness,” Burke said. “He’s a very special man.”
LLamedo worked in automotive sales for decades until he went back to school at Eastern Washington University to get his master’s degree in social work, said his daughter, Amanda LLamedo.
He went to work for the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance after graduating in 2014, often advocating on behalf of people who had disputes with their landlords.
“He saw how many people struggled,” Amanda LLamedo said. “But he’s always cared for homeless people his whole life. He always gave out money.”
LLamedo met Fradin that same year at a social justice event downtown. By early 2015 they were protesting the Pasco police shooting and killing of Antonio Zambrano-Montes.
“He was just a voice for people who did not have voices,” Fradin said.
LLamedo’s daughters, Amanda, 35, and Alejandra, 28, said that although their father’s work is done, the job of advocating for those who are homeless is not.
“He inspires me to be powerful and do things like that, too,” Amanda LLamedo said. “I want to carry on my dad’s last name.”
Alejandra LLamedo said her father’s work inspired her to rally in Olympia for early learning and asylum for Malaysian people.
“My dad showed me that you can make a difference if you open your mouth,” she said. “He always told me to speak louder so that you can be heard.”
LLamedo was born in Cuba and raised in Miami before he moved with his ex-wife to Spokane about 30 years ago.
The LLamedo sisters are holding a candlelight vigil in honor of their father at 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, outside City Hall, where LLamedo staged his hunger strike, to coincide with the city council meeting. They are asking that people bring candles and food to share.
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