America is not a total police state, but Oakland sure damn feels like one sometimes. Police murders of unarmed civilians, ICE raids outside middle schools, cops brutalizing anti-war protesters down at the docks — welcome to The Town. And now, just down the block from me in Fruitvale – the same neighborhood that Oscar Grant was killed by police -Â the City of Oakland is trying to pass its second so-called ‘gang injunction.’
The proposed injunction would increase racial profiling, strip youth and adults of their civil liberties, and lead to more police repression in East Oakland. It would do nothing to stop violence in the neighborhood — to do that, the city should listen to organizers’ to instead create a “Youth Empowerment Zone” of jobs, resources, and educational opportunities.
Some of my best friends live in the Fruitvale. So do many of my students. Not many cops do, though.
This is about fighting for literal SAFE SPACE for young people here in the Bay. If these injunctions keep passing, it’s gonna be more and more of a police state for our folks. But we in Oakland actually have a chance to be the first city in the country to defeat an injunction.
Since the first proposal for an injunction in North Oakland (temporarily approved last year), the Stop the Injunctions Coalition and other good folks have organized teach-ins, mobilizations, and pressure at the Alameda Courthouse and Oakland City Council. I’ve been proud to be part of many of these actions — and much props to the homies organizing day in and out: Sagnicthe Salazar, Cesar Cruz, Whitney Walton, Erika Kent, Michael Siegel, and too many others to count.
Which brings us to the here and now.
Next week, the Oakland City Council is taking a vote on the injunctions. While the final decision will be made by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman, if the council takes a public stand against the injunctions and most important, refuses to allocate funds to maintain them, that will be a huge victory. Here’s two ways you can help make that happen:
1) Click here to contact the the City Council and Mayor Quan and demand they vote against the injunctions. Thanks to the ACLU, it takes literally 30 seconds.
2) Mobilize and speak at the City Council meeting this Tuesday, May 17 at 5:30pm. Youth and community organizations are turning out in force. Meet me at City Hall…it’s going down.
If you need any more inspiration, check out this video from the March 4 student walk-out and march against the injunctions from Fruitvale to the courthouse. Some of my students are in there making me hella proud.
This is our Oakland. Our streets. It’s time for our solutions.