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Center Column Archives
On March 5, Michael Walker, aka Ghetto Prophet (GP), co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, was arrested at his home by the California Highway Patrol. Police claimed he was in violation of his parole, but GP has been off of parole since August 2012. Supporters believe this is a political attack because earlier that same day, GP participated in the Justice for Alan Blueford (JAB) Coalition rally. As of March 16, Ghetto Prophet is still being held at Santa Rita jail and supporters are asking for donations to help support his family.
On February 17, individuals gathered in Monterey for an Idle No More flash mob held in solidarity with First Nations and Chief Theresa Spence. Organizers described the flash mob as an opportunity for "dance and prayer" and to educate the public. Groups represented at the gathering included the Ohlone and the Chumash, as well as a number of others.
To show support for the Idle No More movement, on January 26th a statewide rally was held on the steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. On the 27th, Ohlone and other individuals of Californian Native American ancestry held a flash mob in San Francisco at the Westfield Mall, where activists asked, "What are you going to do, not to idle anymore?"
On Tuesday, January 15th
, hundreds of community activists from groups including Stop the Injunctions Coalition and Justice for Alan Blueford gathered at Oakland's City Council Public Safety Committee meeting to protest Oakland's plans to hire former NYPD and LAPD police chief William Bratton as a consultant to the OPD. Bratton is well known for the implementation of aggressive policing tactics known as "zero tolerance" policy which applies aggressive policing tactics such as New York's infamous "stop and frisk" to target minor infractions within the city. Even though the public safety meeting was well attended by those opposed to the contract, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that the city council vote on the proposal.
For the second New Year's Eve in a row, nearly two hundred people chose to forgo traditional evening indoor parties and instead demonstrated in the streets of Oakland against the racist prison industrial complex. After a noisy march with a sound system, a symbolic attack was made against the North County jail by a barrage of fireworks shot high into the air towards the jailhouse walls. Participants marched back to the plaza in time for the midnight count down to 2013, right in the middle of the intersection of 14th & Broadway.
Family and friends remembered Oscar Grant during a January 1st, 2013 vigil at the Fruitvale BART Station where his life was taken New Year's Day 2009. Four years after his murder by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, Oakland has not forgotten Grant. Over 150 people came out in Grant's memory.
On October 30, the family of Derrick Gaines, the 15 year old who was shot and killed by South San Francisco Police Department officer Joshua Cabillo, filed a federal civil rights action against the City of South San Francisco. Family members, who are seeking $10 million in damages, hired Attorney John Burris to represent them in the wrongful death action. Burris says, "This is a clear case of racial profiling that lead to disastrous results."