On February 7 an Oakland Police Department officer shot at — but missed — a man who was reportedly having a mental health crisis. Later that day, Oakland city officials bragged in a press release that OPD had not shot anybody for twenty months. However, in the last thirteen months five people have been shot and killed by law enforcement in Oakland, it just happens that they were not killed by members of the Oakland Police Department. Jacorey Calhoun was shot and killed by an Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy in August of last year.
In September of 2014, the City of Oakland began to make attempts to displace and remove people in public plazas in the wake of the WOSP (West Oakland Specific Plan) being passed. Then, in December, as the Ferguson inspired Bay Area uprising was raging, people armed with bolt-cutters took down the fences encircling the park to the cheers of those on the streets. Wanting to know more about the anti-gentrification struggle and how it connects to the battle against police and white supremacy, we caught up with long-time Oakland organizer and militant, Linda Grant.
Yuvette Henderson was gunned down by Emeryville police officers Michelle Shepard and Warren Williams on February 3 within minutes of an incident at the Emeryville Home Depot about a block away. Concerned that Yuvette was killed because she was a Black woman, and that police agencies are involved in a massive cover-up, the Anti Police-Terror Project held a rally at Emeryville PD headquarters on February 21 before marching to the Home Depot, where activists used chains and lockboxes to shut the store down for most of the day.
On February 8, the University of California Student Association, the independent official voice of 240,000 UC students, passed two advisory resolutions: Resolution Calling for the UC Regents to Divest from Corporations Violating Palestinian Human Rights and Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California by an 9-1 vote, with 5 abstentions.
On February 3, Yuvette Henderson was shot and killed by Emeryville police just inside of Oakland city limits. Nearly a hundred people turned out for a vigil for Yuvette Henderson that evening. On February 10, activists delivered printed questions for ExtraSpace Storage, where Yuvette was gunned down, and Home Depot, where Yuvette was accused of shoplifting and apparently some sort of altercation took place. A demand was issued for both the Emeryville and Oakland police departments to release surveillance video.
On February 7, thousands of people from across the state took to the streets of Oakland to call on Governor Jerry Brown to protect Californians from dangerous oil activities that harm the state's water, health and communities. The day before, on February 6, about seventy activists blockaded the entrances to the California State office building in San Francisco in support of a state-wide ban on fracking.
From the blockading of Google buses to the blockading of major freeways. From riots against white supremacy and police in Oakland to anti-tech and gentrification brawls in San Francisco, 2014 was an explosive year. Battles erupted in a variety of places and around various issues. This year in review looks at some of the key struggles and outbreaks of rebellion that shook the bay area to its core.