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Center Column Archives
Darwin Bond-Graham writes:
"All summer long the slaying of teenager Alan Blueford by a police officer festered in the city of Oakland, a metropolis already stained by its troubled police department which for nearly ten years has been spiraling toward federal receivership due to its institutionalized culture of brutality and misconduct. It was no surprise then that the first meeting of the City Council [September 18], in its new session after the Summer recess, was met by over one hundred outraged protesters and the family of the young man whose death at the hands of OPD frustratingly remains a mystery, with all known facts indicating an unjustifiable murder."
On August 16th, six veterans and activists in Oakland, CA, and six more in Portland, OR, were arrested at Obama campaign offices for occupying the spaces in solidarity with accused WikiLeaks whistle-blower PFC Bradley Manning. Dozens of veterans and anti-war demonstrators coordinated a West Coast set of actions that also included protests in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Seattle.
An abandoned historic building in Oakland was unveiled on the morning of August 13th as the Victor Martinez Community Library. The building was one of seven library branch casualties of budget cuts in the late seventies, and since then it has mostly sat empty. On the first day of the re-opening, donations of books poured in and area children helped to start a community garden in a side lot. In less than 15 hours, however, OPD raided the Community Library. The next morning, activists re-opened the library on the sidewalk in front of the building and it has been growing since.
Richmond, California residents have long battled with the massive oil company Chevron which maintains a large refinery on the city's western edge. On August 6th, a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond sent huge plumes of smoke and toxic chemicals into the air and hundreds of residents to local hospitals. The next day, Urban Tilth held a press conference and protest at the Richmond Civic Center to hold Chevron accountable for the release of dangerous contaminants into the air, as well as the potential loss of thousands of pounds of food.
UPDATE 8/7: Ankah was bonded out of jail just before 6pm. Her friends report that she will still need continued support.
Anna Karewicz, who is known to her friends as Ankah, is a puppeteer, artist, and avid community gardener who lives in Oakland. On Thursday, August 2nd, the group with which she was bicycle touring in Northern California mistakenly rode on the wrong side of the street on a city block in Arcata. The group was stopped by police. The other riders received traffic infraction citations and were allowed to go on their way. Ankah, however, was taken into custody with an ICE hold, and she could be deported at any time. Ankah's friends are requesting that people sign an online petition and contact the Humboldt County Sheriff's department and other officials to demand that she be set free.
On August 4th, a roving dance party with a large banner that read “Fuck The Permits, F.T.P., Fuck The Police” marched in solidarity with the vendors of Art Murmur. On July 6th, uniformed security officers had informed Art Murmur vendors that anyone without a permit would be ticketed, starting in August. Many vendors and artists ignored the threat of being ticketed, and set their tables in illegal spaces.
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Palestinian Cultural Day at its regular meeting in the Alameda County Administration Building in Oakland on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012. Board President Nate Miley and Supervisor Wilma Chan awarded the Proclamation to representatives of the Palestinian community: Fouad Atieh, Sandra Nasser, Nabil Wahbeh, and Loubna Qutami. The proclamation is a victory for Palestinian residents who have long sought recognition as a community despite sometimes fierce opposition.