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Worried about the possibility of an electoral emergency, many organizations are mobilizing people across the U.S. to be ready to protect the election results and ensure that all votes are counted. Over 500 events are scheduled for November 4, their activation to be decided by 9am PST that day. In the San Francisco Bay Area, activists have already held demonstrations saying waiting wasn't necessary. On October 29 in Oakland, artists painted a giant street mural with the words "Choose Democracy, Stop a Coup.".
Thu Oct 1 2020 (Updated 10/02/20)
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Passes
At vigils recalling Ruth Bader Ginsburg's groundbreaking life, speakers said that many civil rights, particularly abortion rights, could be rolled back. Raising candles, many demonstrators observed silence in her honor, while others voiced serious concern about what her death would mean to the composition of the US Supreme Court and ultimately what it could mean for justice and equality for women and all historically oppressed people.
On September 4, five young activists from the city of Antioch and a former resident of the Mission District of San Francisco began a hunger strike with demands for local authorities to end racial injustice and police brutality. Despite ongoing protests, a petition signed by thousands, hundreds of public comments at City Council meetings, protests and an occupation of City Hall by several dozen activists, the Mayor, the Chief of Antioch Police, and council members have neither acknowledged nor taken action on protesters’ demands.
Citing a pattern of consistent stonewalling, investigative journalists have taken the Oakland Police Department to court to force it to comply with state public records laws. Two petitions brought in Alameda County Superior Court claim the department routinely ignores public records requests, professing a commitment to transparency even as thousands of open Public Records Act requests languish in their system. One petition claims the department offers only an automatic response to thousands of requests — if it replies at all.
Fri Jul 31 2020 (Updated 08/03/20)
Oakland Creates "Reimagining Public Safety Task Force"
APTP writes: The people of Oakland moved one step closer to realizing the goal of refunding resources to the community. After weeks of sustained protest and direct action, City Council unanimously approved a resolution to create an official task force to determine how to cut the Oakland Police Department’s budget by 50% next year. In recent weeks, thousands of Oakland residents have joined what has become an international call to invest in services that truly keep people safe by divesting from police.
On July 25, about 2,000 people gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland to stand in solidarity with the uprising in Portland, Oregon. They expressed outrage at Trump’s order to send federal agents into U.S. cities including Portland. Many spoke out against systemic racism, institutionalized white supremacy and the need to defund and dismantle the police. Others expressed outrage with Trump’s order to send Federal agents into U.S. cities under a racist “Law and Order” pretext.
Tue Jul 21 2020 (Updated 07/22/20)
Strike for Black Lives and Working People at McDonald's
On July 20, as part of the national Strike for Black Lives, protesters marched on a McDonald's restaurant in Oakland. The demonstration was part of a nationwide action called “Strike for Black Lives.” McDonald's and other fast food restaurants were targeted for not taking adequate precautions against Covid-19 for their workers, predominantly Black and Brown people. Protesters marched up Telegraph Avenue and into the parking lot at the McDonald's at Telegraph and 45th Street.
Tue Jul 21 2020 (Updated 07/22/20)
Fill Hotels Not Graves
Since April 24, homeless advocacy groups have been raising money to move unsheltered Oakland residents into hotels, in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Through crowdfunding and social media, the volunteer-run effort has raised nearly $123,000 in donations to house 43 unsheltered Oakland residents. The program currently has a waiting list of unhoused residents interested in moving in. Fill Hotels Not Graves is a collaboration of The East Oakland Collective, Love and Justice in the Streets, and The Village in Oakland.
Tue Jul 21 2020 (Updated 07/22/20)
Libby Schaaf Gets a Wake-Up Call
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's Oakmore estate was hit with graffiti and a noise demonstration in the early morning on July 21. A communiqué posted to Indybay states, "We left a note on her garage, and treated her to a nice fireworks display and the musical notes of pots and pans and assorted noisemakers. Our message to Libby and other elected officials is simple: You have the power to take the boot off our necks — so we have the duty to struggle against you until that boot is lifted. You can't hide from your responsibility!"
Sat Jun 27 2020 (Updated 07/07/20)
Juneteenth Becomes Huge Event Nationwide
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, the day when the Union army pronounced in Texas that all enslaved peoples in the United States were finally free. Among the many Bay Area protests this year was a thousand-strong march in San Francisco. In Oakland, the ILWU shut down the port before thousands marched through downtown. Santa Cruz marched in large numbers as well. In Palo Alto and Fresno, protesters painted "BLM" and "Black Lives Matter" in huge letters in the street.
Mon Jun 15 2020 (Updated 06/16/20)
Oakland Youths Protest to Rid Schools of Police
On June 10, a large contingent of Oakland's young people marched on Mayor Libby Schaaf's house to demand that police be removed from the city's schools. Shouting marchers, followed by a car caravan, worked their way up Fruitvale Avenue towards the home demonstration. Speakers at the vigil in front of the mayor's house denounced the millions of dollars spent on police, the school to prison pipeline, and demanded that the money go instead to real human needs.
Demonstrations continue around the Bay Area in the name of George Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police on May 25, with tens of thousands taking to the streets. Protests in every corner of the Bay Area have been met with police force. Demonstrators say they won’t be stopping despite the risks posed by police attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the full feature with coverage from across Northern California.
California has neglected its catastrophic housing affordability and homelessness crisis for years. Meanwhile, civic leaders prioritize large scale hotel developments, offering billions in incentives to developers. With the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, hundreds of thousands of hotel rooms sit empty while the government continues to deny thousands of unhoused Californians the right to shelter in place. In Los Angeles, there are now almost 100,000 vacant hotel rooms. In Oakland, at least 1,500 hotel rooms are sitting empty.
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