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Related Categories: East Bay | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice
Rally for Oscar Grant 1/31
by Peter M
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:09 AM
A nighttime rally for Oscar Grant on Saturday, January 31 brought out around 90 people, mostly white, who were met by a larger force of police.
Police "negotiators," above, tried to open a "dialogue" with a few protesters. The people who assembled in the area in front of City Hall, after conversing with each other for around an hour, converged at an entrance to the nearby BART station, which was promptly closed. Police surrounded the rally on all sides, but there were no arrests. The pictures here are shown in the order they were taken.
§The Rally Moves
by Peter M Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:09 AM
by Peter M Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:09 AM
§Addressing the Crowd
by Peter M Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:09 AM
§Listening to a Speaker
by Peter M Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:09 AM
§Message for the Times
by Peter M Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:09 AM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Justice for Oscar
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 3:09 AM
no reason to bring up the crowd's demographics or if the protest was mainly made up of a certain color or race. We need to all come together to denounce this terrible injustice and tragedy;whatever your background is. Anyone should be welcome to come to protest against the killing of Oscar Grant and other police violence. We need to stay together and in solidarity against a brutal police state as all people. The crowd should be viewed as people who came out to rally for Oscar Grant and for justice, not just one that was mainly white. No need to play on the racial lines. That is the LAST thing this situation needs! We all stand together or we get defeated

Justice for Oscar Grant and all brutalized by the police!
by a white person
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 5:14 AM
Noticing race and talking about racial dynamics in a movement against police brutality is a good idea since the white privilege that white people get for just being white in the U.S. plays out in every situation.

In a movement against police brutality where the white supremacist power structure of cops, courts, prisons, media, and corporations all basically agree that everything is fine except for individual errors, it is up to that movement against police terror to show that:
a) the cops, courts, prisons, media, and corporations serve the interests of the owning class which is almost completely white by terrorizing and robbing workers of their freedom and resources, but especially people of color since white workers in the U.S. have not really seemed to notice or care, and then lying about it to cover it all up and make rich white people feel safe and okay and that everything is fair, and to make white workers feel superior or relieved that they don't have to worry about police terror as much as people of color as long as they "behave".
b) fighting the white supremacist power structure is a good idea for other movements (labor, women, LGBTI, anti-imperialists) since that fight will help kick out the people who rely on white privilege for their power or who are just too "pragmatic" to talk about the white supremacist outcomes of a lot of movement decisions (like environmentalists talking about "overpopulation" rather than overconsumption which targets people of color's bodies rather than colonialism; like unions talking about prison construction as "creating jobs" or refusing to organize with undocumented immigrants)
c) white people can (and should) act against white supremacy by working for justice alongside everyone else without expecting to be in charge, expecting to be paid, or expecting to be safe from criticism

Okay, end of sermon. Seriously though, I am glad that white folks were there tonight and if the crowd was whiter than the other protests against the killing of Oscar Grant, I would be curious about how the protest was organized. Did big organizations like CAPE call for it or was it done informally among networks of activists? Also, since there have been criticisms of white people and anarchists provoking rioting made by people of color inside and outside the movement, what does it mean that tonight's protest was whiter than before? If it was organized through networks of primarily white activists, is that because CAPE and other larger more racially diverse coalition-style groupings couldn't meet, decide, and mobilize overnight after bail was set and Messerle was released on Friday? Does the fact that white activists did not wait for CAPE or other groupings where more people of color are organizing speak to entitlement and white privilege? I would love to hear what people think. I personally think it was good that there was a protest and glad that white people were there to oppose the police murder of Oscar Grant. Other than that, I just have these questions.
by c
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 8:19 AM
On a tangent - can anyone give a recent update about the status of arrestees during the larger protests a couple weeks ago? I presume that most of the folks in the larger 'mass' arrest by the theater were let go with dropped charges. . I'm concerned about their ability to properly defend themselves against anything further, and was wondering what the status is on number of people with serious charges.
by ^
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 8:49 AM
90 people to protest this killing is insulting. And why was this rally held at night? If you want people at any rally, it must be in the daytime, preferably at noon, and on the weekend to maximize turnout. By 6 p.m., we are all doing our nighttime activities, which for most of us means we are home.
by a sf resident
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 8:54 AM
What is CAPE?
by xxxxxxxxx
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 12:03 PM
Sorry you were busy doing your "night time activities" and couldn't be bothered to come out and protest the murder of one of our community members, a friend, a father, a son. Maybe you were watching prime time or eating dinner or taking a bubble bath.

You know, in other countries, people stop what they're doing over much less because they are interested in change. They even stop going to work and school. People in the US are so apathetic and have not been able to make a difference in a long time. Maybe you're over the whole killer cop thing. It's been like a month since the last time someone was murdered by the police, right? Go back to your life of luxury and just pretend it isn't happening.
by who cares?
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 12:07 PM
I would like to ask the author what their intentions were in typing "mostly white."
Was it to say that the people there were mostly white and it's cool that they are working with people of color in their struggle, even though they are not so personally effected by this struggle?
Or to say that white people should just shut up because it doesn't involve them?
Or that it's weird to have so many police present because police don't brutalize white people as much?

I think it's good to discuss your thoughts about these things when you just go around mentioning the supposed race of people. It is a powerful spark in many minds.
by Peter M
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 12:34 PM
Thanks to everyone for their concern with this issue. I was going through my photos and saw that among the 25 or so people pictured, nearly all were white, and only a couple were black, one of them a cop. I hadn't expected that, and I thought that was perhaps newsworthy. It is up to the reader to decide what they think of it. This was my first time at a demonstration on this issue, and I am learning about the meaning of it.
by me.
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:07 PM
I was there last night and it was a diverse crowd but mainly white. It will be an ideal day when the peaceful protesters come out to hold candlelight vigils and smash shit up in their piedmont neighborhoods and the more "radical' communities hold up candles singing we shall overcome and shut downtown oakland down.

Who is ready to organize this?
by KO
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:20 PM
Please know more about an issue before you declare yourself a journalist on the issue. If you are not familiar with the nuances, please just post your pictures and keep your comments to yourself until you are better informed.
by ???
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 1:46 PM
Did Peter M declare himself a journalist? There is no credential check when posting to this site, its open to the public. He seems to be humble enough to admit that he is still learning and conscious enough to notice race which is usually ignored. So whats your problem with that? Teach already since it sounds like you have something to say and people are listenning.
by jail killer cops
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 2:01 PM
CAPE is the Coalition Against Police Executions and formed in response to the murder of Oscar Grant. They organized protests and rallies and pulled in diverse groups. Don't know much other than what they say here:
by .
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 5:20 PM
Peter has done some of the best reporting and photography for indybay of major antiwar and other protests. I certainly wish more people would take the time to document events happening in the region, as there is lots happening that only gets mentioned in private blogs or flickr etc.
by ......
Sunday Feb 1st, 2009 6:45 PM
yes, the crowd is perhaps, mostly white, and perhaps it is noteworthy, but if you want to think about why this is, you need to consider that perhaps it has less to do with the organizers and more to do with the police. perhaps black youth feel a bit differently about walking into the middle of a downtown that has completely occupied and militarized to the extent that oakland was that night. did you occur to you to wonder where were the usual folk that hang out on the corner of broadway and 14th? the police occupation of oakland has actively targeted youth of color, many of whom we personally saw turned away by police intimidation that night.
by wants justice for Oscar
Monday Feb 2nd, 2009 1:03 AM
I think that it was smart for the author to list race for 2 reasons-white folks unfortunately still have validity over POC. The fact that the majority of those in attendance were white tell politicians and others who are pro-cop/anti-youth of color that this issues is serious to whites as well and they demand justice.
2 this wasn't a CAPE event, which comprised of mainly POC from Oakland. Did anarchist decide to skip trying to take over this event becuz there were no outrage and unorganized black or brown youth to hide behind when they decided they wanted to egg the OPD on. Anarchist are well aware of the energy they bring and that as "event vulture" they pick and choose what events they can leech onto.
This event is noteworthy only for its ability to draw whites, it didn't have a huge show of solidarity from Oakland youth of color from low income areas; the major target of police brutality. Indybay readers ragged on CAPE, say what you will, they were willing to reach out to the hood to get them there and got them there in droves.
by an anarchist
Monday Feb 2nd, 2009 3:57 AM
First of all there are many different kinds of anarchists. Some are even part of those young people of color you say we leech on to. Most of us try not to be vanguardist like the Uhuru House ot the RCP. I have not seen anarchists trying to lead the movement or hide behind anyone. This demonstration had too many cops and not enough people of any color for militant tactics to be useful. They will be applied, but at an appropriate and intelligent time and place. And to the person who suggested we trash Piedmont, I'm ready. Are you? Since it was your idea, i'll let you call the date, time, and gathering location.
by shakes
Monday Feb 2nd, 2009 8:49 PM
One, it's based on racial assumption. Would you classify the man walking next to the man with a bullhorn as white? What about the man with the bullhorn? There were several people there that maybe looked white who are of mixed heritage. You also assume that white people have more cred in Oakland than People of Color. Prove it. Also, this notion that black youth didn't come out because they are terrified is way off the mark. There were plenty of black folks out. There were plenty of ministers from the townhall meeting earlier that day (where a large number of community members were.) Also, this event was called on the fly. It wasn't organized by anyone. There was a call out in the streets on January 30th to whomever was available to meet at city hall January 31st at 6. The fact that it wasn't organized by answer or cape is a testament to the will of people to not stop demonstrating.

Finally, I find it insulting that so many of you equate anarchism with whites. As an Anarchist Person of Color, I'd like you to know that white people are not the only people with clout, cred, moxy, gumption, or power.

End white supremacy by looking at your own assumptions about people. And try to experience shit before you write about it.
by seriously
Monday Mar 2nd, 2009 8:46 PM
"This demonstration had too many cops and not enough people of any color for militant tactics to be useful."

If that didn't sound like you'd rather be using us to shield your own bodies I don't know what did.