City cuts social services and community jobs, while policing funds remained untouched and police actions unaccountable

How are recent Oakland financial news and city spending trade-offs connected to policing and injunctions?  When the City talks about solutions, it repeatedly puts the money behind policing, gang injunctions and other ineffective policies, while only paying lip service to real social spending and community-based services.

This month our City is making some major financial decisions that hard-hit Oakland residents, employees and communities.  Last week the mayor’s office announced that anywhere from 160 to 400 workers would be laid-off January 31st and that more than 2,500 have received pink slips. The extraordinary financial burden that OPD demands from the city, however, remained untouched: the City is still funding gang injunctions in North and East Oakland and is launching the 100-block public safety plan, ostensibly designed to target areas in the city with the highest rates of violent crime.

According to Police Chief Howard Jordan, the 100-block plan does not rely soley on increased patrols or added officers, but also shifts some of the burden to other city agencies.   The City says it also prioritizes the blocks for street repair projects, nuisance abatements and social programs. However, the city hasn’t named what those social programs are or how they are being received by the communities living in the 100-block area.  It appears that the City is only willing to put money behind policing when it talks about “solutions.”

Oaklandofficials have said that the 100-block plan, which was introduced on October 15, combines police suppression and increased collaboration with other law enforcement agencies such as the Alameda County Sheriff’s office.  STIC is deeply troubled by this: suppression tactics, which include gang injunctions and curfews, are part of a long history of racialized and violent policing that have claimed the lives of poor people and people of color living inOakland.  Further, suppression policing tactics have proved incredibly expensive for the city financially; Oakland has spent well over one million dollars (as of last October) litigating the temporary North Oakland and Fruitvale gang injunctions and, over the last ten years, has paid out more than $57 million dollars for claims, settlements and lawsuits related to Oakland Police Department actions and abuse.  Most recently in October 2011, Oakland made a $1.7million settlement payment to the family of Jerry Amaro after he was fatally beaten by the OPD.

Stop the Injunctions Coalition continues to voice loud and clear that the City must prioritize resources for things that actually bring safety to our communities, like jobs and community services, not policing.

These cuts are another example of politicians saying that the City will address public safety with a more diversified approach than policing, yet cutting funding to the diverse structure that it takes to create a healthy city. Parks and Recreation and Public Works amongst other Community and Economic Development departments will be the most heavily effected by the loss of Redevelopment money.  The Mayor and the City Council are ignoring the obvious connections between increased social services, including better access to job training and employment for those who are on probation and parole, and public safety.  Everytime there’s another shooting, members of the Council invariably bring up more parole beats, injunctions and curfews when its clear that this is notOaklandresidents want nor what will help stem the violence in our communities.

The Council and the Mayor have been repeatedly called upon by the Stop the Injunctions Coalition and other community-based organizations to take a pro-active step to a healthier city budget by de-funding gang injunctions inOaklandand to shift those resources instead to both social services and violence prevention programs. Despite the lack of political will to push injunctions forward on the part of the City Council, the City Attorney’s Office continues to use city money in the ongoing litigation of the Fruitvale injunction, which could stretch on for months.  The movement continues to build however, as we talk with each other about what real solutions look like, enact them everyday and become more connected to continue the struggle.

Visit us at the North Oakland Phat Beets market on Saturdays to talk about building the movement, connecting with ally organizations and neighbors who want to push the City to end the ineffective and costly injunctions once and for all.

STIC at Phat Beets

Sat Jan 28 11am-2pm

Sat Feb 11 12pm-2pm

Sat Feb 25 10-2pm.

 

Cultural Justice Models: what does a community-based model of justice look like?

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One commitment in the Stop the Injunctions campaign right now is to highlight the creative ways that communities are capable of addressing violence and creating real, inclusive safety every day.

Here is one analysis of the European-based legal system and why it does not serve our communities in creating inclusive or lasting safety.  This chart provides some ways to think about who gets to be engaged in a community-based solutions model and what the values are behind different justice models.

VIEW CHART HERE: Cultural Justice Model Chart-1

This chart comes from “Gullah Restorative Justice” by Morris Jenkins.

Abstract: “Restorative justice has been suggested as a means to deal with disproportionate minority confinement and other social problems within communities of color, specifically the Black community. However, scholars and practitioners have pointed out cultural concerns that must be addressed in the restorative justice process. Afrocentric theory and its principles have been suggested as a way to deal with the cultural concerns within the restorative justice process. This article examines the contemporary and historical means of informal dispute resolution in the Gullah Islands of South Carolina. These strategies of dispute or conflict resolution were used to deal with crime, delinquency, civil matters, community grievances, and other social wrongs outside the traditional common and civil legal systems. Through on-site in-depth interviews, focus groups, and an analysis of archival documents, the research determined that the strategies used on the Gullah Islands fell within the Afrocentric restorative justice model.”

Reclaiming Our Community

Santi, a member of Xicana Moratorium Coalition, talks at the 8/7 Block Party about how we can unite and reclaim our communities by taking pride in our art and culture, and connecting community members to resources and information.

Examples of organizations that use art & culture to connect community members include: Eastside Arts Alliance, Intertribal Friendship House, and Dignidad Rebelde.

How have YOU seen art & culture used to connect community members? PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!

Addressing Violence through Building Community

Sal, a Fruitvale resident that volunteered to do security during the 8/7 Block Party,  talks about how a major part of creating safe spaces is building community.

A lot of times people think we need to call the police for security, but if we reach out to community members and initiate some dialogue to get on the same page, then we can definitely come together and create our own safe spaces and communities. How do YOU create safe spaces in your home/school/at work/in your neighborhood? PLEASE COMMENT BELOW!

For examples of organizations that work to create safe & healthy communites, check out some of our Community Allies.

Family of Carlos Nava and Community Leaders Speak Out Against Injunctions

An array of family, youth and cultural workers, organizers and local leaders came together yesterday in Oakland to share our grief around the violence in our communities, to stand in solidarity with families who’ve lost their loved ones, and to continue to fight against injunctions and for self-determination.  We continue to stand strong in the struggle for safer streets through sustainable means, rather than letting sadness and fear lead to more policing and systemic violence.

Check out this video from the press to hear what people are saying…

Fact check: Be sure to note that the news anchor is *incorrect* when she says that there are two injunctions in place in Oakland, in the North and in West Oakland.  There is *no* injunction in place in West Oakland!

If you are a part of an organization, please sign on to this letter reminding City Council-members of their decision on May 17th to not enact any further gang injunctions. If you are a community member interested in plugging into the work, please email us at stoptheinjunction@gmail.com.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Fight against the threat of new injunctions!

In the wake of the shooting death of 3 year old Carlos Nava, City Council-members have begun the call for more injunctions. Overlooking the fact that many of those that organized the vigil for Carlos & his family have also been vigorously organizing against the gang injunctions for months now, Larry Reid was quoted on KTVU advocating for a new injunction (http://www.ktvu.com/news/28830897/detail.html).

As many of us know, and as Kazu from the Peace Development Fund clearly states, “There’s a difference between just preventing violence and creating peace through justice”.


As we continue to build strength and power amongst community members and organizations we are asking that you help us to realize our demand of accountability from city government and increased decision-making power for all Oakland residents.

If you are a part of an organization, please sign on to this letter reminding City Council-members of their decision on May 17th to not enact any further gang injunctions. If you are a community member interested in plugging into the work, please email us at stoptheinjunction@gmail.com.

Growing Our Roots: Reclaiming Our Fruitvale

On Sunday, August 7th community members from across Fruitvale came together with Stop the Injunctions Coalition (STIC), Eastside Arts Alliance, and other community-based organizations to beautify and celebrate our neighborhood. The mural and block party were proposed by Ruben & Mikey–members of STIC & defendants on the injunction list. Thanks to their energy & hard work, they were able to pull together other coalition and community members for what we hope is just the first of many more safe spaces for our youth, friends & family.

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We would like to give thanks to everyone that came out to show support & help make this event happen: