We won! A full victory against gang injunctions!

Please forgive the long overdue post! This was sent to supporters on March 20, 2015 and we never got around to posting it on this blog. Thank you to all who are inspired by the struggle. To stay in touch with the organizations who ought the gang injunctions, please email CROakland@criticalresistance.org or check out the Community Allies page and click on the organization you’d like to check out.

We write to you with great news: after 6 years, Stop the Injunctions Coalition have won a full victory against the use of racist and anti-youth gang injunctions in Oakland! Oakland is the first city in the country to admit defeat on all fronts, dismiss the cases in court, and drop gang injunctions from their toolbox of repressive policing schemes. This victory reminds us that wins—large and small—are within our reach, and that it pays off in the long-term to demand what we want, rather than what those in power say we are worthy of receiving.

From 2010-2012, Stop the Injunctions Coalition fought tooth and nail to halt the use of racist and anti-youth gang injunctions implemented by the City of Oakland. We knew that what our communities needed was affordable housing and stable employment, an end to deportations, accessible and safe youth centers and meaningful education. Gang injunctions, as proven in other cities, would bring displacement and further criminalization for Black and Brown communities and ultimately lock more of our people up.

The Stop the Injunctions Coalition (STIC) built a three-pronged strategy consisting of grassroots community organizing, sharp media messaging, and legal support to fight the two temporary North Oakland and Fruitvale gang injunctions. We grounded the struggle in an anti-policing framework and sought to lift up the voices of Oaklanders most affected by gang injunctions: those named, their families, neighbors and friends.

Week after week, we mobilized hundreds of people to City Council meetings where countless community members fiercefully challenged those in power in sessions that would run past midnight. We let the City Council, the Oakland Police Department, and the City Attorney know that Oakland didn’t need and didn’t want gang injunctions and that we had our own solutions to creating strong, healthy and safe communities without cops. Over and over we advocated that City resources go to restorative justice, education and community programs that many of us have consistently been building in Oakland.

This tenacity paid off. In May 2012, we claimed a real people’s victory when the Council limited the number of gang injunctions in Oakland to 2 temporary ones (as opposed to the 10 the City Attorney originally proposed) and removed all the “John Does” from the lists, effectively preventing OPD from naming any further individuals to either injunction. Our community pressure prevented Oakland from enforcing or expanding the injunctions, because we made them too controversial and revealed their harmful impacts on our neighborhoods.

And yet, the legal battle continued to get the existing North Oakland and Fruitvale injunctions dismissed. For the last 3 years, despite the fact that OPD has moved on to other policing schemes and hasn’t been enforcing the injunctions, the city refused to relieve the 65 people targeted by the injunctions and spent millions of dollars and hundreds of hours on continued litigation. Until this month!  Finally, on March 5, 2015, the City Attorney officially dropped both injunctions from the books. At last, the Oaklanders who were targeted got relief from this repressive police pressure, and they got to celebrate with their loved ones and communities.

Our work together inspired people targeted by the injunctions to become powerful organizers; it unified Black and Brown communities across the entire city in a common struggle, and drew us together to forge stronger bonds. This is what a campaign in the struggle to abolish the Prison Industrial Complex looks like. It’s long and requires patience, resolve and discipline. Sometimes campaigns, like the one to stop the injunctions, take 6 years to win and need to be sustained over the long haul.

Thank you so much for your support. Onward!

Defend the Garden: Events this Week!



The City of Oakland has served an eviction notice to the Fruitvale Community Garden and we need you to defend this community space!
Sign the petition and come out to these community events!
Wednesday, April 9, 5-8pm: Community Building BBQ!
*Every Thursday* 5-7pm Garden work-day
All events are at the garden: 28th and Foothill Blvd, next to Mi Carnal

The garden was started from the grassroots, by a group of lifelong residents, neighbors, friends and organizations involved in Stop the Injunctions Coalition who envisioned that an empty plot overgrown with weeds could be a an asset rather than an eyesore; all it needed was some attention, some hands-on work, some plants and dedicated people to turn it into the wonderful space it is today.   
As this garden demonstrates, strong communities grow incredible things from the ground up.  Join us to defend the garden!



Police budget jeopardizes West Oakland Youth Center

from our coalition allies, Critical Resistance- Oakland:

In the news…
In Friday’s headlines, Oakland residents witnessed one more time how the City of Oakland’s twisted priorities could put its youth in jeopardy.  News broke that the West Oakland Youth Center—a project five years in the making and developed by youth and grassroots organizers—may not open due to lack of funding to operate the center and staff its programs.  The Mayor’s budget proposal assumes that Oakland cannot absorb these operating costs, amounting to roughly $340,000, while the city has had no problem throwing good money after bad in support of policing consultants and policies that continue to fail Oakland.  According to Councilperson Desley Brooks, “We’re talking about $340,000 for both programs combined out of a $1 billion budget. You can’t tell me that we can’t find $340,000 for our kids.”

Even as investments in policing continue to increase (totaling more than half of general fund expenditures), Oakland can’t seem to find less than one third of one percent of its budget to invest in safe spaces and quality programming for its youth.  According the KPIX news reporting on the issue, the Mayor’s budget “sacrifices costs for both youth programs [slated for the West Oakland Youth Center] in favor of putting more cops on the streets.”  These trade-offs should not surprise us.

In January, for instance, no belt tightening or shortfalls were predicted when the City Council agreed to extend Strategic Policy Partnership’s contract with the OPD to the tune of $250,000.  The City pursued the contract despite overwhelming opposition to the inclusion of William Bratton in the contract and insufficient support to suggest that any additional consultants to the OPD were even necessary, especially given the fact that Oakland is already paying the Frazier Group and independent monitors to stem the devastating harm that OPD cops continue to do to Oakland communities (Frazier was also just named OPD compliance director with a salary of $270,000).

To add insult to injury, after repeated assurances that Bratton would only play a minor role in the consultancy and minimal public presence, the Council and OPD have begun to refer to the contract as “The Bratton Contract,” and “the Bratton Group” indicating their complete lack of commitment to their word or respect for their own constituents.

So where do we go from here?
Policing fails Oakland.  Oakland continues to pay the social and economic costs of the legacy of the Riders, and feel the antagonism generated between community members and cops through policing projects such as gang injunctions, sweeps, raids, and stop and search. The impacts of investing in quick fix policing approaches rather than in the kinds of programs and services that have been proven to stabilize communities in the long term, such as community centers, illustrates a stubborn, blind dedication to misguided solutions.

Councilperson Libby Schaaf, for instance, continues to cling desperately to outmoded, police-heavy approaches despite clear, consistent messages from a wide range of Oakland residents about what they want instead.  In an email blast to her district residents on May 31, Schaaf herself reminds Oakland that when it comes to policing in our city “there are a plethora of dusty plans sitting on shelves” but then goes on to implore us to “stick to the plan”.

Although it’s been said over and over, it obviously bears repeating—Oakland cannot police its way out of poverty. No revolving cast of police chiefs, or board rooms full of consultants, or shelves full of policing plans will prevent policing from failing Oakland.  It’s high time that Oakland invests in its future by investing in its youth, its families, and its neighborhoods rather than continuing to invest in policies and practices that destabilize and separate our city.  As West Oakland Councilperson Lynette McElhaney stated, “Make no mistake about it we are going to spend money on these kids. We will either spend it in a proactive way, through youth centers and positive programming, or we will spend the money on arresting them, incarcerating them, putting them in juvenile hall or God forbid to treat them in emergency rooms because they’ve fallen victim to violence.”

Building community…from the ground up
Yet while the City makes desperate moves that destabilize and separate our city, every day we see the hard and true work of community members using all the resources they have available to build a better, healthier city.  The West Oakland Youth Center is not yet a dream deferred, it is a possibility.  All of us continue to build.  We’re coming off the heels of an amazing Malcolm X Jazz Festival, in its 13th year of bringing thousands of Oakland residents together in celebration, art, politics and education.  Next weekend, on June 8, the Stop the Injunctions Coalition will be having a Saturday workday in the thriving Community Garden at 28th and Foothill.  We look forward to planting possibilities together in what seems like an impossible time, continuing to grow into our vision of what Oakland can be.

Stop the Injunctions Coalition: Support Residents without Increasing Policing

Oakland Tribune Video Op-Ed


STIC members respond to the Bill Bratton and Bob Wasserman consultancy contract with the City of Oakland/ Oakland Police Department. They emphasize that Bratton-style policing (zero-tolerance, lifestyle/ quality policing, suppression-style policing) is particular brand of policing that Oaklanders have sumamrily rejected: gnag injunctions, youth curfews, anti-loitering laws. Further, suppression-style policing is something we must be particularly wary of creeping in with Bratton, given that the the history of the OPD is one of regular harassment and mistrust with Oakland communities. Lastly, this particular contract is just one more bureaucratic layer, rather than signalling any shift in OPD behavior or practice.

Supercop’s Powers Weakened: Media coverage reflects the changing conversation about Bratton coming to town

Our large anti-Bratton mobilizations to City Hall have dramatically shifted the conversation around the Bratton and Wasserman contract in Oakland. The broad slew of media coverage below show a changing conversation where politicians have distanced themselves from Bratton’s notorious zero-tolerance policing policies and are now even going to lengths to hide him from the public.  While the contract was approved by the City Council, we succeeded in shifting the terms of the debate.  Bratton will be coming in much more feeble and under the watch of a strong popular front that stands united against his suppression policing tactics:

“But that plan changed after it became clear that Bratton’s support for aggressive police tactics made him a lightning rod for protesters who filled the council’s chamber two weeks in a row. Instead, Bratton’s consulting duties in Oakland will be limited to behind-the-scenes work surveying crime reduction efforts, setting forth a crime reduction strategy and interviewing city leaders.”


Media Round Up City Council Vote on Bratton 1.22.12























TONIGHT! MOBILIZE: The People vs. Bratton, Round Two


Last week Oakland residents filled City Hall, and nearly 100 public speakers debunked the myth that the notorious William Bratton would be welcome in Oakland. Public Safety Committee members went so far as to ask if Bratton was too “toxic” for Oakland.

Oakland City Hall
Sign up here and fill out a speaker card if you want to voice your opinion at the meeting (agenda item 23).  We’ll provide talking points to support you, if you need.
(it might be a long meeting, so come through when you can!)

WE DEMAND: Remove William Bratton from the Wasserman contract or reject the contract altogether.  Bratton is too toxic for Oakland!

William Bratton is notorious for his implementation of suppression-style policing—stop and frisk, curfews, gang injunctions, aggressive ticketing and harassment— in cities across the country and the world.  Targeting people of color, poor people, and young people, his policing methods have led to the displacement and imprisonment of thousands of people, and have left a wake on instability in countless neighborhoods. Bratton is NO GOOD for Oakland.

The City wants to waste $250,000 of its scarce resources on Bratton’s consulting even though the City Administrator’s report states, “The Chief of Police has firmly and unequivocally stated that racial profiling is wholly unacceptable and clearly prohibited by Department training, policies, and law. The Department is committed to police practices that build community relationships and trust.” If the City has a commitment to rejecting these policies, why bring in the guy responsible for popularizing them as an advisor?

Including Bratton in this contract defies common sense.  He is slated to work on 3 of 19 activities outlined in the contract, one of which is consulting on a crime reduction strategy.  If Chief Jordan and the Council say that they reject racial profiling, stop and frisk and similar zero-tolerance policing practices, why would they spend 60% of the contract’s resources on a subcontractor doing 15% of the work to advise them to use policies they have already rejected? It makes no sense.

Last week Oaklanders spoke clearly and tonight we will again.  William Bratton and his zero tolerance approaches have no place in our city.  Join us tonight to stand in solidarity against zero tolerance policing and send a clear message to the City Council that Oakland rejects William Bratton.