People’s News: the Summer Report

Last fall Oaklanders turned out to oppose ordinances proposed by City Council members Larry Reid and Ignacio De La Fuente that pushed for a bundle of repressive measures including a night and day curfew for youth, an anti-loitering measure, and an expansion of gang injunctions.  Reid and De La Fuente proposed these ordinances as a preventative measure to “youth crime”, indicating that youth crime rates jump during the summer in particular. 

The opposition to this ordinance bundle was overwhelming and stopped the proposal dead in its tracks.  Oaklanders know that quality education and youth programming, meaningful youth employment, and stable housing situations for young people are what help keep them and all of us more safe and secure.  We also know that claims about youth crime are fear mongering tactics used  to alienate us from the young people in our neighborhoods.  Oakland’s youth crime rate has steadily decreased for the past three decades, even surpassing cities employing youth curfews and other repressive measures.

We wondered, then, what the city leaders and OPD did with their time over the summer.  Seems they got up to some mischief.  We learned this summer, for instance, that photos of Mayor Quan and Judge Thelton Henderson (who will decide if the OPD should be put under receivership) were defaced in “racist, insulting, and inappropriate” ways and posted on a bulletin board inside police headquarters.    

We heard that the data driving Quan’s “100 Block Plan” policing scheme is based on faulty statistics about “violent crime” rates.  We witnessed OPD Chief Howard Jordan unveil still additional policing schemes—hot spot policing and Operation Ceasefire.  We tend to agree with East Oakland resident Rose DeLeon-Foote, who noted: “The OPD is constantly putting into effect different strategies that sort of encase different demographics of people like Black and brown neighborhoods and it’s the same places where they are doing gang injunctions that don’t work.  It’s all the same thing with a different name slapped on it, and just a different way to profile people.”

We learned that Ignacio De La Fuente announced his candidacy for the at-large City Council seat, running on a law-and-order platform.  Despite the clear opposition of Oakland residents to gang injunctions, curfews, and anti-loitering ordinances, De La Fuente remains out of touch with local residents and persists in advocating for stale, ineffective measures, even as other cities, such as Santa Barbara are changing their tunes.

Stop the Injunctions Coalition (STIC), on the other hand, has been hard at work this summer, continuing to build the community solutions we know make our neighborhoods strong.

We continue our partnership with Phat Beets in North Oakland.  You may have seen the STIC table at the market on Saturdays.  If not, keep an eye out for us next time you’re there.  We will also be facilitating some political education sessions this fall on policing, gentrification, and food justice.  More details coming soon!

STIC member Xicana Moratorium Coalition hosted the 33rd annual Xicana Moratorium Day. This year’s theme, “Barrio Unity, Building Community from the Ground Up,” and the great music, speakers, and art-making, sustained momentum XMC has built all year in forging  alliances to help keep East Oakland strong and healthy.

And, STIC’s community garden is growing strong!  Corn planted by one of the neighbors grew over our heads. Zucchini, kale, and tomatoes are ready to harvest and a new soil delivery means more beds and more planting!  A couple weeks ago, two STIC members hosted a tour of 25 UCSF medical students at the garden. They talked about healthy spaces in cities, community self-determination, city repression and neglect. They also related how the garden as well as mural-making and other cultural work are supporting community growth and resistance  as well as youth leadership.

And we’re not stopping there.  STIC’s fight against gang injunctions in Oakland is picking up steam this fall as we examine local candidates’ positions on the issues that affect the health and wellbeing of our city.  One of our core demands has always been “Accountability from City Government and Increased Decision-Making Power for All Oakland Residents.”  As such, we will continue to push elected officials and governing bodies to build inclusive and representative community decision-making processes when it comes to passing laws, ordinances, and resolutions to be implemented in our city.  We will continue to push for an investment in People over police and imprisonment, providing every opportunity possible for the educational, recreational, and job development for young people, and for strong support and services for our families, friends, co-workers and neighbor returning home from prisons and jails.  We continue to fight for a healthy and sustainable Oakland, built and maintained by prioritizing the economic, social, and cultural needs of all our communities.  Stay tuned for a candidate report card so you can see how those running for City Council size up on important issues.  We’ll be releasing it alongside our own political measurement: a People’s Platform that will actually work to make Oakland safe and healthy. 

Until then, visit us at the garden or at Phat Beets, and holler if you want us to come to you!

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