Oaklanders sent a clear message against gang injunctions through yesterday’s elections, voting out Iganacio De La Fuente, the most aggressive and vocal proponent of the use of gang injunctions, and voting in injunction opponents, Dan Kalb and Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, in Districts 1 and 3 respectively. Throughout the election STIC was able to keep the issue of gang injunctions on the table
, asking publicly and repeatedly what candidates’ positions were on injunctions and educating our neighbors about STIC’s people’s platform on public safety
. Many candidates across the political spectrum took strong positions against injunctions or shifted their positions to oppose injunctions
, citing a lack of evidence on their effectiveness, excessive costs, and danger of expanding criminalization as reasons.
Our work made it clear that Oakland can’t afford injunctions, Oakland doesn’t need injunctions, and Oaklanders don’t want injunctions. At the ballot box, we used one of the few vehicles provided for Oakland residents to weigh in on the controversial policing practice. And the tide against gang injunctions just continues to swell.
But as we know, the real battle and the real victory is still ahead. We will watch carefully in January to see what the Council will do with some fresh energy. With a clear mandate from Oakland residents, the Council must choose to de-authorize the costly, ineffective injunctions in favor of community-based solutions consistently proven to make substantial, lasting positive change in our communities. With so many candidates taking strong stances against injunctions during their elections, the real test will be whether those same candidates will offer more than empty campaign promises and put their positions into action on the Council.
A turnover in city council old guard could open up new possibilities for Oakland to make the choice to end the use of gang injunctions once and for all, but the Stop the Injunctions Coalition will continue to monitor and mobilize around council activities related to gang injunctions, curfews, and other attempts to expand police power in Oakland to make sure that our voices and our solutions remain at the heart of the conversation about public safety in our city. Grassroots pressure made it impossible for gang injunctions to spread across the city and grassroots pressure is essential for us to eliminate the threats posed by gang injunctions.
Thanks to all of you who have been with us in this fight and stay tuned for more news from STIC soon!