A photo essay by Micki Luckey and Lili Shidlovski
Protests against police violence are occurring daily in thousands of cities and towns across the country since the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. The brutality of this modern lynching followed closely upon the killing of Sean Reed, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbury, and then Rayshard Brooks was shot in Atlanta on June 13. In recent years police killed about 1000 people per year all over the country , a disproportionate number of them Black.
In early June, artists ranging from high school students to experienced muralists painted their protest messages along the streets of downtown Oakland in a spontaneous outpouring of beauty, courage and inspiration. Paintings also sprang up in the Fruitvale, many with bilingual and symbolic messaging of Latinx support for Black Lives Matter and some protesting attacks on transgender people of color. The following photographs by Lili Shidlovski highlight and showcase some of the many dozens of emerging murals.
May these images further motivate all of us to join current Black-led efforts to defund the police and to continue to work for racial justice.
By Felicia Gustin
As thousands of white people join protests nationwide, it’s important to look at not just why people are showing up but also how. Given this nation’s history of racism, we, as white people, want to make sure we are part of the solution, not the problem.
By Micki Luckey
“We at the Movement For Black Lives believe that it is our mandate, in a moment where the police and vigilantes have increased their terror, that we make a clear and proud commitment to be in Defense of Black Lives.” M4BL
As we practice physical distancing and continue the fight against the structural inequities of our society, we must persevere through the leadership and guidance of our local Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Now more than ever, we must rely on mutual aid, mutual dependence, and solidarity.
SURJ Bay Area is taking a critical step forward by creating a Racial Justice Emergency Relief Fund. 100% of donations will be passed on to local organizations providing critical immediate aid to our most vulnerable communities while continuing to fight the structural inequities that turned a novel virus into a global emergency.
By Davey D Cook
Over the past few days, I’ve been noticing a number of folks understandably upset because of the vicious, callous unempathetic comments they’ve been seeing in their feeds bashing the #Moms4Housing
Many are wondering how and why so many people who are seemingly on or close to the societal, economic and political margins, came out riding hard for a multi-million corporation with a sordid, distasteful reputation? Why were so many people protecting a company that for the most part has not been friendly and altruistic to Black folks, especially those facing gentrification?
By Liz Jacobs
In this unseasonably cold winter and as we bundle up, think what it must be like in the homeless encampments in Oakland with no heat, no water, and a leaky roof if there is even one.
Since this blog post was published, there has been a vocal and growing outcry about the book American Dirt. Many Latinx writers and artists have raised criticisms of the book and its author’s treatment of Mexican people, and this has sparked a critical conversation about the extremely white publishing industry, the exploitation of Black and brown people and their traumas by outsiders, and who gets to tell whose stories. We join presente.org in the call to action to lift up #dignidadliteraria and amplify the voices of brilliant Latinx writers who have been largely shut out of the publishing industry.
There is additional information available from Vox, Huffington Post, Tropics of Meta, and The LA Times,
This is an ongoing conversation, and the situation continues to develop. Did you read American Dirt? Did you read the criticism of it? Share your opinions with us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Micki Luckey
In my blog about the book, The Faraway Brothers by Lauren Markham, I described the 2013 true story of two teenagers who fled gang threats in El Salvador and eventually made it to Oakland, California. Markham, a journalist who knew the boys at the high school they attended here, was able to expand on their story with her reporting on detention centers, migrant shelters, and border crossings. As we know, all of these have only gotten worse in the years since.
Today is the first day of SURJ Bay Area’s end of the year fundraising campaign, #12DaysToShowUp! Each December, SURJ Bay Area celebrates the amazing work of our local Black, Indigenous, and people of color-led partner organizations and invites you to deepen your commitment to racial justice! On 12 days of this month, we’ll be highlighting the work of some of our partner organizations fighting white supremacy and working towards a just and equitable future.
SURJ Bay Area committees support TGI Justice Project, Ella Baker Center, Essie Justice Group, Californians United for a Responsible Budget, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children/All of Us or None, Initiate Justice, Anti Police-Terror Project, Community Ready Corps, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, Abundant Beginnings, Sogorea Te, and Cause Justa:: Just Cause.
To support the incredible work that these organizations are doing, 100% of funds raised this December will go to our partner organizations! Any donation is helpful, whether it’s $5 or $500.
To learn more, sign up for our weekly newsletter or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter! @surjbayarea
On Sunday, November 24th, a coalition called Housing Justice Village set up a housing community in Oscar Grant Plaza. The City of Oakland decided that at 10:00pm the community became in violation of an overnight camping regulation. Police tore down the tents and arrested 22 coalition members on charges of overnight camping and suspicion of resisting arrest. All were taken to Santa Rita with bail set at $5,000.
We are excited to share that seven (7) bills that we supported this year were signed into law!
“We” are SURJ Bay Area’s Policy Committee (formerly the Policy Working Group). We are working in service to and in collaboration with our POC-led partner organizations that work on legislative advocacy: Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) / All of Us or None (AOUON), Essie Justice Group, and Initiate Justice. We listed our work-in-progress in a couple of earlier blogs (SURJ Bay Area Policy Priorities For 2019, Updated SURJ Bay Area Policy Priorities for 2019, Cross-Over Edition) and now that this year’s legislative cycle is over, we’d like to celebrate some successes, as well as get ready for next year!