For immediate release
September 14, 2021
Press contact: Catalina Brennan-Gatica, [email protected], 203-654-0071
(Oakland, CA)— On Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 1:30PM PST the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee will be determining if Oakland residents get a voice in the development and implementation of the City’s non-police response service, the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (MACRO). MACRO is a set of recommendations intended to reimagine Oakland’s response to nonviolent emergencies such as mental health crises, and other human experiences of Oakland residents, by providing a non-police service alternative. Community leaders are also calling on the City Administration to immediately implement the MACRO program with community oversight without further delay.
On March 16th of this year, an effort, led by Council Member Carroll Fife, Council President Nikki Fortunato-Bas and Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, passed a resolution in response to the demands and expertise of Oakland residents calling for a transformation to the City’s response to Oaklanders experiencing non violent emergencies. These demands, approved by City Council as a policy directive in the 2022-2024 budget, included committing the program to being housed within the Oakland Fire Department and establishing a community advisory board. The community advisory board was a critical win for Oakland residents advocating for a reimagined response to the needs of Oaklanders by ensuring that MACRO is not just recycling broken policies but developing policies, practices and systems in alignment with the needs and expertise of Oakland residents. The community advisory board is intended to partner with the Oakland Fire Department and community organizations like APTP (MH1), Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, and Urban Peace Movement to properly develop, vet and hold the program accountable. Oakland residents are now demanding that the City Attorney, Mayor and City Administrator work with the identified local groups to ensure a community based board or oversight commission is in place to ensure transparency over this process.
“MACRO was a victory for the people of Oakland. For too long the City’s insufficient response to the needs of Oakland residents has resulted in serious community harms—disproportionately impacting BIPOC communities. The purpose of the MACRO recommendations is to reimagine our response to nonviolent emergencies— NOT to recycle a broken system. Now this victory is threatened. MACRO needs community oversight to ensure this program works in an effective, transparent and transformational way that centers the expertise of the people of Oakland. This has already been decided by Council and must be enacted now. We want to thank Council Member Fife, Council President Fortunato-Bas Vice and Mayor Kaplan for supporting our efforts to identify the proper vehicle for the community to engage with the development of MACRO and demand that the City Attorney, Mayor and City Administrator give Oakland residents a voice in MACRO. ” said Cat Brooks executive director of the Justice Teams Network and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project.
Black, brown and Indigenous members of the Oakland community have experienced disproportionate harm due to our City’s insufficient response to nonviolent emergencies and mental health crises. MACRO is a transformational opportunity to correctly address the needs of Oakland residents, but this requires the accountable implementation of MACRO. Denying Oakland residents, particularly those of BIPOC communities, the opportunity to voice their concerns and share their expertise is a commitment to recycling policies that result in direct harm and loss of life for Black, Brown and Indigenous Oaklanders.
This statement can be attributed to the Oakland Progressive Alliance, a coalition of Labor and Community groups committed to reinvesting in the people, jobs and services that help Oakland thrive. The coalition represents thousands of working class Oaklanders and includes ACCE, Oakland Rising, APTP, Parent Voices, CRC, CuryJ, SEIU 1021, Local 21, IAFF Local 55, Trades, Alameda Labor Council, OEA, UNiTE HERE, BAFCA and EBASE.