This past weekend we saw a nationwide spark of protests to express grief and anger over the most recent deaths by police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Steven Taylor, and Tony McDade. Their deaths were added to the list of so many other names of Black people who were murdered by the police. We mourn their deaths and our collective history of institutional racism by which the institution of the police and the roots of this country are based. People took to the street to chant and raise signs and fists to say no more and in defense of Black lives. 

These protests were met with tear gas, rubber bullets, flashbang grenades, and violence by the police across the country and we saw it play out no differently in the City of Oakland. Protests continued for days and were met with the same level of violent response from the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and Mayor Libby Shaff then instituted curfews that followed a wave of curfews across the country, led by Trump’s incendiary words calling for protesters to be “squashed”, in direct response to people rising in defense of Black lives. 

Our children in East Oakland went to sleep every night this week to sirens and police helicopters overhead. Curfews are militarized repression used on Black and Brown communities to put a stop on our people protesting peacefully. But this will not work.
Tonight, Oakland Rising is standing in coalition with other organizations –  such as Anti-Police Terrorism ProjectElla Baker CenterCJJCCURYJAPENEBASEParent Voice OaklandMujeres Unidas y Activas, and many more – who have been fighting for racial, economic, and environmental justice tonight to show our dissent for the racist curfew and participate in a peaceful act of civil disobedience. We will occupy, using social distancing, to sit out the curfew at 14th and Broadway (across from City Hall) tonight. We are calling on all ADULT members of the community who are in support of Black Lives and against the use of violence by Oakland Police Department and Alameda County Sheriff’s Department to come join us.

“What we’re demanding is an end to the curfew and end to tear-gassing,” said Jessamyn Sabbag. “The mayor should make the cops stand down. This is her call.”

Berkeleyside released an article today that spotlights Oakland Rising’s Executive Director, Jessamyn Sabbag, and other coalition leaders. Read more on how tonight’s demonstration is about defying the racist curfew Mayor Libby Schaaf imposed on our communities which put even more Black and Brown lives at risk. The curfew does nothing to keep our communities safe, instead it instills fear in our people practicing their constitutional right to protest peacefully and gives permission for police to terrorize our communities.
We are also defying the curfew to lift up our demands. A multi-racial, multi-issue coalition of organizations have signed out the following 6 demands
1.) End the City of Oakland curfew now and remove Sheriff Greg Ahern from the position of Director of Emergency Management, which gives him broad authority to declare curfews and other repressive measures
2.) Block any military deployment to Alameda County
3.) Act to terminate public educational institutions’ contracts with the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department
4.) Cancel the county’s $318 million handout–a budget increase in the time of severe economic crisis–to the sheriff’s department; all county funds should be prioritized for life-affirming services, like healthcare and access to housing
5.) Divest the Oakland city budget from OPD and reinvest in Community
6.) Pass the full Black New Deal
We cannot and we will not wait idly by while OPD continues to harm our loved ones and our community. We deserve the right to protest and we deserve the right to demand justice from an unfair system that has never protected nor prioritized the safety, wellbeing, and livelihood of our Black and Brown communities.
Sign on to the coalition demands here and let City leaders know that now more than ever, we need them to step up and side with us in our search for justice.