The momentum is growing day by day. As we continue to demand justice for Black Lives and funding Black Futures and a full transformation from our country’s racist structure, we see beautiful victories sweeping the nation. Just recently, Minneapolis announced they have eliminated police from their schools and the city council is considering defunding the police department entirely. A movement led by the people, for the people, led by organizers who have been leading the work for years in Oakland and beyond, are creating new structures that feed into our resilience and collective power. 

Fueled by the ongoing on-the-ground work, Oakland’s political landscape is quickly shifting to respond to our racial climate. After one of the largest protests organized in the city by a large coalition of organizations, including Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP)Community READY CorpsOakland RisingBay RisingBlack Organizing Project (BOP)Ella Baker CenterCommunities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)ACCE Action, and more, city leaders have responded swiftly to our demands. Just last week, Alameda County and Oakland rescinded their racist curfews after seeing thousands of residents protest the criminalization of our communities of color – including our youth, unhoused neighbors, and frontline workers.

Continuing on with our demands, we are following the lead of a years-long organizing campaign by the Black Organizing Project to win tangible long-term solutions to defund police and eliminate them completely from our Oakland schools. We are joining forces with cities all across the country to divest from law enforcement and invest in alternative community solutions and services. This is the only way to guarantee the real wellness of our communities.

This Wednesday, June 10th, the Oakland Unified School District will hear about the proposal to eliminate Oakland Schools Police Department at their meeting. The resolution, written by the Black Organizing Project, proposes to eliminate the department and its sworn officers entirely. It would also direct the Superintendent to use these funds for alternative restorative justice solutions to meet the needs of students and a community-driven process to create a safety District plan. We will no longer allow our Black and Brown children to continue to be funneled into the school to prison pipeline. We will no longer allow OUSD PD to create an unsafe and hostile learning environment for our children.

More than 2,000 people have signed on to our coalition demands which include police-free schools. We need your help to pressure our city leaders to step up and show us they are on our side, the right side of history.

Here are two actions you can take to help us get our message across:
1.) We need your help to make sure OUSD School Board Members are also on board with us. They will be voting on the proposal at the following meeting set for June 24th.
You can use the following script when calling fellow OUSD School Board Members: 

“Hi, I’m an Oakland resident and I support police-free schools. I demand that Oakland divest from school policing by eliminating the Oakland School Police Department contract and the Peralta Community College District’s contract with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office by the end of 2020. I also demand that we reinvest these budgets and an additional $2.3 million into hiring mental and behavioral health and special education staff for students. Thank you.”

2.) Drop an e-comment on the OUSD Agenda Item X.1- 20-1335 before the OUSD meeting. Feel free to use the script above!
3.) Demand Oakland and Alameda County city leaders pass the full Black New Deal and divest additional funding promised to law enforcement. Sign on to our coalition demands here
For far too long, the police, elected officials, and corporations have benefited from the systems of injustice. In our fight for racial, economic and environmental justice, it is critical to not only hold police and elected officials accountable, but corporations as well. As we push to divest from law enforcement, we need to keep calling corporations into accountability and have them pay their share. 

Last week, after 40 years in the making, Schools and Communities First announced their qualification for the November ballot! Thanks to the hard work of local and statewide community organizations and small businesses, Californians will be able to vote to bring in an extra $12 million in revenue to our state to fund local services and resources for our communities. It is our opportunity to ensure funding for our local budget for years to come and to invest in our children and our communities.
Please join the Schools and Communities First coalition this Wednesday, June 10th at 5:30pm for a virtual town hall as we celebrate the SCF ballot qualification and path to victory this November. There will be plenty of inspiring speakers, service workers on the frontlines of CV-19, and organizers who are paving the way for our grand victory. We’ll also be discussing what’s at stake this upcoming election and how we can all work together to build a California that reflects the priorities and needs of our communities of color. Be a part of history and help our state and local budgets reflect the demands of our people at home and on the streets. This is our time to take over the streets AND the ballot box, to invest in our communities for long-term solutions.
Let’s keep the momentum going. Let’s build and #FundBlackFutures. Our liberation is tied together. It is imperative that we win.