We are all being asked to reimagine a new way to see the world – a world without police. A world where we don’t need to wake up in the morning and hear again how the police acted as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner of yet another Black person. We are being asked to reimagine a world where we need to dig deep into our history and our own thinking and untangle ourselves from the institutional racism that occupies our institutions and systems as well as our minds. 

Reimagine communities full of resources and services like good jobs, ample housing, and deep investment in children and families, that create better opportunities for our communities made most vulnerable from centuries of racism.  

Reimagine a world in which our Black communities are free from police and state terror, where our first responders are community members who are trained and certified to respond to and deal with issues like mental health crises and addiction with compassionate care.

Reimagine an Oakland in which WE KEEP US SAFE. Where we fund infrastructure and just recovery that does not rely on police. Where we fund services that help people get back on their feet after the pandemic.

We are being called in this moment to create our future together. We are ready. Countless organizations and individuals have been doing the work of caring for our children, youth, families, unsheltered, poor, immigrants…We have been fighting for this for a long time. We know what it takes.
In the last two decades, the Oakland Police Department has taken almost half of the general fund, and this year is no different. Mayor Schaaf’s proposed mid-cycle budget for 2020-2021 allocates 44% of the budget to police, while resources and services for our unhoused neighbors and flatlands residents continue to be slashed. The impact of the pandemic has laid bare the nightmare of decades of police terror and chronic disinvestment in schools and neighborhoods. 

It is time to shift power and dollars away from police and incarceration and reinvest in the relief and resilience of The Town’s Black and Brown communities.  This requires a cut of 50% to the OPD budget (~$150 Million) and reinvestment of every one of those dollars back into our communities.

TODAY at 1:30pm, Oakland City Council will be meeting and offering amendments to the city’s mid-cycle budget. Now is the time to demand our city leaders #DefundthePolice and use our public dollars to center and fund the wellness of our communities. 

We are grateful to Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, who has once again shown the courage to stand with the people, and we are excited by her concrete proposal to defund OPD by at least $25 million in this current budget cycle. Her proposed amendment would provide real safety solutions for our communities – plans to reallocate funding from OPD to expand housing for formerly-incarcerated people and the unsheltered, mental health crisis workers, youth programs, and other city services.

We call on all other members of the City Council to follow suit.  This moment in history requires our elected representatives to stand with the calls of their constituents and lead with courage, creativity, vision and trust in the people. We keep us safe!  #DefundOPD #DefendBlackLife
Here are three actions you can take today!:

1.) Send an email to Mayor Schaaf and to the Oakland City Council demanding that they defund OPD and invest in community!
2.) Call your Councilmember
– Dial 510-238-7001 for Councilmember Dan Kalb, District 1
– Dial 510-238-7002 for Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, District 2 (and thank her!)
– Dial 510-238-7003 for Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, District 3
– Dial 510-238-7004 for Councilmember Sheng Thao, District 4
– Dial 510-238-7005 for Councilmember Noel Gallo, District 5
– Dial 510-238-7006 for Councilmember Loren Taylor, District 6
– Dial 510-238-7007 for Councilmember Larry Reid, District 7
– Dial 510-238-7008 for Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, At-Large
You can use the following script:

“Hello, my name is _________ and I am a resident of Oakland. OPD takes almost HALF of Oakland’s general fund each year, and that percentage has skyrocketed in the past two decades — consuming desperately needed resources from essential city programs and vital services. The investment in policing has not made us safer. OPD remains an embarrassment to the city and a lethal threat to Oakland’s Black and Brown communities. I want to see the city: (1) Defund OPD’s share of the general fund by at least 50%; (2) discontinue unauthorized overtime by OPD; and (3) invest in housing, jobs, youth programs, restorative justice, mental health workers, and other services that make communities stronger and keep us safe.”

3.) Join us at the city council meeting
Once you’ve emailed and called, make sure to join us at the upcoming City Council meeting TODAY at 1:30pm to make your voices heard!

TO JOIN BY VIDEO: To observe the meeting by video conference, please click on this link at 1:30 pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86285023815

TO JOIN BY PHONE: To listen to the meeting by phone, please call this number at the noticed meeting time: (669) 900-6833, Webinar ID: 862 8502 3815 (If asked for a participant ID or code, press #)

To make public comment: ALL PUBLIC COMMENT ON ACTION ITEMS WILL BE TAKEN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEETING UNDER ITEM 1 OF THE AGENDA, so please login at 1:30 pm to put yourself on the queue to speak.

Once you’ve placed yourself in the queue to speak, the City Clerk will call your name or phone number when it’s your turn to speak. You will need to unmute yourself to speak when you are called.

At the beginning of your comment, please note that you are speaking on agenda item #7 (FY2020-21 Midcycle Budget Amendments). You will be given a limited time to speak (most likely 1 minute). Click here to find the full meeting agenda.
As we rebuild our city from the coronavirus pandemic, we need to create an equitable business tax infrastructure that will raise more money for city services. While many of our small businesses (which are predominantly owned by women and people of color) are paying high taxes, larger corporations and new developers are not paying their fair share. We need to generate revenue to fill the looming budget cuts and address the impact of the pandemic. Our 20 year-old tax model is outdated and includes loopholes that allow big businesses to get away with paying less taxes.

This is our opportunity to hold corporations accountable and generate millions of dollars in revenue annually to invest in our communities to address the homelessness crisis, fix up our streets, clean up illegal dumping, create employment opportunities, and support other community services. Let’s continue to call on our city leaders to ensure our communities are able to recover and thrive long after the pandemic. Sign up to receive more information on the Lift Up Oakland campaign. Help us make it a reality soon in Oakland and sign up to volunteer.
Volunteer to Lift Up Oakland!
This is our time to push for investments in our communities right now and for the long-haul. 


Photo Credit: Brooke Anderson, Movement Photographer www.movementphotographer.com/