#BlackLivesMatter Movement Raises Demands at Oakland City Council Hearing

The community marched for Black Lives Matter during the Jobs and Economy March to reclaim Martin Luther King's legacy on Monday, Jan. 19 in East Oakland. Photo by Ken Epstein.

The community marched for Black Lives Matter during the Jobs and Economy March to reclaim Martin Luther King’s legacy on Monday, Jan. 19 in East Oakland. Photo by Ken Epstein.

By Post Staff

In response to police abuse and violence in the City of Oakland, the Anti Police Terror Project is making its demands for an end to what they call” a war on Black lives” and  are sending the message that “Black Lives Matter.”

Cat Brooks, co-chair of the Onyx Organizing Committee.

Cat Brooks, co-chair of the Onyx Organizing Committee.

The project is a coalition of over 20 local organizations, including the Onyx Organizing Committee, Workers World, the Alan Blueford Center for Justice, Healthy Hoodz, Young Oakland, Asians for Black Lives, Black Out Collective and Black Brunch.

The Onyx Organizing Committee convened the coalition to create a sustainable, replicable model across the country to combat police terrorism.

“This came out of the desire to get off the defense, to stop feeling like we were chasing dead bodies,” said Cat Brooks, co-chair of the Onyx Organizing Committee.

“This is an epidemic,” she said.

“As the movement grows, the conversation on the war on Blacks lives (is expanding) to talk about all the ways this is a war on Black lives including economic violence, physical violence, psychological violence and educational violence,” Brooks continued.

The movement’s demands are not based on the work of a few individuals but are the result of the collective anger and experiences of many people and organizations, she said.

“They are based on the community’s expertise of actively living in these streets,” Brooks said.

In an interview Thursday with the Post, she said that the movement’s demands would be raised Saturday at the City Council’s public meeting about #BlackLivesMatter.

She said organizers do not want to see a “dog and pony show” but were expecting that their demands would to be directly responded to and that action would be taken quickly after the meeting.

Among the demands are:

* Drop the charges and rescind the “ransom” against the Black Friday 14 protesters;

* Make Oakland the Sanctuary City it is supposed to be and provide amnesty for all immigrants;

* Stop to all abuse and violence against LGBTQ people committed by law enforcement;

* Locally, the Oakland Police Department receives 69 percent of the city budget and nationally, the police receive 51 percent of the budget. These funds should be redistributed for co-ops whose purpose will be to improve the quality of life for oppressed nationalities by building schools, grocery stores, medical facilities and create living wage jobs with benefits;

* Assure the right to peacefully protest. The streets belong to the people;

* Stop profiling, targeting, stopping, frisking and killing Black and Brown families;.

* A community review board should have true jurisdiction over the Oakland Police Department;

* The  police should get out of our schools;

* A complete overhaul of the Police Bill of Rights;

* Police officers receive leave WITHOUT pay when under investigation for a questionable shooting.  Killer cops should be fired;

* Protect the rights of all people to vote, especially disenfranchised populations like those on parole and probation;

* Abolish practices that continue to penalize people returning home from prisons and instead create “welcome home” packages that include housing, jobs, educational opportunities and counseling;

* Create a taskforce comprised of the most impacted community members to devise alternative plans to imprisonment.**

 With respect to development and employment in the proposed Coliseum City Project:

* Decision-making by residents of East Oakland on the plan for Coliseum City and surrounding areas;

* A hiring policy that ensures that jobs go to Blacks and Latinos in proportion to the percentages of these groups living in East Oakland, including jobs for the disenfranchised who are on probation and parole – even for violent offenses;

* No displacement of local small businesses and expanded opportunities for minority businesses;

All housing developed with city funds should be affordable to Oakland families living at the median income;

* Conduct a Health Impact Assessment that lays out how many Oakland residents will be displaced as a result of the Coliseum City Development and other undesirable outcomes;

* And, commit to providing living-wage jobs with benefits to all employees of the Coliseum City project, from the janitor to the retail clerk.
* Several Oakland pastors said they will ask the city to stop the practice of using 32 percent of job Training funds for city staff overhead and redirect the money to job programs serving youth and the unemployed.

*A number of community members and leaders also have told the Post that they plan to attend the City Council hearing to raise their concerns and suggest proposals for change.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, January 24, 2015 (postnewsgroup.com)