East Oakland: Week of Outrage in the 'Hood

December 11, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

December 10—While fierce demonstrations (including freeway takeovers) for Mike Brown and Eric Garner have been happening in Berkeley and many parts of Oakland for several days, it was a rare sight to see the people take to the streets in East Oakland. This is an area where harassment, repression and police terror of Black people are a daily occurrence. An area where jobs have disappeared, where many men are locked up or on parole. An area where police in recent years have killed Alan Blueford, Brownie Polk, Oscar Grant (at the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit station), and many others. 

East Oakland December 10, 2014 Protest Week of Outrage Against Policy Brutality and Murder

Photo: Special to revcom.us

This demonstration was part of the Week of Outrage Against Police Brutality and Murder, planned at a Stop Mass Incarceration Network meeting the prior Sunday. As the Wednesday demonstration began with banners, bullhorns and whistles and entered into a major intersection, some people from the 'hood joined on the spot, while others watched from the sidelines responding to "hands up, don't shoot." A great majority of the cars passing through honked their horns, grabbing flyers and Revolution newspapers, prompting a young Latina to ask if there was a way to involve these drivers more actively, rather than just honking support.

As the intersection was taken by about 30 people, motorcycle cops at first tried to intervene but soon backed off, and barricade their own police station down the road. A police helicopter kept watch from above. A few stores in nearby Eastmont Mall were locked up and guarded.

Then the march took off, snaking through the mall and hooking over to MacArthur Blvd, building up numbers along the way. Many of the people hanging out on the sidewalk took pictures and chanted with the marchers, "Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut it down shut it down"; "I can't breathe"; "Hands up/don't shoot//fists up fight back"; "Indict convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell"; "Revolution is what we need to stop police brutality," etc. Later, at another major intersection, a die-in was held; and then it was on to the police station.

East Oakland December 10, 2014 Protest Week of Outrage Against Policy Brutality and Murder

Photo: Special to revcom.us

In front of the barricades, a short speak-out was held in front of the cops' faces, where people spoke bitterness about the crimes of police murder. An older woman, "Mama Toni," spoke through her tears: "These cops killed my two sons, Derrel and Walter, in 2005 and 2007. They left me, the grandmother, to care for triplets who kept saying 'when is daddy coming back?'" She ended by chanting with the crowd "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."

As we returned to the original intersection, one of the young women from the hood said, "I don't think there's ever been a march down this street (MacArthur) before. We need a lot more people. All kinds of people." A tall older Black man said, "Hey, the ice has finally been broken." As people talked with each other about what it will take to get justice, the leaflet "A Special Message to Those at the Bottom of Society, the Ones This System Hates, Fears, and Kills, and to Those Who Have Stepped Out in the Streets in outrage" was read in sections and widely distributed (along with the EXTRA issue of Revolution that came out in response to the grand jury decision not to indict the pig who murdered Mike Brown). A couple of teachers said in response, "Now we know the way!"

About 20 people from the 'hood had joined the protest, which grew to 50 at its height. One young man who at first lamented from the sidelines that staying in the streets wouldn't change anything ended up marching and leading a couple of other friends in the chants and whistling. Another late-comer asked where the march was, and a neighbor said, "There they go" (pointing toward the police station with a big smile on his face).

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