OK, So here’s the thing. Before we talk about The Occupy Oakland Day of Action. I have to first talk about Oakland.
The Bay Area is a little different. It cannot be explained, It must be experienced. They replace “very” with “Hella” for goodness sake. Tupac, E40 and Keshia Cole are played more than Biggie, JayZ and Beyonce. It must also be known that Bay Area folks don’t steal spotlights, The lights just end up on them.
That being said, if the area as a whole is different, the politics will be different also
The birthplace of Ethnic Studies, the Black Panthers and organized Collegiate Anti-War Demonstrations, Bay Area Folks know how to protest. Its in their DNA. Remember Representative Barbara Lee, The ONLY person to vote against the use of force after 9/11? The people of the Bay Area is who she serves.
What does that have to do with Occupy Oakland… EVERYTHING
The Occupy Oakland movement began on October 10. In most areas, that would be considered Columbus Day in most areas. Here, it is “Indigenous Peoples Day.” And to be honest, I didn’t understand it more than I understood the Occupy Wall Street Movement. But Then again, I am a known cynic about Bay Area Protests. They often reflect a “Shiny Bauble” feel to things, where every rage to injustice has a shelf life and then forgotten. I thought occupy Oakland would end on October 25th when 13 different Police agencies came in. But they were back the next day.
I decided I had to evaluate the situation from a different perspective. On October 29th, I took my Son (Da Youngsta) to the Occupy Oakland Site. The perspective of children in situations like this is awesome.
So Da Youngsta looks around and asks the first person he sees, “So, why are you guys here?” He listened, then continued asking other people. I let him gather information for him to report back. His report was simple… “Mom, it looks like only a little bit of people have all of the money and these people don’t like it…” Before I know it, Da Youngsta starts passing out flyers about the November 2 Day of Action and telling me how his money needs to be moved to a credit union.
Another supporter won over with conversation.
The Day of Action was beautiful for the most part. way more organized than before the police came on 10/25 and so polite (I call them the “Excuse Me, Pardon Me” coalition). They had orderly, organized marches and speakers on everything. News reports the attendance of the rally at over 6,000 and the attendance overall to 100, 000 over the course of the day. With all that, there is still a question as to their purpose and relevance. I still don’t quite understand it. Let me rephrase… I support their right to take the actions, I just don’t know what the end goal is.
Then I was taking a ride around Lake Merritt today and hear some folks talking:
”…but you can’t complain about those occupy cats unless you can actually give them a solution. This my city, I have to do something…”
That stuck with me while I was riding the lake in the “New Oakland.” 25% white, 27% Black. what used to be considered a good working class wage has been converted into a upper lower class existence. After years of keeping your head down and trying to just make it to Friday, Its hard to get folks active in anything.
So maybe, the Occupation Movement isn't for City Hall, or even Me. I know that I have the ability to create change in at least one person a day. Maybe it is for the people that feel that nothing can be done because they don’t have power. Maybe it’s for them. because now folks that never had any inclination to do anything are changing banks, providing food and provisions and supporting this thing.
The tide is turning in Oakland. and I “Hella” Love it…