I admit, at first I had some hesitations about signing this petition. But the more I thought about it and the more I heard from parents with children at the Oakland School for the Arts, the more supportive I became.
Let me explain. Last night at Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly, a proposal was approved to “Occupy” a park located on Telegraph & 19th. There is some symbolic justification of this location, where a statue is being built to memorialize past movement leaders such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez and others. Ironically, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce is footing the bill for this memorial: the same Chamber of Commerce who represents Oakland’s own 1%, and who was the leading voice in evicting Occupy Oakland from Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza.
This is a decision voted on in haste, without enough information and input from immediate neighbors, by a General Assembly that was attended by just over 200 people. The vote did not happen until close to 9PM.
The major concern is this: This park is located a block away from the Oakland School for the Arts, a school that has already had to cancel several classes due to safety issues. Kids go here. And parents and neigbors are rightfully concerned.
Without prior support from the immediate neighbors, then these encampments really do become “occupations,” in the worse sense of the word. We need to be liberating and decolonizing our communities, not occupying them without involvement of immediate neighbors.
The General Assembly process at Occupy Oakland needs an overhaul, but that is a larger conversation. In the meantime, we need to support OSA. If you agree, please sign this petition and forward it along.