The Oakland City Council is calling a meeting in January to discuss the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement for Oakland and what reforms the city must make to protect the human rights of its Black and Latino residents.
The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m., location to be announced. Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney and Larry Reid submitted the resolution calling for the meeting.
“The recent protests are an indication of the desperation and frustration of members of our community who feel their needs are ignored by their government,” said McElhaney.
“Every 28 hours a Black citizen dies from contact with law enforcement or vigilantes. Oaklanders don’t have to look to Ferguson or New York. We know this pain in our own borders.”
McElhaney says that the council is encouraged by the fact that OPD has gone 18 months without an officer-involved shooting, “But it is time that Oakland lead the nation in restoring public confidence in the judicial system and law enforcement. This will make both officers and community more safe,” she said.
“We’ve been fighting for justice a long time,” says Reid. “I love my people. And, I love the officers who serve this community. But this forum is necessary to bring about the respectful dialogue needed to heal.”
The special meeting will focus on actions the council can take to address racial inequality in economic and justice systems, what the city can do to address the trauma caused by exposure to violence and preventing the tragic loss of black lives to homicide.
Representatives of Oakland Police Department and the City Administrator will be on hand to address concerns. Leaders and organizations dedicated to the work of racial justice will be asked to speak and share information.
Councilmember Desley Brooks recently authored a resolution, unanimously passed by the council, calling for charges to be filed against Officer Darrin Wilson of Ferguson and “Recognizing Our Collective Responsibility to Advance Racial Equity.”
Brooks, while in New York City, marched with the protesters as they called on people throughout the country to speak up and stop the senseless killings of unarmed African Americans by police.
Councilmember Dan Kalb, writing in his newsletter to constituents, backed the concerns raised by the Black Lives Matter Movement.
“Obviously, the core of the problem is the continuing racism that exists in our country,” he wrote, but “there are other related factors as well, including…an informal culture of mistrust and cover-up that may still pervade some police departments.”
For more information on the council’s public hearing, contact Brigitte Cook at (510) 238-7245.