is a city known for holding the revolutionary consciousness that, despite what mainstream
propaganda might tell you, the police are not in low-income/communities of color
to “serve and protect.”
There is a rebellious grassroots consciousness that considers the police an occupying army of sorts to “serve and protect” property and maintain the status quo not merely “law and order.” With this alternative awareness, what does it look like to NOT call or involve the police when there is a community dispute or conflict? When interpersonal violence occurs, what are the alternative options that match the alternative viewpoints about the police department and what it represents?
In Oakland, we know all too well what violence looks like when perpetrated on our communities from the outside in and what immediate steps to take to do something about it. We post, we blog, we petition, we protest, we march, we write letters, we organize ... and sometimes we may even vote. But what do we do and what steps do we take as a community when the violence is perpetrated from the inside out in the forms of bullying, sexual harassment, stalking, abuse, domestic violence, etc.?
These are the very issues that prompt many community members to involve the police in the first place and gives city officials the excuse to inject more police into the area to “fight crime." But how do we make our communities safe, for and by the people, so that calling the police would be the last resort, if used at all, especially when it comes to the issues of interpersonal violence?
Community activists Attica Georges, Mahfam Malek and Rebecca Ruiz-Lichter are returning Oakland back to its community roots by petitioning the community to serve and meet its own needs.
On Sunday, Feb. 17, there will be a forum held for self-identified women of color, queer women, genderqueer and trans folks, about community-enforced accountability in response to interpersonal violence in intimate and working relationships. All cis-men (non-transgender) who would like to participate in future conversations/events, please contact Richard Ejire at firstname.lastname@example.org. The forum - which runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. - will take place at Oakland Makerspace - LOL, 1234 23rd Ave.
The intent of this event is to create a safe space that is “survivor-centered,” where people can voice their experiences and concerns about emotionally or physically abusive behavior and be respectfully heard, while considering compassionate approaches to the healing that needs to take place for perpetrators of violence as well. As silence can create an environment that breeds impunity, breaking the silence around community abuses is necessary and critical in the process for creating solutions.
Concerned community members are asked to bring whatever they have to offer in the form of knowledge, energy and models for an accountability process. This is planned to be the first forum of many so as to get the conversation started on how to find concrete and workable solutions to address collective trauma as a result of interpersonal violence and ways to shift the culture in Oakland to one of integrity, safety and health for all, to one of “revolutionary love and rebellious integrity.”
If You Go
Revolutionary Love & Rebellious Integrity: A Q/WOC forum on community accountability
When: 4 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17
Where: Oakland Makerspace - LOL, 1234 23rd Ave., Oakland