White Supremacy Attempts to Take Over Black August

By Jasmine Williams, Staff Writer 

Folks, it’s time to press pause. It’s time to pause and let our hot heads and heavy hearts simmer — the overtly racist acts by individuals and government entities that has been occurring in the home of “liberty and justice for all” this past month.

Did anyone have the time to actually digest, that in 2017, “Post-racist” America, white nazis and KKK, emboldened by the current president— were not only allowed, but protected by sworn officers—to gather in order to spew and represent hate towards the majority of people in this country in Charlottesville? 

Did we? Or did the weekly Sunday episodes of “Power” clog up our minds and make us briefly forget about the real abuse of power that goes on in this country day in and out?

Let’s also acknowledge that institutional racism— as it stands today and has stood for many years— is a system. What we witnessed this past month in Charlottesville, San Fransisco and Berkeley was but a byproduct of that system.

The events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia are not isolated. It burns no more or less than when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed or when Philando Castile’s murderer got off with no real justice. The current administration since then has not only minimized the hateful nature of the “gathering”, but has only continued to target already marginalized communities.

Just in this past month the Trump Administration has lifted the ban off the 1033 Program, which permits local police agencies access to surplus military equipment such as grenade launchers, bayonets, large-caliber weapons, and tanks. WE know what communities will be affected by more surveillance and more police. WE know that once local police departments get their hands on military equipment it won’t […]

September 6th, 2017|

Our Story of Art and Culture

By Mirishae McDonald, Staff Writer

READ MORE TO SEE VIDEO!!!

For BOP, the Our Story Event Series is a space where the true experience of what it means to be part of the Black community is uplifted and celebrated. As a collective we have the opportunity to be rooted in our stories of resilience, and take ownership of the ways in which our stories our told. We are able to come from a perspective of power and strength, rather than victimhood and negativity. The Black community is as broad and dynamic as the ocean! Our Story events have been traditionally themed to uplift our interests, passions, and draw attention to the various issues facing our communities by allowing community members to share their expertise on  topics like education, public health, and relationships from their direct experiences. Our latest Our Story focused on music and the arts, in the basement of Quilombo, a Black space in Afrika-town in the heart of West Oakland.

It is important as a collective, that we make time to hear stories we can resonate with, so we know that the struggles we endure are not isolated and the triumph bound to come is for the betterment of all of us. By opening up discussions with the community members as experts, we give ourselves time to think about the larger systems that hold power over our lives and how we can make sense of them. When we have spaces like Our Story of Arts and Culture, the Black community has the opportunity to celebrate all of its greatness–in these spaces we laugh and cry when the spirit so moves us.

Who are we looking to be part of these Our Story Events? You, your grandma, your […]

September 6th, 2017|

BBQ, BLACKNESS, and BOP

READ MORE TO SEE VIDEO!!

In late August, BOP hosted our Annual Friends and Family BBQ in East Oakland at Arroyo Park ! Our Friends and Family BBQ is a space for the community to come together for fun and games , fellowship, and learn about our recent work. We also take this time to meet new community members and spread awareness around our campaign and goals moving forward. If you missed out this year check out this video for the recap and mark your calendars for next Summer!!!!!

September 6th, 2017|

Meet the Comms Crew !

Earlier this year BOP launched our first media training internship program for our members! During these intense weeks of training, we built up our communication and public speaking skills and learned more about the history of negative images of Black people portrayed in media today and historically.

As Black people it is important that we take strides to reframe the narrative. Without our perspectives , without our stories, Black people will continue to  be represented in the media negatively.  It is time to uplift and tell our own stories .  Traditionally, storytelling is a vehicle used to pass down values, lessons, and culture. Our perspective is needed for healing and transformation. Our voices our powerful, our stories our powerful, we are powerful.

We took sometime to talk with our communications crew about their experience! Check out the video below!

June 27th, 2017|

Freedom is in the Eye of the Beholder

By Jasmine Williams, Staff Writer

What is Freedom? Some common definitions include the following:

the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.
the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.

By these definitions, have Black people in this country ever truly known freedom? Although our bodies are no longer property, collectively Black people still disproportionately encounter hardships that our counterparts do not endure at the same intensity. The 13th amendment literally creates a legal loophole that allows those convicted of a crime or entangled in the criminal system,  to be treated as slaves– based on socially constructed laws that are disproportionately enforced leading to mass  incarceration of Black men and women. Neighborhoods and schools are policed and surveilled. Black youth are criminalized and left uninvested in by their communities. Although our bodies are no longer property,  anti blackness shows its ugly face not only through public attitudes–but when upheld through laws and policies that further discriminate huge groups of marginalized folks.

But still we resist. We gather at churches, in community, at family reunions and cookouts. We share stories, resources and build relationships. We discuss and strategize for solutions. We learn to love each other and ourselves in a world full of confusion and hate. We work together to follow the steps of freedom fighters before to achieve liberation. We create our own freedom.

Although our bodies are no longer property in the form of chattel slavery, just over 150 years ago they still were. Freedom at that time looked like opportunity. The concrete legal decision that lead to emancipation of slaves in the United States in 1865 marked the beginning of […]

June 21st, 2017|

Black Love = Black Liberation

by Jasmine Williams, Staff Writer
March 2, 2017

As we wrap up the month of love we must pay homage to a type of love that serves as a foundation of hope and strength for millions of people. A love that is unrelenting, unconditional, and eternal: Black Love. Black people are born into the world with a target on our backs. We are the target of exploitation, of public ridicule and hate. We are the targets of a system that was designed to teach that same hate to ourselves about our history and each other.  Despite this, we still still exist. We still create. We still live. We still love. That strength speaks volumes over the screams of a society saying  otherwise: You aren’t good enough, You will never amount to anything, you are destined to fail.  

Black And Beautiful by Dame Drummer  (Feat. Zion I Crew, Kev Choice and One TruthThePoet), Is a reminder of that love. The video featuring BOP member Juanita Taylor and youth members, Dame and Demi Taylor, Treston Rawlins and Imani Snodgrass, beautifully captures Black love in one of its earliest and most innocent forms: within the Black youth.  Watch “Black And Beautiful” at www.damedrummer.com and may it serve as reminder that–in a political climate that is thriving off of hate and fear–  love is always the foundation, and as we grow to love ourselves, we must also remember to share that love out to our loved ones, our community, and eventually, even our enemies. It is the extension of unconditional love that will support and protect us in hard times to come.

In Unity Yall. 

February 28th, 2017|

5 Reasons Why the OUSD Superintendent Search is Extremely Problematic

by Shani Ealey, Staff Writer
March 2, 2017

The search for the next superintendent for the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is well underway. Since former OUSD superintendent, Antwan Wilson announced that he would be leaving his role and taking on a new position as chancellor of Washington D.C’s public schools, Oakland community members and leaders have been left wondering where is the true investment in Oakland youth? The search for a new OUSD superintendent brings to light a growing pattern of inefficient and poor city management amongst Oakland’s leaders. And, what appears to be a lack of interest in the future of Oakland which rests in Black and Brown youth. We’ve decided to break down 5 reasons why this search is extremely problematic and harmful to Oakland students.

1. There have been 9 superintendents in the last 16 years.

Yes. That’s right, 9 superintendents in the last 16 years.1 Former OUSD superintendent Antwan Wilson left after serving only 2 ½ years in this role. He has now been replaced by interim OUSD superintendent Devin Dillon. Before Wilson, Gary Yee served as interim superintendent for one year. And in 2013, Tony Smith abruptly left his position as OUSD superintendent after four years.2 What exactly does this mean? It means for the last 16 years OUSD has not had a dedicated superintendent who is truly invested in the improvement and empowerment of Oakland youth, or creating healthy, supportive school climates. Superintendents are responsible for carrying out a vision that empowers and uplifts students throughout their academic career. From hiring quality and diverse educators, counselors, and mentors– to allocating funds for programs and services that directly serve students and parents. This requires planning. This requires follow through. This requires dedication. This […]

February 28th, 2017|

Black organizing is Not Just Important, But Essential to Our Survival

by Ni’Keah Manning, Staff Writer
March 2, 2017

I can vividly recount the pivotal existential moment in my life that happened four years ago back in college– I was on my bed sitting across from my roommate, crying. But this was a different cry for me; one that was unexpected and troubling but ironically just on time. It was a type of cry that forced me to later recognize and identify what many of us know as the Yin-Yang Chinese philosophy– which describes how opposite or contrary forces might actually be complementary and interdependent to feed one another. Simply put, I remember feeling both happy and sad at the same time and the confusion associated with it. In this moment of despair that had been brewing for some time, I knew I needed something or someone– answers; a mentor; like-minded friends/people ready for action; community; freedom. In that moment, I knew I was crying because of the conditions my community and I face daily on multiple levels; but also because I could feel the answers I was looking for coming somewhere, somehow. Today, I realize that “the happy” and “the sad” both had to be present; otherwise, it would not have been the clarifying moment it was meant to be.

The following semester, as an undergrad student, I would find myself enrolled in a course at San Francisco State University (SFSU) entitled “Organizing for Change in Communities of Color.” The class was assigned to find an organization or agency that did organizing work in specific communities of color. With the expectation for students to spend 30-40 hours with their agency of choice over the course of a semester, we were all required to produced an organizational analysis that followed […]

February 28th, 2017|

There Are No Sanctuaries

by Kesi Foster, Urban Youth Collaborative (NYC)
December 16, 2016

Black and Brown youth have never received sanctuary in this country, its cities, our communities, or in the institutions that are supposed to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment, including our schools. Despite Mayor’s and municipal governments from New York to Philadelphia and Los Angeles to the Bay Area cities, reaffirming their commitments to be “Sanctuary Cities,” Black and Brown youth are entangled in a web of oppressive, discriminatory, and dehumanizing policing and criminal justice systems weaved on the local level around their communities and schools.

The Sanctuary Cities movement emerged in the 1980’s when communities worked with churches to provide sanctuary for people leaving Central America due to political instability fostered by US involvement. The churches promised a safe haven free from the clutches of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. As the Obama Administration aggressively moved to break-up immigrant families, deporting more people than the 2.5 million people, the Sanctuary City movement began to redefine sanctuary to address the new conditions. This has included varying levels of commitment by Municipal governments to not cooperate with ICE. Some Sanctuary Cities have passed policies to not share local law enforcement information with ICE and not to detain individuals for minor crimes based on their status. Other districts have passed mostly symbolic commitments to limit interactions between local law enforcement and ICE. Certain districts provide legal and social supports for undocumented communities. Today, close to 50 cities across the country claim to be sanctuaries by providing protections from an unjust, unforgiving, and discriminatory federal criminal legal system.

Unfortunately, Black and Brown young people and their families in these same cities are not protected from unjust, unforgiving and discriminatory local criminal […]

December 16th, 2016|

#NoDAPL: “Water is Life” is more than a phrase

By: Anthony Williams, Staff Writer
December 16, 2016

Our material reality as Black folks is rooted in this country’s traumatic origins, and it still shows today. Given the recent victory in North Dakota, we must extend gratitude to Indigenous water protectors and allies for obstructing the damaging Dakota Access Pipeline. After seeing such a show of grassroots strength and resilience against environmental racism and corporate interests, we also have to challenge ourselves to ask: why do the mainly-Black residents of Flint still not have water and how do we get people to mobilize? It has almost been a year since Flint, Michigan was named a state of emergency and yet, where is the progress? Genocide for Indigenous people and Black Americans is not new, and we need to acknowledge how we move to stop these intertwined assaults on our people.

As a reminder, the founding of the United States of America began with the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the labor of enslaved Africans. The cute turkeys that first graders create by tracing their hands or  the “adorable” pilgrim or “Indian” costumes that we encourage them to wear are actually ways to normalize the unnecessarily violent massacre of Indigenous people.

Whether we are discussing our sitting president on the incoming fascist regime, the original American values of pilgrimage and global colonialism are strengthening with each year. In other words, it’s 2016 and we’re still robbing and stealing from other countries, killing Black folks, living on land that was never ours, and acting like nothing is wrong.

We need to remember that #BlackLivesMatter and the current iteration of the Movement for Black Lives sprung up during the last eight years under a Black president. The rerouting of the Dakota Access […]

December 6th, 2016|