By Ann G. Daniels
Deadline: NOW –
Lest we forget, we aren’t just saying the names of Black lives who matter far away. This Juneteenth – and after – demand justice for Black lives that matter close to home.
In the East Bay: Law enforcement in our local counties, cities, and governmental agencies affect Black lives every day, through budgeting, corrupt officials, police presence, policing presence, and more. We are not powerless! Take action in these campaigns and action items:
- Oakland Police: The Oakland City Council is considering the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which they expect to pass on June 30. Budgeting for the Oakland Police Department is a key issue:
- The Council will probably vote on June 23 on whether or not to spend millions of dollars on Shotspotter technology and police helicopter maintenance – this while the city has a projected budget deficit of almost $100 million, social services are chronically underfunded, and the pandemic is disproportionately devastating Oakland’s minority communities. You can submit written comments before 11:55 AM on Tuesday, June 23. The agenda and eComment link aren’t yet available, but will be posted at this link at least a few days before the meeting: https://oakland.legistar.com/calendar.aspx. Be sure you comment on the specific agenda items for Shotspotter and helicopter maintenance. Meanwhile, Oakland residents can contact their Council Member here. Not sure who your council member is? Check this map.
- At the Council’s June 16 meeting, Councilmember Bas introduced an amendment to transfer $25 million from the Police Department to mental health services, housing and youth programs, including at least $1.5 million on a pilot alternative response program for mental health-related emergency calls. This is far less than the 50% cut to the Oakland Police budget (currently $290 million) requested by many Oakland residents and community groups; Council members did not directly address the 50% cut. Please contact your Council member before their June 30th meeting to ask them to support the amendment, and to ask for deeper cuts as laid out by the Anti-Police Terror Project.
- Justice for Erik Salgado and Brianna Colombo: The CHP shot Erik Salgado and his pregnant girlfriend Brianna Colombo with up to 40 rounds from assault weapons in East Oakland. Salgado is dead; Colombo was badly injured and miscarried. CHP first told Oakland police that Salgado shot an officer; shortly after, an Oakland Police Department dispatcher said the police didn’t have to hurry, no one was injured. Their story now is that Salgado drove a stolen car into the CHP cars when they stopped him; his family’s attorney says he was shot multiple times before his car hit the CHP cars. Whatever happened, this much is undisputed now: Salgado and Colombo were unarmed, Salgado is dead, Colombo lost her pregnancy. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s response was tepid to coldhearted. Respond to her on facebook; or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 510-238-3141.
- Alameda County: Audit Sheriff Ahern – Civil rights organizations have been complaining about Alameda County Sheriff Ahern for years – it’s been over two years since we first reported on their efforts. Learn about the Ella Baker Center’s campaign “Save Money, Save Lives” here.
- BART: Oscar Grant’s family called on BART director Debora Allen to resign after she tried to get technical with them about whether it was really murder because it wasn’t premeditated (pro tip: murder doesn’t have to be premeditated, it only requires that someone “with wanton disregard for human life, does an act that involves a high degree of probability that it will result in death” – does that sound like anything we’ve been hearing about?). Grant’s family has also called for defunding the BART police to provide more funding for the citizen oversight committee and independent auditor. Contact your BART Board representative and watch this site for opportunities to comment at their Thursday, June 25 meeting.
- Berkeley: You can sign this “Petition for Racial Justice and Police Accountability in Berkeley” addressed to the Mayor and City Council.
- Oakland Public Schools: Let’s get the police off school campuses! Find out about the Black Organizing Project’s People’s Plan for Police-Free Schools and follow them on Instagram or Twitter to participate in their 10 days of action leading up to next week’s school board meeting.
Elsewhere in California: Justice for Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsh: Think lynching only happens “somewhere else”? Residents in towns in Southern California are finding Black men hanging from trees. The LA County Sheriff’s Department says Robert Fuller’s hanging death in Palmdale looks like a suicide. That’s the same thing that the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said about Malcolm Harsh’s hanging death in Victorville ten days earlier – when they finally got around to performing an autopsy, twelve days after Harsh’s body was found. Harsh’s and Fuller’s families and friends and supporters are crying foul and demanding proper investigations. You can sign this petition demanding justice for Malcolm Harsh, and this petition for Robert Fuller.
Juneteenth Image by Wynn Pointaux from Pixabay
Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.
Anne Spevack contributed to this article.