I was moved by all of the great photos from this montage by reporters/photographers with the Oakland Tribune/Bay Area Newsgroup whose offices were destroyed this weekend. I am grateful for your work (Mathew Artz, Laura Oda, and many others).
To say that nerves are raw here, does not begin to speak to the frustration bubbling under the surface around Oakland. But timed with the Oakland premier of the movie Fruitvale Station, highlighting the life of Oscar Grant, the Florida Zimmerman trial acquittal was the lightening rod that brought it to the surface.
As usual in Oakland, this weekend too, daytime protests are peaceful…
but by nightfall, things take a turn…
when “sharks” descend to leave a last word in broken glass and graffiti. I call them sharks because over the last 12 years, they are the ones who seem to show up late, well past the peaceful parts of the event, covered up, and dressed in black to destroy the party.
These folks really anger me, because I think they ‘undo’ the good work done in the light of day. Amazing that a photographer caught this like this.
Remarkably, our police response was quiet. Restrained even. Only 1 arrest. And for the first time in memory- no tear gas.
I can understand the frustration. Many people continue to struggle; too many schools have closed here, crime growing, no jobs, real poverty. It is no wonder that banks continue to be a target.
To hear of acquittals like this with the outcome of the Oscar Grant case still fresh- just adds another thick layer of hopelessness to the air.
I can understand taking to the streets. I cannot understand destroying property. I know several of the small “ma & pa” shop owners downtown. They can’t afford to keep replacing windows every time the sharks come out. One friend keeps saying she cannot afford to keep her shop in downtown Oakland and she can’t afford to move shop either. Some shops have only recently moved to downtown, making it a better cooler place for all of us to hang and play music- good for we working musicians. But the destruction does nothing to help any cause.
I just hope (beg) all the people looking in on Oakland now: don’t judge us for our crime and the destructive actions of a few. There is so much more to Oakland! And yes, it may seem that the newspapers cover little else, but we are not only our crime. And of course making the press the target makes no sense either.
I continue to see beauty in this city: through the people I see, meet, and know. Through our mix of cultures, abundant art and music scenes. I hang-on to the belief that if there are enough of us trying to create something good, trying to add something, anything of beauty- we all create hope any of a million ways. This is how we add Humanity- one piece at a time. If we give of ourselves this way- all of us, things will improve. They have to. That, and electing folks who are not afraid to act, to take a stand, to defend, to administer justice.
See the full photo montage and article here. What do you think of these pics?