By Terri Kay
Oakland, CA – Thousands participated as the Anti Police-Terror Project led it’s Sixth Annual March to Reclaim Martin Luther King Jr’s Radical Legacy, starting with a noon rally at Oscar Grant Plaza. “January 2020 marks another 10 years of gentrification, displacement, and a worsening houselessness crisis. Another 10 years of the Bay Area’s elected leaders putting profits over people. Another 10 years of government for and by developers, tech companies, and banks – instead of for and by the People,” said Cat Brooks, former Oakland mayoral candidate and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project. This year’s Reclaim MLK demands were: Housing is a Human Right, Close the Camps, No School Closures, End Police Repression, Climate Justice, and No More War.
The rally was immediately preceded by a press conference held by the Moms4Housing, at which they announced a victory in their two months long struggle for housing equity and to expose the role Wedgewood Properties and their like have played in pushing Black Oaklanders out of their homes. Wedgewood and the mayor had come to an agreement wherein the property, dubbed Moms’ House, would be sold to the Oakland Land Trust to be made available to the Moms. See Fighting Words article on Moms4Housing for more details.
The entire day was preceded by a weekend of related events, organized by supporting organizations, and publicized by APTP as the Sixth Annual MLK Weekend. Those events included:
- Wake Up Call: by SURJ Oakland/BayArea, Friday, 1/17, MacArthur BART Station Plaza
- Oakland Climate Strike and Resilience Village, Friday, 1/17, 10am-1pm at Oscar Grant Plaza
- Guerilla Housing: Reclaiming Dr.King’s Legacy of Radical Action by The Village, Saturday, 1/18, 10am-5pm, East 12th St & 14th Ave
- Degentrifukation Tour of BlackArthur, Saturday, 1/18/, Poor Magazine, 8032 MacArthur Blvd
- CRCAA 5 Methods Workshop, by CRC Allies and Accomplices, Sunday, 1/19, 2501 International Blvd.
- Alternatives to Policing: How Not to Call the Police, Sunday, 1/19, First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St
- Baby Breakfast “Blockade” for Moms4Housing, by Abundant Beginnings, Monday, 1/20, 8:30-9:30am, Oscar Grant Plaza
- Reclaim MLK Youth Activist Rally by Abundant Beginnings, Monday, 1/20, 9-11am, Oscar Grant Plaza
The first rally was held at Oscar Grant Plaza. There was then a spirited march down 14th Street to notorious Sheriff Ahern’s office, the same Sheriff who led the militarized eviction just a few days prior of the Moms4Housing. Speakers at the two rallies, MC’d by Cat Brooks of APTP, included Disability Justice Collective, Rob Bonta, CA State Assembly District 18; Nikki Fortunato Bass, Oakland City Council; Moms 4 Housing; Isha Clarke, Youth Vs. Apocalypse; Youth Together; Yolanda Banks-Reed, Mothers Fight Back; Pastor Ben McBride; Barbara Doss, Justice for Dujuan Armstrong; Itzel Calvo, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance; BAYAN USA; Liz Ortega, Alameda Labor Council; the Black Organizing Project and Sharif Zakout, AROC and Third World Resistance.
Cat Brooks, in front of Sheriff Ahern’s office said “You know why we’re here, right? We’re here because this fool ordered tanks and AR-15s and cops in military gear to come kick out mothers and children into the cold.”
The day ended back at Oscar Grant Plaza with a Reimagine Violence healing ceremony by the group Lead to Life, which melts guns into shovels to plant trees and other plants to heal the earth.