Tag Archives: oakland

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee to boycott Trump’s inauguration. She explains why

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee will not attend the inauguration of Donald J. Trump on Jan. 20. She explains why:

Inaugurations are celebratory events, a time to welcome the peaceful transition of power and honor the new administration. On Jan. 20, I will not be celebrating or honoring an incoming president who rode racism, sexism, xenophobia and bigotry to the White House.

Donald Trump ran one of the most divisive and prejudiced campaigns in modern history.

He began his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants, pledging to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and then spent a year and a half denigrating communities of color and normalizing bigotry.

He called women “pigs,” stoked Islamophobia and attacked a Gold Star family.

He mocked a disabled reporter and appealed to people’s worst instincts.

I cannot in good conscience attend an inauguration that would celebrate this divisive approach to governance.

After the election, many hoped the president-elect would turn toward unifying our country. Instead he has shown us that he will utilize the same tools of division he employed on the campaign trail as our nation’s commander-in-chief.

We need look no further than the team he is assembling to find signals that the era of Trump will be one of chaos and devastation for our communities.

The president-elect has named Steve Bannon,  a white nationalist as his chief strategist. He has nominated U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions to the office of Attorney General, despite his long career of opposition to civil and human rights.

And in perhaps the most damning sign of the chaos to come, the president-elect has expedited the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make America sick again.

To make matters worse, after the intelligence community reported Russian interference in our election, Donald Trump frequently and forcefully defended Vladimir Putin.

He insulted senior intelligence officials in order to preserve his reputation and disguise the truth.

The American people will never forget that when a foreign government violated our democracy, Donald Trump chose the interests of another nation over our own.

Donald Trump has proven that his administration will normalize the most extreme fringes of the Republican Party.

On Inauguration Day, I will not be celebrating. I will be organizing and preparing for resistance.

Artist shot, killed while painting anti-violence mural

An artist was shot and killed in Oakland, California, while he was helping to paint a street-side mural for a group that works to spread peace and stop violence, authorities said.

Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said earlier this week that officers were searching for the shooter as friends mourned Antonio Ramos, 27, during a vigil at the mural site.

Watson said an argument led to the shooting on Sept. 29 at the site under an Interstate 580 overpass in West Oakland.

Ramos was among about 10 artists who were working on project. He reportedly quarreled with a man who wasn’t part of the group. It escalated, and the man shot Ramos and ran away, police said. No one else was injured.

Watson declined to release further details about the crime while the investigation is ongoing.

The idyllic painting of trees, a creek and brightly colored Victorian houses contrasts sharply with the parts of West Oakland that are struggling to cope with drugs, poverty and violence.

Oakland has had 73 homicides this year, and many have happened on the western end of the city.

Officials say there is nothing to indicate the subject matter in the mural, called the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project, sparked the violence.

“I think this is an isolated incident,” said Aeeshah Clottey, one of the founders of Attitudinal Healing Connection of Oakland, a group that seeks to stop violence by inspiring people with art and education. The 25-year-old organization was sponsoring the mural project.

Clottey said Ramos started volunteering with the group in 2012 after being inspired by its work on a student-designed mural.

“He kept walking past it every day, and he finally asked if he could help out,” Clottey said.

Ramos worked on that painting on San Pablo Avenue and was just starting to paint the current project.

“He was a very nice person,” Clottey said. She referred further questions to his mother, who was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.

Clottey said the shooting is emblematic of a larger issue of violence around the world.

“This is indicative of a global problem,” she said. “And we want to look at ways to inspire peace.”

Oakland City Council votes to divest of investments in fossil fuels

The Oakland City Council on June 18 unanimously approved a measure divesting city funds from all investments in any company “whose primary business or enterprise is extraction, production, refining, burning and/or distribution of any fossil fuels.”

The council recommended that city pension funds also divest and urged the California Public Employees Retirement System, one of the nation’s largest managers of public pensions, with $288 billion in retiree assets under management, to follow suit and eliminate fossil fuel companies from their portfolios.

Oakland becomes the fifth city in California to pass a fossil fuel divestment resolution and the 25th city in the nation, joining the ranks of San Francisco, Seattle and Portland. 

“I’m thrilled that Oakland City Council took a strong stand to divest from fossil fuels companies that emit heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and to protect our communities by opposing the transport of hazardous fossil fuels by rail through the heart of Oakland,” said Dan Kalb, Oakland city councilmember, and author of the council resolutions. “Divesting from a dirty energy economy will add Oakland’s voice to a growing movement that makes it clear that the old way of fueling our economy is not sustainable for our cities and our planet.” 

The move is part of a fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement, which has spread to more than 500 campuses, cities, faith communities, labor unions and pension funds around the nation, calling on institutions to take bold action against climate change by aligning investments with a clean and equitable energy future.

So far, 12 colleges and universities, 27 cities, two counties, 30 religious institutions, and 27 foundations in the United States and around the world have pledged to divest or have done so already. 

Ophir Bruck, an Oakland resident and organizer with Fossil Free UC — the University of California divestment campaign — said Oakland’s action could embolden the board of regents of the nation’s leading public university to act.

Bruck said, “This move positions Oakland as a climate leader and should encourage the UC Regents, who are exploring the possibility of divesting UC’s $88 billion portfolio from fossil fuels, to stand on the right side of history by divesting for our future.”

Efforts on the measure were spearheaded by 350 Bay Area, a regional group aligned with the international climate change organization 350.org, which supports fossil fuel divestment efforts worldwide via its Go Fossil Free campaign.

Oakland resident and 350 East Bay divestment activist Janet Cox said, “I was really glad to the council take a strong stand in support of the environment and the fight to halt devastating damage to the climate. Governments and NGOs are going to have to act if we’re going to survive climate change, and this resolution puts Oakland in the vanguard. Oakland will be able to lead on this critical issue.”

Non-gender-conforming teen set afire on California bus

More than 400 people have contributed $20,000 online to help an 18-year-old Californian who was set on fire while wearing non-gender-conforming clothing.

The incident occurred on Nov. 4 when a 16-year-old Oakland High School student, not named because he’s a juvenile, boarded a bus near the school and saw Luke “Sasha” Fleischman sleeping in a rear seat. According to police reports, the boy set Fleischman’s skirt on fire.

Fleischman tried unsuccessfully to put out the flames before other passengers rushed to help, but not before Fleischman sustained grievous second and third degree burns, according to the Contra Costa Times News.

As of Nov. 6, Fleischman was in stable condition at a burn center in San Francisco. The victim, a high school senior, will require massive skin grafting and a long recovery period, according to reports.

The fundraising site was shut down after the $20,000 goal was reached.

Fleischman does not identify as either male or female and prefers to be referred to as “they,” “them” or “it” rather than by male or female pronouns.

Police identified the alleged perpetrator through surveillance video on the bus. He was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and mayhem. In addition, he could face hate crime charges.

Oakland A’s: It Gets Better

The Oakland A’s this week became the latest professional sports team to create a video for the It Gets Better campaign to encourage LGBT youth.

The Major League Baseball team’s Bay Area rivals, the San Francisco Giants, were the first MLB team to create a video, doing so last spring.

The A’s video features pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who earlier this season described as homophobic the “kiss cam” tradition of showing two grimacing men to get laughter from the crowd.

The video also features pitcher Dallas Braden, second baseman Jemile Weeks and stadium in-game host Kara Tsuboi.

“Everyone should feel comfortable being themselves,” Weeks told the San Francisco Chronicle. “So I wanted to tell kids to be confident and to know they have support.”

The Cubs, Dodgers, Mariners, Orioles, Phillies, Rays and Red Sox also have created It Gets Better videos.

The Milwaukee Brewers have not created a video, and a Change.org petition to encourage the team to join the It Gets Better campaign, which began following a series of gay-related youth suicides in the fall of 2010, has expired.

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It’s elementary

Students in an Oakland, Calif., elementary school learned about transgender clownfish and single-sex species in the animal kingdom during classroom lessons in late May. The informative program is supported by the school district and Redwood Heights Elementary School educators, but anti-gay conservatives with the Pacific Justice Institute complained about the gender-diversity lessons and offered to provide legal counsel to parents who might want to make more formal complaints.