Oakland Black Lives Matter Photo Credit: Annette Bernhardt, Wikimedia Commons
Charlottesville is Everywhere
The disturbing images of thousands of white nationalists, KKK members, and neo-Nazis holding torches swept our news feeds over the weekend, forming a contemporary picture of white supremacy and terror. For the survivors and descendants of racialized terror, Saturday marked a painful reminder that little has changed since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If we are to achieve any form of social equity, we must confront — head on — America’s long history of racism.
The reality is this: Charlottesville could be any city and town in the United States. In fact, white nationalists are planning similar rallies to take place later this month, in Berkeley and San Francisco.
While we have moved to create opportunities for people of color, racist policies are deeply embedded within our systems and institutions and permeate our country’s core. That’s true for places like Oakland, too, where systemic racism is reflected in our shameful history of racially motivated redlining, current police department policies that target and demonize Black and Brown youth, de facto school segregation, and the extreme overrepresentation of African Americans and people of color within our criminal justice system. Our struggle, from Oakland to Charlottesville, continues.
Oakland’s racial justice movement stands in solidarity with Charlottesville, and with every social justice movement that refuses to yield to oppression. While the impacts of racialized terrorism and policy making have shaped our existence, Oaklanders can take pride in our history of resistance. Oakland is the birthplace of the Black Panther Party, which had to battle for its survival in the face of racialized oppression and brutality, yet simultaneously, built systems of equality in education, housing, employment, and civil rights. Today, Oakland continues to organize — against racist law enforcement practices, against the lack of affordable housing leading to homelessness and displacement, against the school to prison pipeline, and against other discriminatory policies and trends that warehouse our kids into lifelong surveillance, detention, and prison cells. These facts are a testament to our power, resilience, and unapologetic self-determination.
Akonadi Foundation’s Board and Founders, staff, and grantees are keenly aware of the obstacles and barriers that systemic racism creates, and we are committed to uplifting those on the ground who understand that justice is possible. As the country looks toward Charlottesville and continues to ask, ‘What can we do?’ we rightfully acknowledge that Charlottesville is everywhere. We must continue to unite and organize against racism and white supremacy of all forms.
President, Akonadi Foundation
Akonadi Foundation – for over 17 years – has advanced grantmaking that supports and nurtures racial justice movement building. Through our work, we support leaders and groups in Oakland who are on the front lines fighting against harmful policies and practices that further racialized oppression.