Engagement not Displacement: a story about Public Places

January 30, 2016

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The standing room-only crowd at a recent community meeting to discuss the fate of St. Andrews Plaza on San Pablo Avenue, in Oakland, waited patiently as City Council Person Lynette Gibson Mcilheny and her accomplices outlined an unusual redevelopment plan. St. Andrews is a small parklet, literally a concrete container for a few trees on a […]

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There Can be Only One: Sharp Elbows in Creed and Jessica Jones

December 13, 2015

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  Halfway through Creed, the film’s protagonist, Donny, has his last significant exchange with another Black man. Fraught from the start with emasculating antagonism emanating from local rap star Tone Trump, the verbal exchange quickly escalates to violence. The interaction is notable only because Creed’s antagonist gets more lines and screen time than most of […]

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A Calculus for Grief Equity

November 15, 2015

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Last year, around this time, the 2014 death toll in South Sudan’s civil war hit, by some estimates, 10,000. Though Sudan had been in the news for decades when the US evinced very little interest in colonial enterprises in Africa, the name disappeared off the world’s radar once the US and Western nations, against the […]

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While You Were Sleeping…

June 3, 2015

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The Oakland City Council posted a packed agenda for last night’s meeting. Several issues with an already demonstrated huge degree of public interest, advocacy and participation jammed the roll—among them, a resolution to accept federal money to clear trees from the Oakland hills, the DAC policies community activists had helped the city craft, and a […]

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Searching for the Black Ghandi with Nicholas Kristof

May 1, 2015

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Several crucial media and social media moments converged in the past week of the Baltimore Uprising that illuminate the American establishment’s obsession with worthy victims of color. The viral “Riot Mom”  clip produced dozens of headlines to quench the thirst of racist palettes already whetted with stereotypes of fatherless, wilding black teens. The memes and […]

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You, Me and a Thousand Strangers: Popular Mass Direct Action in Oakland after Ferguson

December 30, 2014

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Over the years, especially in Oakland, critical periods of political resistance have taken on a pretty predictable character, with radicals, liberals, progressives, media and politicians all playing what seem to be ever more concretized roles. Protests are ignored until something is broken or a trashcan set alight, liberals cry over the shards and ash, politicians […]

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The City Attorney’s NEO Power Grab: Amendments to the City’s Nuisance Eviction Ordinance Allow the City Attorney to Evict Almost Anyone at Anytime for Anything

November 8, 2014

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The Oakland city council ignited a virtual social media firestorm recently,  when it voted to amend a standing nuisance eviction ordinance to, in part, include sex work to the list of “criminal nuisance” acts that could trigger a city-ordered “nuisance eviction”. The meme that city lawmakers now intend to target, evict and harass sex-workers spread […]

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