Famed Oakland Lawyer, political activists, and father of The Coup’s Boots, Walter Riley, urges against a language of division in analysis of the Oscar Grant protests. This is a message from him:
Lawyer and Legal Observer, Walter Riley was arrested at the Oakland protests on July 8th. (from insidebayarea.com)
The murder of Oscar Grant is a universal issue of justice and civil rights.
I do not like this divisive campaign to divide our community and protestors by calling people outsiders. Oakland is not an isolated town in the desert. This is a great metropolitan area with people from all over; with a world class university; we expect people from all over the map to participate in Oakland. Calling people outsiders in this instance is a political attack on the movement. The subtext is that the outsiders are white and not connected to Oakland. From the days of the civil rights movement to now the outsider labeling failed to address the underlying problems for which people came together.
For those whose frustration with progress leads them to violent protest, we must engage in respectful political struggle. I understand the frustration; I do not support destruction and looting as political protest. I adamantly object to calling our youth and political activists outsiders. I call upon everyone to push back against this tendency.
Attorney at Law
1440 Broadway, suite 612A
Oakland, CA 94612
As the night of July 8 draws to a close, I suspect it will take some time to make sense of the events surrounding the Mehserle verdict, the ensuing Oakland protests, and what actually happened here tonight.
17th and Telegraph, July 8, 2010
That being said, it is important to keep in mind that the mainstream narrative is already being written. It is, perhaps, the nature of today’s world that times in which self-reflection and analysis are most needed are the ones that are most easily co-opted by other interests. Soon, answers and explanations that neatly categorize Oakland’s struggles will attempt to “make sense” of it all in ways that don’t express the real meaning of, or impetus behind, why things happened the way they happened. Inevitably, the mainstream media and all of those that seek to sensationalize will draw boxes around “violence”, rioting, outside agitators, and other such easy phrases, in ways that compartmentalize and fracture the communities that hope to organize for change.
Accordingly, it will take a concerted effort to make sure that the conversation remains on the real issues at hand: racism, institutionalized injustice, police murder, and accountability. Let’s reflect but remain vigilant. The struggle for justice cannot be defined by the outcome of the Mehserle trial, it did not begin with the shooting of Oscar Grant and is not over with today’s verdict; it is up to us to ensure that it perseveres.
Some photos from tonight’s protests in Downtown Oakland. Stay tuned for more coverage.
14th and Broadway -- "Oakland says GUILTY"
The Oakland Police and CHP were out in numbers and early.
I am pretty sure this is a sound-cannon. Dellums said there wouldn't be any.
I reported on the Oscar Grant protests and all I got was this one shoe.
Parked CHP cars, downtown
A boarded-up wall is illuminated by the lights of a CHP cruiser.
Cops lineup in front of an Oscar Grant mural on 17th and Telegraph.
A trashcan burns on Broadway at 17th.
Tomorrow's front page photos.