Oak Park's White Supremacy Problem

YES! YOUR GENTRIFYING IS ACTUALLY COLONIZING!

Let's give a little history before we get started...

Redlining was done to limit access to where Black folks could live.

We were not allowed to live in most places, and the places we did live in became our safe spaces.

Unfortunately history still reflects in our neighborhoods today.

That is exactly why Oak Park has mostly been a predominately Black neighborhood.

This isn't about who lived there first, or last, or next. This is about Black folks being told "you cannot live in East Sac but you can live in Oak Park"

...then "we (the state) are going to contribute to your poverty and access to healthy living."

So for decades white folks were able to have more choices than us, and didn't want to be in our spaces.

White supremacy has it so you can come into this predominately Black neighborhood, buy our homes, flip them and then raise the prices. Pushing us out of one of the very limited safe spaces in this city.

Black folks have historically been told where they can and cannot be.

So complaints about gentrification cant be deflected to "not being able to pick what color you are" ("I cant help it that I am white"), or "we need you to be united with us" (telling Black folks to unify with the status quo is silencing our concerns and our needs), or putting a stick in the ground and calling it yours. 

Oak Park artist, Mozzy. Image Credit to Real Street Radio www.realstreetradio.com

 

 

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Policing in the United States 1845-Present

Colonization and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Era: 1100s-1800s Resistance: Armed Resistance, Revolutions, Cultural Survival 1100s: Origins of the “Shire Reeve” or Sheriff in England. Sheriffs were representatives of the crown who sat in on local affairs to make sure laws were actually being enforced (previously, localities had relied on collective enforcement efforts of citizens; the Sheriff’s role thus extended the power of the crown). These unpopular figures were also tax collectors, at least initially; later forms included coroner, justice of the peace, and constable. 

  • 1100s-1800s: Use of “night watches” in Europe and its colonies: civilian groups of men required by law to patrol the streets at night. They were unpaid, often unwilling, and apparently “frequently drunk.” 
  • 1492: Colonization of the Americas by Europeans begins; brutal militia force is a routine part of land-grabbing, along with later forcing Indigenous peoples into working for colonizers in mines and agriculture. 
  • 1600s-1700s: Establishment of trans-Atlantic slave trade; use of force and control of bodies institutionalized into economic systems of the Americas. 
  • 1500s-1800s: Colonial forces import European justice systems to what is now the U.S., including sheriffs, constables, and night watches. They were unpopular entities whose jobs included taxing and elections alongside law enforcement. 

Militias, Patrols, and White Supremacist Consolidation of Power: 1680s-1800s Resistance: Armed Resistance, Escape and Subversion, Cultural Survival 

  • 1680s: South Carolina passes a law that allows any white person to capture and punish a runaway slave. In 1690 a law was passed that required whites to act in this role. Slavery and white supremacy were so fully institutionalized in the American South that, as one author put it, “White supremacy served in lieu of a police force.” 
  • 1700s-1800s: Reform of London Watch to resemble a modern police department: pay, round-the-clock hours, and hierarchical command were established. As in the U.S., establishment of actual “police departments” was based on growth in property crimes. 
  • 1703: Boston passes a curfew law for all Blacks and Indigenous people, establishing race as a defining criteria in law enforcement in the new colonies (even non-slavery ones). 
  • 1776: Formation of a nation-state in U.S. colonies; national militia unifies in effort to remove the British and a national constitution provides for maintenance of military and National Guard. 
  • 1700s onwards: Southern cities such as Charleston, Savannah, New Orleans, and Mobile form paramilitary groups tasked with the control of enslaved people, with the goal of preventing and repressing rebellion. Slave patrols and militias often work together. In the U.S., these organized patrols are the first proper antecedents to “modern” police forces. 
  • Early 1800s: Pass laws were passed in several Southern states requiring all Black people to carry passes and allowing for arrest of any Black person without a pass, regardless of their status. 
  • Mid-1800s: Police in the U.S. coalesce into one relatively uniform type. Previous law enforcement models such as guards, watchmen, militias and slave patrols begin to coalesce into city-run, 24-hour police. 

Property Control and Order Maintenance Era: 1840-1940 

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Demands for the Families Whose Children Were Terrorized By The Sacramento Police Department


Photo Credit to the Davis Vanguard
(from left) Tanya Faison of Black Lives Matter Sacramento, parents Paris Flores, Janai Johnson, Angel Totten and Roderick Totten

 

“Our 13-year-old son’s life was changed forever. Our boys were clueless about what they did to deserve such treatment from law enforcement (who) they thought were there to protect them. Unfortunately, the officers assume all African American teens look alike, My son was treated like a criminal…he has not been the same since,” said Angel Totten.

At 11:20am on June 21, 2019, two 13 year olds and a 14 year old were told by Officer Verk and Officer Matthew of the Sacramento Police Department to "get the fuck on the ground" while Verk's shaking hand held a gun pointing toward them. His hand was shaking and these very young boys thought he was going to shoot them on accident. 

They were being detained because of a burglary that happened 10 minutes prior but 30 minutes away walking distance. Officers said they fit the description but that wasn't the case. The burglary was done by 4 males. One was "white or hispanic" and the other three were Black. All had short hair and one of the Black males was heavy set. These three boys detained were all tiny with a lot of hair. 

Even after officers were sure that these were not the suspects, they still continued to detain and question these boys without a parent present. 

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Shut it down: Shutting Down the Arena and the Aftermath of Political Double Speak and Piecemeal Reform

 

I will start by saying that I am an abolitionist unapologetically. I see the prison system as a refinement of slavery and a technology that the state uses to extend slavery through immigration policies and colonialist policies of indefinite detention and over policing to harvest free black and brown bodies from our community. I fight for the end of slavery in any form especially ones that are constitutional allowed.

I say it because I know what I write will be wildly unpopular in the community of activist after the shutting down of the arena but I think it needs to be said.

Shutting down the arena was one of the most effective things I have seen the people of Sacramento do. It had both an economic impact to the city and an ability to wake up many people in the city who had become apathetic to the fact that every 3 month the police were killing a black member of our community often unarmed. That for years there had been a rally of both direct action and policy options lead by Black Lives Matter often on there own dime and own time presented to the city with no or slow action. The shutting down of the arena had a multilateral and cross functioning organization effort and it's not that there had not been this effort before there had been many multilateral and cross functional organizational efforts primarily in the Chambers of city hall where the response had been policing of grief after Joseph Mann and the outright refusal of city council to hear from the people by walking out when it came to police violence in the city of Sacramento.

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The Audacity of a Mayor Steinberg

I first met Darrell Steinberg in 2014.

I lived in Sycamore Terrace Apartments. They are right behind Nugget Market on Florin Road in Greenhaven. I lived in bldg 4 and so did Steinberg and his family. I would see him every day almost. He was hella friendly. He would say hello with a big smile. This was the same time I had just started Incite Insight. For months I was telling myself to talk to him. Back then I wanted to pursue a political office and he was a state senator at the time. So I really wanted to pick his mind but was very nervous to approach him. Finally, one day I saw him and stopped him. I told him I had just started an organization that wanted to combat police violence. I told him that I wanted to sit down with him one day and take any advice he had on reaching out to our political officials effectively. 

Darrell Steinberg welcomed it and gave me his personal cell phone number. 

 

I

 

 

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