Community

“United Against Violence” holding family block party Sunday

Fun and games await kids at a family block party Sunday at Liberation Park. Called “United Against Violence and COVID-19 in Oakland,” the five-hour event goes on until 3 p.m. It invites youth and their families to enjoy basketball games and dance competitions, as well as get COVID-19 vaccinations and tests. The event was organized by Cheryl Ward Ministries and the Black Cultural Zone. It is behind held as the city tries to address a distriessing spike in homicides. It…

“Justice for Jonathan!” Rally calls for FBI to name agent, release video of Cortez shooting

Tension, anger and grief filled the air Saturday afternoon in downtown Oakland, as dozens of people rallied to demand answers in the FBI’s killing last month of a 31-year-old Oakland man. “Justice for Jonathan!” people shouted, as they marched with spray-painted posters from Oscar Grant Plaza to the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse a few blocks away. Jonathan Cortez was buying a Gatorade and some snacks from a corner store in Fruitvale on Sept. 13 when a…

‘It’s just a sweet, magical little event’: Autumn Lights Festival unites artists and gardeners

This year’s Autumn Lights Festival brings together over 300 artists and 70 illuminated light displays ranging from carved-out gourds to a steampunk-esque snail car fully equipped with pyrotechnics.  The festival, which is celebrating its 10th year, opened to a sell-out crowd Thursday at The Gardens at Lake Merritt. Aside from art, it also gives space to local food vendors and live musicians. Director and founder of the festival, Tora Rocha, said the garden gives local artists an opportunity to show their work…

Rally outside KTVU calls on media to cover missing Indigenous, Black, brown women

A day after Indigenous Peoples Day, dozens of activists and others gathered outside the KTVU building in Jack London Square Tuesday to shed light on missing Indigenous women and the lack of media coverage for Black and brown women.  They set up an altar, held up flags and banners, and gathered in a circle. The scent of sage filled the air as Lyla June Johnston shared a prayer, welcoming the ancestors to the circle. “We ask that you protect our…

Pepper spray and alarms: Chinatown clinic teaches personal safety

Chinatown residents are concerned for their safety after instances of assault and robbery against seniors. The Oakland Chinatown Safety Committee hosted a personal safety and pepper spray clinic to train community members on how to be more aware of their surroundings and defend themselves.

Hundreds march for right of animals to live with ‘decency and kindness’

Hundreds of animal rights protesters marched in San Francisco Saturday afternoon to demand the end of factory farming, chanting, “Humane slaughter is a lie! Animals do not want to die!” “We believe in a world where every animal, every human being is treated with decency and kindness,” Wayne Hsiung, founder of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, told a crowd in Dolores Park. The protest aimed to raise awareness for animal rights, recruit more people to join the effort, and…

Oakland council reverses course, votes to add police academy

Oakland City Council on Tuesday voted to add a fifth police academy in the next two years to recruit more officers and increase staffing, reversing a decision from three months earlier. The council approved the resolution a day after Oakland recorded its 100th homicide this year. It passed by a 6-2 vote, with Nikki Fortunato Bas and Carroll Fife voting no.  In June, the council rejected the mayor’s request for six police academies over the next two years and budgeted…

Oakland shifting some police calls to new civilian team

Oakland is preparing to launch an 18-month pilot program that will direct some 911 calls to a team of trained civilian responders rather than to the Police Department.  Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland will be run by the Fire Department on a limited basis, beginning later this year or early next year, depending on how quickly personnel can be hired and trained.  MACRO will respond to calls regarding such things as mental health crises and public intoxication, according to…

Oakland Zoo asks people to drop off ivory, other items made from illegal animal trade

When Ting Ting the sun bear arrived at the Oakland Zoo in 2006, she had a spacious field to explore. But Ting Ting confined herself to a raised wooden plank. Ting Ting, rescued from the illegal wildlife trade where she was sold as a pet, was previously kept in a small cage where she could walk only a few steps back and forth. In her first months at the Oakland Zoo, she maintained the same pacing pattern. The Oakland Zoo…