Today is the 23rd Annual World AIDS Day – “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.” Normally I would walk through the day obliviously, but this is my first year celebrating the occasion as an HIV positive man.
Permitting a permanent encampment is a far better solution than waging war on the Occupy Oakland supporters. Looking back to history, during the Great Depression we had Hoovervilles that lasted for years. Central Park was “occupied.” The only thing that enabled these shanty towns to be destroyed was an economic recovery.
When I was in Oakland recently, I saw an interesting mural. There was a whole wall full of them, commissioned by the city to brighten up the area. All of them were happy and cheerful. This one depicted the Obama family smiling and having a picnic together—a very happy scene. But recently, someone decided to alter it a bit. The mural was hijacked, and now President Obama’s mouth is dripping blood, making him appear to be a monster.
Many Oakland business people are asking whether Oakland is still a good place to invest. When I talk to people working for big and small businesses around the city, I hear this question constantly: “Is it time to pack up and leave?“
My concern is for those children who are rejected by the local charters and private schools. Either their parents don’t have the savvy to get them in, or once they fail there the charters and private schools send them back to us.
In the coming weeks, the Oakland Unified School District’s Board of Directors will likely be making tough decisions to close some Oakland schools. As the board embarks on this process, we at Great Oakland Public Schools (GO Public Schools) have been hearing from our network of parents, teachers and community members throughout Oakland and are writing to share their appreciations and concerns.
What has happened to us as a culture and people when we enjoy watching a fight, more concerned with videotaping on a cell phone than calling for help, and take a national past time and turn it into something ugly?