“You can’t see what we’ve seen these past few years – with the
most recent deaths this week outside St. Paul and in Baton
Rouge – and in Dallas – and not know that something is terribly
broken with how we administer the force of law and mete out
justice in our country.
“As a white woman, I can’t pretend to understand fully the pain,
the anger, the frustration and the fear that many in our
communities of color feel right now and have felt for centuries
as they try to live free. As a civilian, I don’t know intimately how
police officers around the country and their families are grieving
right now and worrying about what the next day in uniform will
bring. But as your Mayor, what I do understand is the need to
change this reality because neither our communities, nor law
enforcement can continue on this trajectory we’re on.
“I have talked often of how Oakland is trying to change this
narrative, the progress we’ve made in principled policing in
Oakland and about the fact that it’s still not enough as
evidenced by our police department’s most recent struggles,
but this is not the time for that discussion. Now is the time to
give people a safe space to grieve – the time to be in
community with one another so we can truly move forward.
“I am asking faith based leaders in Oakland to open the doors
of their places of worship so community members can come
together. I am asking Oakland’s arts community and the
leaders of other gathering spaces across our city to open their
doors as well. I hope neighbors will be inspired to come
together in their homes too, to talk honestly about what has
“I am also encouraging residents in Oakland to post video
testimonials to the City’s and the Mayor’s Facebook pages so
we can give public voice to the private pain so many are feeling
right now and gather the community’s feedback using
#BlackLivesMatter and #OakVoices.
“I know these gatherings and activities won’t be the path
everyone chooses tonight or in the days ahead. Some will take
to the streets. I ask that those who do, do so in a way that is
peaceful and not destructive so as to do no further harm to our
community, which like so many other cities is in pain right now.
Facilitating peaceful free expression, keeping peace on our
streets and protecting the safety of Oakland residents and
businesses remain our goals.”
Erica Terry Derryck