For weeks, leaders of the Oakland small business community have been meeting in preparation for a COVID-19 comprehensive safe reopening plan. As we watched the alarming events unfold in Minneapolis, we felt compelled to come together during this distressing time to stand in solidarity with the millions who are pained by the killing of George Floyd and against the systems and institutions that continue to oppress and kill Black Americans today.
Amidst this tragedy when emotions are justifiably high, we are often pressured to choose sides: community vs. police; health vs. economics; safety vs. justice. However, we understand these binaries to be false and harmful constructions that divide our community even further. Therefore, we want to remind everyone of who we are as Oaklanders--champions for community, diversity, equitable growth, and most importantly--justice.
As residents and visitors prepare to make their way to tonight’s protest at Frank Ogawa (also known as Oscar Grant) Plaza, we want to remind people that you are entering a space where thousands of people have peacefully gathered against injustice such as the #BlackLivesMatter movements, #MeToo, and #NeverAgain. This space has and will continue to uphold the spirit of Oaklanders to condemn violence, of all forms.
Because we understand that our broken systems cannot be resolved overnight, in advance of planned demonstrations we strongly urge community members and protestors to stay safe as they peacefully demonstrate their real grief, outrage, and pain tonight. We, as the Oakland Business Community, are sincerely committed to building trust and forging new partnerships to reduce racial inequalities and to advance just practices that contribute to the vitality of all communities regardless of race, class, gender, national origin, and sexuality.
United for Peace and Justice,
Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce
Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
KONO Community Benefit District
Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
Oakland Latino Chamber of Commerce
Lakeshore Business Improvement District
Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce
Oakland Indie Alliance
Jack London Improvement District
Laurel District Association
Montclair Village Association