I-580 w/e, Oakland

On November 24th of last year, Oakland residents responded to the grand jury decision in Ferguson by blocking off entry to the 580 freeway East and Westbound, a high volume highway that connects the East bay from Hayward to San Francisco. The community began mobilizing around 8 o’clock in the evening, the same day the jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson for the murder of unarmed teen Michael Brown. The demonstration slowly progressed from “die-ins” in downtown Oakland, specifically around 14th and Broadway--another major intersection in Oakland. Although the majority of the demonstration was non-violent, a minor group set fires and distributed large debris to throw at OPD. Just the year before, Oakland had occupied downtown Oakland to demonstrate the acquittal of George Zimmerman under the “Stand your Ground” Florida law. In attempts to disperse the obstruction of traffic, OPD arrested over forty-three protesters and was justified by not only OPD’s statement of protester’s “unrest” but the media coverage focused on the vandalism, obscuring the demonstrator’s overall message of the bigger crime that was committed on this day. The march to the 580 began from Oakland’s City Hall and progressed through Chinatown and the Lake Merritt/Grand area. Oakland Police was preparing for a catalyst that was seen in Ferguson, Missouri. About two hours later, the OP disbanded the group with aggressive threats of arrests and successfully had traffic running again.
This day in Oakland was a painful reminder of the injustices committed towards black bodies, the murder of an unarmed black child in which the murderer was not convicted, second to Trayvon Martin. Between these two trials being followed worldwide are other cases that have not received justice. The criminalization of freedom of expression is coded within media coverage in which coded language is used; what is once recognized as “protesters” and “freedom of speech” is translated to “thugs, rioters, and vandalism.” The Huffington Post today has articles concerning the protests in Oakland under their "crime" section.

Cite this Page:

Kelly Ortiz, “I-580 w/e, Oakland ,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed December 14, 2017, http://streetstoriesoakland.com/items/show/158.

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