The path of the march was to go to the Oakland police station but we went much farther. I arrived to see around 100 people gathered around the corner of 14th & Broadway in the Frank Ogawa Plaza. Most of the people were wearing black. I had just finished work, so I was still in my slacks and shirt. I walked around and saw medical tents, a strong police presence and two helicopters over head. Some medical tents lined the perimeter. These people were prepared for something big. In the wake of the injustices in Ferguson, Oakland organized a solidarity march. Marie Cartier came to the march right after work. “I work with children,” she said, “and it’s unacceptable that some of them will be targeted in the future.” Through the megaphones I heard: “Stop the criminalization of a whole generation. Stop criminalizing black and brown communities.” I thought, “How many more brothers do we have to see killed to realize we are treated like disposable beings?” There was a group of men in black ski mask; as they took the megaphone they called the police fascist pigs, urging black people to fight them. As we marched down Broadway towards the police station, marchers chanted. “Hands up, don’t shoot” while approaching police. People were angry. People were throwing the middle finger at the police. The police followed us, blocking entry to major roads, and freeway ramps. Several people were singling out policemen of color, calling them sell outs and traitors. As we went off path towards the cranes at the Port , the police followed us again, and formed a barricade. As they were closing the street, a young woman who chose to remain unidentified was pushed off her bicycle by one of the policeman. She was uninjured. “I was just trying to go to the other side to meet my friend,” she said. A group of women proceeded to yell at the cop guilty of this aggression, but the march went on. James Cox, one of the marchers, also experienced attempts of aggression from the police. One of the more aggressive police officers tried to arrest a friend for no reason. “I wrapped my arms around him so he wouldn’t take him for no reason,” Cox said This was one of the aggressive cops with a stick. As we made our way back to Frank Ogawa Plaza, the smell of paint spray cans was strong in the air as some of the protesters were tagging the streets with messages against police brutality. The march continued back to Frank Ogawa Plaza where several fireworks were lit up. The marchers continued down Telegraph, but I left as I needed to catch BART. Ferguson reminds us of the issues of race and the injustices that people of color have to deal with in a society that has a power structure dominated by white people.
About Erick Chavarria
Erick Chavarria is a native of Mexico. He has been navigating Gringolandia ever since he moved to the U.S. at the age of five. He is very compassionate toward social issues and has been active in grassroots movements, particularly those aimed at Immigrant rights and Latino issues. He hopes to shift perspectives through his writing.