The Black New Deal for Oakland: COVID-19 Demands

Oakland New Black Oakland Demands in light of COVID-19 and rates of Black death

graphic with list of Black Oakland demands, including health, education, housing, employment, public safety, and transportation areas.
A group of Black organizations and leaders in Oakland released “The Black New Deal,” a list of demands related to COVID-19’s impact on African Americans. (Rasheed Shabazz/Oakland Voices

By Anti Police-Terror Project and Community Ready Corps

“Across the country, Black People are being infected and dying at disproportionate rates from COVID-19. In order to respond effectively to the needs of the Black community, our elected officials, health experts, advocates and organizers must take a look at the ways in which the descendants of slaves, Black, African and African-Americans are most impacted by this virus through a racial and class lens. 

On April 19, Community Ready Corps and The Anti Police-Terror Project convened a wide range of Black leaders in Oakland virtually to develop a set of demands in terms of what we expect of our City’s response to this crisis. We are not the only impacted community but we are the most impacted and we are clear that unless Black people are healthy and safe then no community is healthy and safe.

We demand equitable treatment from all public, local and state government and to establish a space for Black voices at all tables that plan around, impact and shape our lives. 

Black people are not suffering at higher rates of COVID-19 because we are “lazy” or “unhealthy.” We are suffering at higher rates as a direct result of 500 years of discriminatory treatment. East and West Oakland have the worst air quality in the City of Oakland, we have the least access to healthy food, the least access to quality education and jobs and face the most discrimination by city policy and policymakers. 

This is a state of emergency for Black people that demands immediate action equal to those enacted in the presence of such a declaration.”

The coalition’s wide ranging demands are both short-term and long term, and include areas such as testing, public health, and patient rights; education and families, support for Black workers and small business owners, public safety/criminal justice reform, housing, transportation, and other resources.

The Oakland Post reports that demands include, Free, full, accessible testing and retesting sites, both walk-up and drive-through, in East and West Oakland and at encampments; no criminalization of youth-related to COVID 19 precautions such as wearing a mask, etc.; immediate paid sick days for all essential service workers; rent abatement for the duration of the administrative closure followed by percentage rent through 2020 for tenants coupled with mortgage forgiveness for landlords.”


The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Oakland Voices or the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.

Update: Graphic with demands areas added on April 29.

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