CDP–like Oakland itself–is made up of diverse and passionate individuals, individuals with different experiences who all share the commitment to making democracy real in our city. Below are the personal statements of just two of our members.

My name’s Tia. I sue perpetrators of domestic violence for a living and I have a love-hate relationship with the police.

Concord PO
Concord’s first police officer dedicated to domestic violence

While I recognize and appreciate law enforcement’s ability to remove a batterer from an abusive household in times of crisis, I also sometimes feel a cramp-inducing fear in my stomach when I spot a uniform-clad officer in my vicinity.

I joined the Community Democracy Project right about when the Darren Wilson verdict came out of Ferguson. That night, I marched in solidarity with Ferguson and then came home feeling tired and hopeless. I felt hopeless because the murder of Michael Brown wasn’t an isolated incident. This past week in Baltimore has proven that point yet again.

The police have slain too many other Black folks:
Freddie Gray.
Yuvette Henderson.
Yvette Smith.
Eleanor Bumpurs.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones.
Tarike Wilson.
Dante Parker.
Ezell Ford.
Kajieme Powell.
Akai Gurley.
Tamir Rice.
Rumain Brisbon.
Oscar Grant.
Raheim Brown.
Alan Blueford.

I get anxious writing these names because I know that each time I try to list victims of police brutality, I forget someone. There’s really just too many names.

So, when the Black Lives Matter movement put out a national call to action, I joined Asians4BlackLives and we shut down the Oakland Police Department. I did this because as a Pilipino person, I recognize that Asians are used to prop up the anti-Black racism that allowed Darren Wilson to walk free.

That’s me trying to make sure the cops stay calm while my friends literally put their bodies on the line by chaining themselves to the OPD entrance in response to a national call to shut down institutions that perpetrate the war on Black people.

Believe me. Shutting down OPD was one of the most amazing moments of my life. That day, members of the Blackout Collective, Black Brunch, and Black Lives Matter joined us.


Their power together was breath-taking.

After symbolically shutting down OPD for a day, I wondered: how can we actually shut down police brutality for good?


That’s where the Community Democracy Project comes in. While the world was in mourning, CDP held space for its members to mourn and be optimistic.

The optimistic part? It FINALLY starts on ‪#‎MayDay‬.


That tagline? “Your City. Your Budget. Imagine That”? Really. IMAGINE IT. The possibilities are overwhelmingly positive.

Imagine spending less on police weapons and more on OPD’s domestic violence unit. Less on the Coliseum Lease and more on affordable housing.


Community owned solar power plants
Domestic violence prevention workshops
Guaranteed jobs
Urban gardens on every block
Libraries open 24/7
Seed funding for worker owned cooperatives
Emergency contingency plans
Culturally relevant murals in public spaces
Free public transportation
Literacy programs
Daily preschool story-time
Rape crisis centers in every district
A requirement that all city employees learn nonviolent communication

Let’s make all of this and more happen. Let’s start on May Day.

Let’s rally with the ILWU in solidarity with victims of police brutality, and start gathering signatures to amend the city charter such that the PEOPLE have a real say on how we spend our money.

Last night, CDP voted in THREE new members: Shoshanna Howard, Amy Tao, and Tim Ng.


Tim is also a member of Asians4BlackLives and this is what he has to say about joining CDP:

I joined CDP because I refuse to play with the cards that we’ve been dealt.

They tell us:
If a candidate is corrupt, don’t vote for them.
If a corporation is poisoning your neighborhood, don’t buy their products.
If the government doesn’t listen, just move somewhere else.

I challenge the system as a whole and the rules that we’re told to play by. The ruling elite act as a united force, while we are told to make our own little individual choices and trust that the system will listen to our incremental actions.

We were given a bucket of paint and told to change the color of the walls inside their house of oppression.

It’s time for us to step outside and build our own future – enact our transformative visions and take control of OUR money in OUR budget through the principles of the Community Democracy Project.

Community – We are stronger when we build bonds with each other.

Democracy – people power is always within ourselves, ready to be unleashed

Project – through participatory budgeting, we fund each others creative visions.

The path ahead is clear. On May 1, we set forth to a better future.

We’re meeting THIS Friday (May 1st) at Oscar Grant/ Frank Ogawa Plaza near the 14th St. BART Station exit at 11:30AM.

If you can’t find us, please call or text Tia at 510-393-2723.


RSVP to our Facebook event so everyone will know CDP’s rolling deep on May Day.

If you’re feeling nervous…or if you want to brush up on some talking points about CDP, here’s a cheat sheet we made for volunteers! We’ll also give you a hard copy on May 1st.

For even more details, you can also watch our animated video about participatory budgeting or simply read the initiative here.

If you can’t make it at 11:30AM on May Day, we’re also meeting up at 5:00PM at Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza to gather signatures at the First Friday Art Walk. You can also RSVP to other shifts here.

Lastly, please help us pay for the printing costs of this campaign! Donate $35 today!

We can’t wait to see you all!


Tia, Tim, and the CDP Team

Categories: Blog


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