We have been inspired by the recent widespread discussions and protests around systemic racial injustice in our society. We also know that the energy of the moment must feed sustained and strategic engagement if we are to see the kind of culture shift we yearn for.
How do we create a social life based on equality and solidarity, rather than injustice and divisions?
What does creating a People’s Budget in Oakland have to do with racial justice?
Here are four ways our initiative will help deepen and expand racial justice in Oakland:
- The views and insights of ordinary folk who live in Oakland will be placed front and center in discussions about how our city should work. Those whose voices are sidelined or ignored in the current system–in particular, low-income people of color–will not just be heard, but will actually make decisions.
- It’s the People’s Budget: public priorities will reflect the needs of the people more than the needs of the elite special interests. Programs and policies that uplift the community will be more likely to get funded than programs that only reinforce the status quo.
- As people gather in neighborhood assemblies and city-wide groups to get informed and discuss the issues, they will interact with and build connections with diverse others in the community and throughout the city. Over time, ignorance and fear will be replaced by dialogue and understanding.
- The strengthening of the Culture of Solidarity: as people think about, talk about, and decide about public priorities, habits of mind focused on our shared reality and the social good will replace habits of mind focused on individual consumer choices. The individual consumer rat-race, which feeds off of and reinforces racial divisions, will lose its grip over how we think and interact.
This social vision is all well and good, but how do we make it real?
Build with us! We are setting up face-to-face meetings with folk who support us like you all over town so we can plan how to best align our energies to make the Oakland People’s Budget real. If we have your number, you should be getting a call from us in the near future. If we don’t have your number, do send it to us so we can be in touch.
Come to one of our house parties! The next one will take place at on Sunday, January 11th, in West Oakland. Early afternoon. RSVP for details.
Donate to the cause! Even if you don’t have time to give you can still contribute funds. We need to print flyers and posters, make t-shirts, and rent a space for events, etc. Whatever you feel comfortable giving will be most appreciated!
Joy, Peace, and Justice in the New Year =)
Shawn and the CDP Team