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School District Security Violently Clashes with Parents, Community at Parker Elementary School

According to a press release issued by the Parker protesters, “The security officers physically ejected several people and unlawfully detained one parent in the building in handcuffs, injuring the parent in the process. Within two hours, nearly 60 people from the public education community and neighborhood had amassed outside with a single demand: let go of this parent. After an hour, OPD arrived with four officers. As they opened the building, the group of people who were amassed outside entered the building and were met with excessive force by the OUSD security forces. More than 10 people sustained minor to moderate injuries, and two people went to hospital for treatment.”

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This Wednesday, protesters held a press conference, accusing the district of political repression and retaliation by firing two educators who have been active in the fight against school closures and in defense of Parker school.
This Wednesday, protesters held a press conference, accusing the district of political repression and retaliation by firing two educators who have been active in the fight against school closures and in defense of Parker school.

By Ken Epstein

Oakland Unified School District security officers arrived at Parker Elementary School in East Oakland on Thursday, Aug. 4 to change the locks and clear people from the school.

Parker, located at 7929 Ney Ave. in East Oakland, has been occupied and kept open operating community programs for the last two months by community protesters, who are resisting the school board decision to permanently close the school at the end of May.

According to a press release issued by the Parker protesters, “The security officers physically ejected several people and unlawfully detained one parent in the building in handcuffs, injuring the parent in the process.

“Within two hours, nearly 60 people from the public education community and neighborhood had amassed outside with a single demand: let go of this parent. After an hour, OPD arrived with four officers. As they opened the building, the group of people who were amassed outside entered the building and were met with excessive force by the OUSD security forces. More than 10 people sustained minor to moderate injuries, and two people went to hospital for treatment.”

In a response to Oakland Post questions, OUSD spokesperson John Sasaki wrote: “OUSD staff went to Parker on Thursday and found all the people who had been inside the building had left the premises. So, staff changed the locks and set the alarm.

“Someone picked, cut, or otherwise broke through a lock to get back inside the building. They were removed. But unfortunately, individuals forced their way back into the building.”

Sasaki continued, “Parker K-8 School is now closed. The individuals at Parker have been and continue to trespass. We have directed them to leave from day one and have continued to do so on many other occasions. Of great concern is that the children that were onsite were sleeping in unsafe conditions and that the adults were running an unsafe and unlicensed childcare program. We continue to demand that they find other ways to safely and peaceably express their concerns.”

Parker protesters condemned the actions. “It was unthinkable that the district would send a group of poorly trained security —consultants ­— to injure, aggress, and antagonize a peaceful community where children were receiving services, located in a predominantly Black neighborhood of East Oakland, which already experiences disproportionate police violence,” the release said.

Parker activists say they are not leaving and will continue their fight to keep the school from being permanently closed and privatized.

Civil rights attorney Walter Riley, who represents the protesters, says that his investigation told the Oakland Post that description of the incident on Aug. 4 “were concerning in a number of ways.”

“The people had been there all summer, and the district had allowed them to continue. No notice of eviction had ever occurred. After locks were placed on the door, a protester made entry, not by breaking in but through a door with a key, as has been the case all summer,” said Riley.

The security agency employed by the district does not have the authority to use “self-help” (that is to physically evict people from the building). They are untrained, and the district is liable for their injuries.

Riley continued: “OPD officers, when they arrived, stood by, and watched unlawful physical attacks. One person was thrown headfirst into a wall by security causing significant injury. Another person, a candidate for school board and an active parent, was taken to the ground, a knee placed on his neck by security. He was brutalized, handcuffed, and held for up to two hours without medical aid for injuries to his wrist, neck, and face.”

Since May 25, the final day of classes of the 2021-22 school year, protesters have occupied Parker 24 hours a day, utilizing the space for a summer program for school-age children, youth empowerment initiatives, free food distribution, voter registration drives, and hosting community town halls and other events, according to protesters’ press statement.

This Wednesday, protesters held a press conference, accusing the district of political repression and retaliation by firing two educators who have been active in the fight against school closures and in defense of Parker school.

One of the two teachers who was fired was Craig Gordon, a 32-year veteran Oakland teacher and union activist. The other teacher who was fired was not named.

District spokesman Sasaki declined to comment on the firing of the two teachers. “We don’t comment on personnel matters,” he said.

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Activism

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

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Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas
Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemlbymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

By Carla Thomas

The Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the organization’s Stay In School Program on May 9 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Themed “Together We Can Empower Our Youth to Stay in School,” the event featured a pre-event reception featuring Oakland’s Kev Choice Ensemble.

The ensemble featured Oakland School for the Arts student, Ayo Brame, a 16-year-old, up-and-coming tenor saxophone jazz musician. The master and mistress of ceremonies were local broadcasters Dave Clark and Roberta Gonzales of KTVU Fox 2. Clark’s wife, Lucretia also supported the program.

A special appearance featured Dwayne Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Toné! on guitar, performing the group’s hit song “Anniversary” as guests dined on salmon, chicken, beef and vegetarian entrees prepared by the Food Network “Chopped” Champion, Chef Rashad Armstead of Oakland. California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) provided the keynote address and the Carla Service Dance-A-Vision youth dancers energetically performed a hip hop routine throughout the audience in white leotards as attendees clapped along. An auction led by Auctioneer Franco Finn assisted in raising funds for the organization with prizes that included a luxury resort vacation and other items.

LAHF presented District 5 Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and District 4 Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley with Lifetime Supporter Awards. LAHF presented the Trailblazer Award to Guy Richardson of Ernst and Young; Dante Green of Kaiser Permanente; Antioch Attorney Gordon Greenwood of the Kazan McClain Partner’s Foundation; and Sarah Yoell of PG&E.

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Kyla Trammel Johnson acknowledged LAHF’s impact.

“Each year, LAHF gives backpacks and school supplies to thousands of students across Oakland,” said Johnson. “In 2022 the effort topped 25,000 students. No matter the need, big or small, involving lots of students or just one, Lend A Hand is always there ready to make a difference in the lives of our young people.”

Founder and executive director of LAHF Dee Johnson took the stage as the DJ played the Sledge Sisters’ “We Are Family.”

Guests gave Johnson a standing ovation as she thanked supporters and presented many of them with gifts.

“It’s heartbreaking to know some children don’t have clothes or supplies for school,” said Johnson. “The babies really need our support and when we deliver supplies to them, it makes them really happy.”

Since the LAHF Annual Stay in School Program began in 1999, it has provided over 150,000 educational school supply kits to students throughout Alameda County, including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, and San Leandro, among other cities.

“This past August, we provided for over 12,000 students with supplies, with the help and support of our very generous donors,” said Johnson. “This year, we aim to do all we can to match that amount or provide even more.”

For more information visit: www.LendaHandFoundation.org

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Chef Cleaz and Mistah F.A.B. Host “You Still Have A Son” Mother’s Day Dinner

Oakland Chef Cleaz and Bay Area rapper, author Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., hosted a Mother’s Day dinner on Monday, May 13, at Pierre Pierre, a restaurant in the Tribune building in downtown Oakland. The restaurant was decorated with balloons and flowers for the event, and each mother received a bouquet of red roses.

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Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.
Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.

By Carla Thomas

Oakland Chef Cleaz and Bay Area rapper, author Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., hosted a Mother’s Day dinner on Monday, May 13, at Pierre Pierre, a restaurant in the Tribune building in downtown Oakland.

The restaurant was decorated with balloons and flowers for the event, and each mother received a bouquet of red roses.

Organized for mothers who have lost their children, for mothers in need of extra love on Mother’s Day, the event gave the hosts an opportunity to remember their own mothers while doing something special for over 100 mothers in the community.

Both men recounted the deep sense of grief they faced in the loss of their mothers and recognized the many mothers who have outlived their children.

“We were in my restaurant, and F.A.B. was having dinner and said he wanted to do something special but wasn’t sure what it would look like,” said Chef Cleaz. “We continued to brainstorm, and at first F.A.B. wanted to come up with ways to bring more business to my new restaurant and serve the community. But days later, F.A.B. came up with the idea for mothers.”

“In these tough times. we know life can get you down'” explained F.A.B. “And expect to lose a parent, but a parent should not lose their child, and with Mother’s Day around the corner, we decided to show moms in need of something special and extra love.”

F.A.B. also knew that Chef Cleaz had recently lost his mother, which made the idea even more appropriate to them.

So, the day after Mother’s Day, F.A.B. and Cleaz hosted “You Still Have A Son, Momma” at Pierre Pierre.

“We wanted moms to still feel appreciated under the covenant of family and love,” said F.A.B.

“I remember my mother being my rock,” said Cleaz. “My mom played a very important part in my life, and not having her anymore gave me the impetus to do something in her honor. She gave me a lot in her lifetime. F.A.B. offered to pay for the entire event, but I said, let’s collaborate.”

“My mom was my best friend, and on Mother’s Day I cry and listen to music so I can get the tears out. But I’m happy because I’m living my purpose, continuing to evolve as a man and father to Liberty and Legacy and continue making my mom proud.”

Initially, Cleaz and F.A.B. planned for 50 to 75 guests, but after they advertised the event via social media posts, the RSVP’s kept rolling in. At last count,120 mothers responded.

F.A.B. said he did not plan on turning anybody away if there were more guests. “If they’re coming, there is a void of love that they are coming for,” he said. Chef Cleaz’s staff donated their time, and entertainer Dyson the Voice brought his band and sang all night.

“We wanted to see all the beautiful women out there,” said F.A.B. “We wanted to see lots of beautiful smiles, faces, and we want the mothers to feel appreciated.”

F.A.B. said his sister Theresa lost her son and that he knows at a very personal level how deep the loss of a child is through her. “You never really get over the loss, you deal with it. You try to make life better for those around you.”

Pierre Pierre is located at 401 13th St. Owner Chef Cleaz is a renowned celebrity chef from the vibrant culinary scene of San Francisco. Born from humble beginnings, he has forged an extraordinary path to culinary stardom, exemplifying Black excellence with each delectable dish he creates.

A dedicated father and loving husband, his commitment to family values extends far beyond his home, as he tirelessly helps anyone he sees in need.

Chef Cleaz has built an empire rooted in his passion for food and a deep respect for cultural heritage. His vision is to establish a sanctuary of culinary artistry, where creole and soul food recipes take center stage. He aims to create a space that the community can proudly call its own, a place where shared meals become moments of togetherness and cultural celebration.

Through his culinary creations, he invites visitors to savor not just his delectable dishes but also the history, traditions, and stories that infuse every plate.

F.A.B. is an American songwriter, entrepreneur, community organizer, and activist whose music career began in the late 1990s when he was discovered by Jazzy Jim and Gary Archer. He was featured on a number of Mac Dre’s Thizz Nation mixtape compilations and quickly gained prominence in the San Francisco Bay Area Hyphy Movement.

F.A.B. is the owner of D.O.P.E. clothing store and other businesses. He is known for hosting community block parties, school supply giveaways, and holiday parties for the underserved. He also created Thug Therapy, a movement for men to receive mental health support, which inspired the work of another community organizer, the late Shantell Herndon, creator of FLY Girl Therapy and Healing Circles.

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Oakland Post: Week of May 15 – 21, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 15 – 21, 2024

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