by Luckie Lovette
McClymonds students were angered but not surprised to learn that nearly 60 percent of police stops in Oakland during 2013 were directed at African Americans.
“I feel that we shouldn’t be targeted just because the police believe that African Americans contribute to a high rate of crime, and police shouldn’t suspect us of a crime just because of our skin color,” said Selena Williams, a senior.
According to the data released by the Oakland police, Blacks are stopped and searched by Oakland police at a rate of 62 percent while they make up just 28 percent of the city’s population. The report also shows that although Blacks were more likely to be stopped, they were no more likely than any other racial group to be found with illegal drugs or weapons.
The data also show that Oakland police are more likely to arrest Blacks on suspicion of felony charges during a stop.
“To be honest, it’s pretty sad,” said Kendall Page, a senior. “They make fun of us; basically everyone is laughing at us because of the racial profiling problem.”
The report, which presents stop-and-search figures from last April through December, was ordered as part of the negotiated settlement of a civil rights lawsuit over a decade ago, which stemmed from the Riders scandal that alleged police brutality and other forms of misconduct.
“I feel it’s really racist that they are targeting black people,” said Taivion Foster, a sophomore.
Oakland Interim Police Chief Sean Went said in a letter that the figures in the report are reflective of “the situation in many U.S. cities and speaks to the need for systemic changes throughout our communities.”
“We are committed to working toward an Oakland that ensures equal opportunities, protections and successes for all,” he wrote.
John Burris, one of the civil rights attorneys who worked on the Riders case, in which four Oakland police officers were randomly beating and detaining Blacks in Oakland in early 2000, told reporters yesterday that he was not surprised by the findings.
“It’s disappointing, but we’ve always suspected this to be true,” he said.
“I’m hopeful the data will get analyzed in such a way that we can find out whether there’s implicit bias in law enforcement,” Burris said.
The report said that Hispanics were stopped and searched by Oakland police at a rate of 17 percent, whites at 12 percent, Asians at 6 percent.
Former McClymonds student Frenswa Raynor, 16 and African American, was shot in the face last year by a veteran police officer in downtown Oakland because he was thought to have been armed, but was later found out to be unarmed and innocent. Burris represented him.
Why Mack Students Should Care about LGBT
by Janaya Andrews
Sometimes justice trumps love. Take Valentine’s Day. I spent it lobbying in Sacramento for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
I was one of seven McClymonds students who joined 3,000 students in Sacramento in a forum about LGBT rights at the 65th Model Legislature and Court of California YMCA Youth and Government.
While in Sacramento, I wrote a bill to promote acceptance of gays, bisexuals, the transgendered, and lesbians. I felt that it was time to support the LGBT, not only because I am standing up for what’s right, but also for truth and justice.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to be what they were born with,” said Shamorra Washington, a freshman. “It’s not like it’s a switch that people could simply flip to change their whole being. Why should they?”
Our group focused on notable LGBT people from President James Buchanan (our 15th president who was gay but closeted) and Laura Jane Grace, born Thomas James Gabel, lead singer of punk band Against Me! (transgender who has since switched genders and married).
In my group, we had a guest speaker come talk about her experiences, and she shared a personal story with us about feeling out of sorts. It was in college that that she realized she was transgender. Her upbringing in an accepting family made her less afraid of coming out.
A 2012 survey by the Human Rights Campaign of 10,000 LGBT youth aged 13-17 found that while almost all (91 percent) of LGBT teens are out to their close friends, fewer are out in school (61 percent) and out to their families (56 percent).
Those who were out at school and out to their families reported higher levels of happiness than those who weren’t.
“We are all human, so why treat each other with less respect,” said Washington. “If you want to be seen and heard, you have to set your feelings free.
As Dorothy Parker so eloquently said, “Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.” She forgot to add it is natural.
And Jean Genet said, “I like the word gay, though I think of myself as queer. I believe the strength in my work comes from that perspective -my being an outsider”.
And I have internalized what these two famous writers said: nobody should be afraid of being gay, just be who you are and love it. Now is the time to act to support LGBT youth.
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Tagged Against Me!, boas, college, coming out, Debate, equal rights, family, gay and lesbian, Human Rights Campaign, Justice, Laura Jane Grace, LBGT, McClymonds, transgender, YMCA, Youth and Government