photos by Breannie Robinson
by Selena Williams
Move over, Hofstra University. You have competition in hosting debates: students at McClymonds High School ran their school’s first Election Candidates Forum last Thursday.
About 60 people attended the forum, including first-time voters like senior Carlos Valladares. “I sense that all these candidates want to make West Oakland a better community,” said Valladares after the forum.”Tough choice.”
There were few disagreements, unlike the second debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. One candidate — Lynette McElhaney — left early and school board candidate Richard Fuentes could not attend because he had to work (for the Oakland City Council). City council candidate Alex Miller-Cole said he would be “one politician whose cell phone number you have” and candidate Larry Lionel Young Jr. stressed that he understood youth issues better because he was young.
The political forum grew out of interest by students participating in Alternatives in Action’s YOLO Youth Organizing Leadership Opportunities. Senior Donte Jackson asked many of the questions about safety, violence, jobs, a proposed teen curfew and McClymonds’ future.
City council candidates included Nyesha DeWitt, a youth dropout prevention specialist, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, director of a housing non-profit (who left early), Alex Miller-Cole, a small business owner, Sean Sullivan, who works with homeless youth, and Larry Lionel Young, a realtor who ran for mayor in 2010.
The candidates are competing for Nancy Nadel’s seat. Nadel announced that she would step down after four terms representing West Oakland. All contenders describe themselves as liberal or progressive. They all support community policing and oppose gang injunctions, and youth curfews.
Also speaking were school board candidates, incumbent Jumoke Hinton Hodge and challenger Benjamin Lang, who said he was the only candidate who has spent no money on his campaign and has accepted no donations. Candidate Richard Fuentes, who has the support of the teachers’ union, could not attend.
Among the more striking statements, Sullivan said that better lighting in Emeryville made the streets there safer and cleaner. And Young kept using slogans to push his candidacy. “Vote LL: Oakland will be well.”
Posted in 100 block initiative, Alumni, business, campaign, changes, Children, community, community activism, cutbacks, Debate, Education, Environmental Justice, EPA, Gangs, Guns, jobs, Justice, leadership, Oakland City Council, Police, protest, Racism, School News, shooting, summer jobs, violence, voting, West Oakland, work, YOLO, Youth
Tagged city council, curfew, Debate, drugs, election, gangs, jobs, McClymonds, police, safety, school board, violence, voting, west Oakland, youth
Copyright Photograph by Sarah Rice, Special To The Chronicle / SF
by Tamesha Figures
When an 18-year-old honor student is shot by Oakland police, we should care. And students and teachers at McClymonds identify with Alan Blueford because he was Black, bright, and died tragically like Trayvon Martin.
He was shot May 6, at 92nd Avenue and Birch Street in East Oakland after fleeing a stop by two Oakland police officers, just weeks before his graduation. There are still questions about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, Blueford family attorney John Burris told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Sana Saeed, 14, and a senior said Blueford’s case was “another Trayvon Martin.” According to Saeed, the fatal incident will produce more anger and distrust towards the police from the community, afraid that “they might shoot one of their loved ones.” There seems to be a rise in abusive power, she added.
Mau’Rae Williams, 15, a sophomore agrees. “There is no trust in the police. It’s even more a reason not to trust them,” Williams said. “Riots would be started because people are being denied their first amendment right to protest.”
Williams was referring to the recent decision by the Oakland City Council to limit the number of people attending council meetings, aimed at stifling community protest about Blueford’s case. On Tuesday 100 people were locked out, according to the Chronicle. Police officers barred the doors as protesters inside and outside the meeting room erupted.
Posted in community, community activism, ethnicity, Guns, Justice, juvenile hall, Oakland City Council, Police, protest, Racism, School News, shooting, success, violence, Youth
Tagged Alan Blueford, Oakland, Oakland City Council, police, protest, shooting, violence, youth