Dec 4, 2015
Today, Asians4BlackLives stands inspired and proud alongside our comrades, the BlackFriday14, as Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announces she is dropping the charges against them. This is a victory for the people. This is a critical moment to celebrate the power of grassroots organizing, direct action, and the fierce multi-sector, mutli-racial solidarity that worked hard to win this decision. We congratulate the BlackFriday14, and we acknowledge Nancy O’Malley for deciding to stand on the side of justice.
The BlackFriday14 inspired so many of us when they shut down BART last November, as part of the nationwide Movement for Black Lives. Two weeks later, Asians4BlackLives, alongside other non-Black allies, chained shut the doors of the Oakland police headquarters while Black activists led an action outside. While Nancy O’Malley pressed for restitution and criminal charges against the BlackFriday14, she did not prosecute A4BL and other non-Black allies for this similar action. As non-Black people of color, we recognize this differential treatment as another example of how the state specifically targets and criminalizes Black communities. District attorneys across the country, including O’Malley, fail again and again to prosecute police officers for the murder of Black people, and instead use their time and resources to prosecute Black activists fighting for their lives under a state of emergency.
This is a global state of emergency. It is the violence of white supremacy and anti-Blackness that led to the police murder of Jamar Clark and the shootings of BLM protesters in Minneapolis, and the killing of Mario Woods in San Francisco just this week. There are many fronts of this daily war on Black Lives–from police violence, to gentrification, to mass incarceration. We will continue to take to the streets, shut down business as usual, and stand alongside our Black comrades to end this war. For we recognize that Black liberation is inextricably linked to our own. The forces of white supremacy and imperialism that harm us and our people across the world–from Syria, Lebanon, South Korea, Burma, and Palestine to Oakland–cannot be toppled without working to dismantle anti-Blackness.
Dropping the charges against the BlackFriday14 is one victory in a long struggle. This past Black Friday, Asians4BlackLives supported Black Lives Matter Bay Area in disrupting the SF Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, calling out Mayor Ed Lee for his role in fueling gentrification which has displaced many and left the city with only a 3% Black population, and his support in building a new SF Jail in a city where over half the current jail inmates are Black. This city, which prides itself on diversity, is really a city that is pushing out its Black residents, while it continues to erase and devalue their lives.
Some non-Black Asians like Mayor Lee have opted to become active agents in this war. Asians stand on both sides of the class divide in the Bay; as gentrifiers and gentrified, as oppressors and oppressed. Each of us has the choice to be silent and complicit in the forces harming our communities–or, to commit to the fight for Black liberation, and the liberation of all of our peoples. As we declare this victory with the BlackFriday14, we call on our Asian sisters, brothers, and siblings to join us in this fight towards freedom, safety, and wellbeing for all.
Read the Black Friday 14′s own statement about this victory to hear more background on the action and why they continue to fight: