Longshore Workers Plan Juneteenth Shutdown / SF’s Christopher Columbus Statue Removed / Oakland Police Department considers “Defunding the Police” / CA DACA Recipients Celebrate SCOTUS Ruling
Longshore Workers Plan Juneteenth Shutdown
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union is planning to shut down the port of Oakland today. The ILWU is recognizing Juneteenth, a day which commemorates the end of slavery in the US. Cargo will sit unmoved and unloaded at all 29 ports across the West Coast for eight hours Instead of working, members of the ILWU will join labor activists and community organizers in marching against police brutality and systemic racism.
Here in the Bay Area, the demonstration will travel through downtown Oakland, past the police station, and end at city hall. Trent Willis is the president of the ILWU Local 10. He says that police brutality is part of a larger systemic problem that affects more than just black people.
“The police in this country for too many years have been used to squash movements. Not just black people’s rights. The 1% in this country that control all of the money — their knee is not just on black people’s necks. It’s just on black people’s necks disproportionately.”
The ILWU has a long history of fighting for racial equity, and was one of the first unions to desegregate its workers.
SF’s Christopher Columbus Statue Removed
San Francisco city workers moved a 4,000 pound Christopher Columbus Statue into storage Thursday morning. The Columbus statue near Coit Tower has been a point of contention for years. The city’s art commission did restorations on the statue only a few weeks ago. Since then, it’s been vandalized three times and drenched with red paint just last week.
The statue was removed ahead of a protest planned in San Francisco. Anti-police brutality protesters have been forcibly removing statues across the country, of figures like Thomas Jefferson and John Sutter. And earlier this week, state legislators decided to remove a Columbus statue from the Capitol Building in Sacramento.
Protesters are doing what many Native Americans in the U.S. have demanded for decades: removing statues of figures that, for them, represent the exploitation and genocide of indigenous people.
San Francisco City Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Catherine Stefani issued this joint statement:
“We recognize the pain and oppression that Christopher Columbus represents to many. We believe that through public art we can and should honor the heritage of all of our people, including our Italian-American community, but in doing so we should choose symbols that unify us.”
Oakland Police Department considers “Defunding the Police”
Some Oakland councilmembers are proposing serious changes to their police department budget. This year, Oakland Police Department’s budget was $318 million — almost 20% of the city’s entire budget. Demands to cut the OPD’s budget are not new, but have gained significant momentum since last month’s killing of George Floyd.
On Tuesday night, District 2 Councilmember Nikki Fortuna Bas proposed shifting twenty five million dollars from the OPD to fund community-based policing alternatives that increase public safety. She also called for a hiring freeze of 46 unfilled police officer positions. Bas estimates that alone would free up twelve and a half million dollars. Council President Rebecca Kaplan has proposed her own plan, which includes up to $20 million in cuts.
District 1 councilmember Dan Kalb said that while he’s open to the idea of redirecting funds from OPD, the department’s budget was already dramatically reduced during the last recession. The council has until June 30 to approve any proposed changes to the budget.
CA DACA Recipients Celebrate SCOTUS Ruling
Californians without legal residency are celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of DACA. That’s the program that protects some undocumented immigrants from deportation.
New Latthivongskorn was exhausted, but he was all smiles.
“Today is too exciting to go back to sleep.”
He had two reasons to celebrate: his final night-shift training at San Francisco General, and the Supreme Court ruling protecting his temporary legal status.
Latthivongskorn’s parents brought him from Thailand when he was nine. As a DACA recipient, he became the first openly undocumented student at UCSF’s prestigious medical school.
“I’m thrilled that I am going to be able to continue to complete my residency training and be able to take care of communities in the ways I had dreamed of. But this is so much bigger than just about me.”
Now, he hopes the Trump administration will begin accepting new DACA applications. Other advocates are calling on Congress to pass a permanent fix.