Unless you’ve been living under some sort of news-proof, all lives matter rock recently, you’ll be aware that people of color have been facing increasing problems with not only the police but people who feel the need to call the police for nonsensical reasons.
On April 29, a black family were setting up by the lake when an unidentified white woman approached them and called the police because they were using a charcoal grill in a ‘none-charcoal grill‘ area.
A witness posted a video of the altercation on Twitter and YouTube, and it subsequently went viral. @ajwftw tweeted:
“So today I’m at Lake Merritt and minding my Black a– business. As I finish my jog (Let’s be real, fast walk) I notice this white woman being really aggressive towards the Black Guy. I’m nosey so I stop to observe. Turns out, she is harassing him about bbq’ing on the lake….where everyone bbqs.”
Two weeks after a white woman called the police, area residents threw a massive cookout in the same park, flooding the area with music, food, dancing and unity.
In direct response to the incident, Oakland residents staged a huge party and grill in the exact same location at Lake Merritt Park. Videos taken at Lake Merritt on Thursday show people jumping rope, picnicking and even doing the electric slide while enjoying the public space and some good eats.
One resident, Michael Swanson Jr posted a video of the party to Facebook, with the caption: ‘This is how we feel about mad a– Oakland gentrifiers:
Other people posted footage on Twitter, proving that the party went on all night. Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney was one of many who decried the incident as blatant racism.
Talking to Huffington Post she said, “Police are not private security for any white person that’s offended by the presence of black folks in our public spaces.”
Many have shared the sentiment that they hope the party will continue all summer, even wishing for it to happen every week until people understand black people aren’t going anywhere or doing anything wrong. This is only one of the latest public examples of the cops being called on black people doing everyday things.
Last week, someone called the police on a Yale University student who was napping in her dormitory’s common area. Last month, two black men were arrested at a Starbucks cafe for “trespassing.” A granddaughter of Reggae legend Bob Marley also recently said police harassed her as she was leaving an Airbnb.
The writer Dystopian Scribe, @MsKellyMHayes, summed it up pretty well tweeting “As someone who’s been pleading with folks to stop calling 911 over every little thing for years, I just want to make sure we’re completely real about something in the current dialogue: Calling the cops over every little thing is a gentrification tactic.” Try not to call the police for a problem that can be solved by putting in earphones and minding your own business.