This past weekend January 15-18, the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) held their seventh annual Weekend of Action.
Each year the APTP celebrates Martin Luther King Day with a weekend of action, typically culminating in a “March to Reclaim MLK’s Radical Legacy,” on Monday. This year, the march was instead a car caravan traveling from Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland to Oakland District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s home in Alameda.
Several virtual workshops occurred throughout the weekend including a “Know Your Rights to Fight Eviction” workshop led by Causa Justa Just Cause, a Virtual Wailing Ceremony led by Black Women Respond, and a community forum on O’Malley’s decision not to charge the BART police officer, Anthony Pirone, who was holding Oscar Grant face down when Johannes Mehserle shot him in the back. The forum was led by the Oscar Grant Coalition and included prominent activists including Kamau Bell, the family of Emmett Till, Patrisse Cullors of Black Lives Matter, and others.
In response to those who may worry the movement to defund Oakland Police by 50 percent is generating too much us-versus-them-style tension between progressives and police, APTP co-founder Cat Brooks reframes the question entirely. “It was us versus them when they were birthed out of the slave trade — police have never served Black people in this country, ever, so they’ve always made it about us versus them,” she says. “This is us demanding that our humanity be seen and respected.”
The Anti Police-Terror Project finished the weekend and prepared for the Monday caravan with a virtual teach-in as to why they are pushing to defund the Oakland Police Department by 50 percent — and why they believe the fight to do so is following in Martin Luther King’s legacy. While 67 percent of OPD calls do not involve physical violence, weapons, threats to safety, or threats to property, the city spends $330 million on its police force — more than it does on equity programs, economic and workforce development, parks, rec and youth development, libraries, housing, transportation, and human services combined. The 25th highest-paid officer made $289,000 in 2020, according to the teach-in — $137,000 of which was made in overtime pay. These are just some of the reasons why APTP said they will continue fighting to defund the Oakland Police Department.
The caravan had approximately 500 cars participating according to a radio broadcast APTP created for the protest. Along the route, residents of Oakland and Alameda stepped onto their doorsteps applauding and cheering. Several were seen jumping into their own cars to join the protest as well.
The weekend ended as protestors, mostly in cars, gathered around District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s home. Though the event was peaceful, volunteer security working with APTP noticed a man offended by the protest approaching protestors with a rifle. Once the man was noticed organizers quickly ordered protestors to disburse and the event ended peacefully.