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On Friday, June 16, as soon as she heard that the cop who murdered Philando Castile was acquitted, 16-year-old Lucy Siale posted on Facebook a call for a Black Lives Matter protest the next day, less than 24 hours after the verdict, at Oscar Grant Plaza outside Oakland City Hall. About 400 people came out. We have to continue because saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t enough. We have to act like it.
As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
Coyote Acabo caught a felony assault case in July of 2015 during a Black Lives Matter protest while defending a comrade who was put in a chokehold by a white inebriated man enraged that his good time country music show was interrupted by a group of cacophonous, banner-bearing protesters. The Bay View met Coyote years ago when he was locked up in Nevada and sent us one of his brilliant commentaries on the evils of imprisonment. We rejoiced with him when he was released and ask readers to support him now as he’s locked up for doing the right thing. Donate what you can at https://rally.org/supportcoyoteacabo.
The recent deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, at the hands of state-sanctioned violence are additional tragedies in an endless list of Black victims, and a reminder that premature Black death continues to take center stage in the Black narrative. With our heads in our hands and our eyes swollen, we keep asking, when will Black lives matter? White silence about these atrocities is almost as dangerous as the hand that pulls the trigger.
Today we are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters across the United States and around the world in response to the recent police killings of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless other victims of state violence to say that “Black lives matter.” While it should be implicit that all lives matter, communities in recent days have risen up to reinforce the fact that Black and Brown human beings have an equal place on this earth, because often times it feels that we do not.