No Cages No Curfews


root - Posted on 31 December 1969

Oakland citizens and former felons protest Oaklands new curfews and discrimination in hiring policies

by Laurence Ashton/PNN Youth in Media

" Rent control promotes the slumification of Oakland" We have to get tough on crime by getting tough with criminals" words spoken by govenator Schwarzenegger or former US attorney general Ashcroft? No just Oakland’s own Strong (read: Bully) mayor Jerry Brown. Proving himself to be a fully functioning agent of the racist and classist US government structure. He spewed those kinds of comments out as he faced off revolutionary journalists from POOR Magazine in their now-infamous Art/action :The Tent City installation against gentrification held in 1999 in Oakland’s city hall.

Ever since his first day in office Brown has promised to "get tough on crime" But as all of us who have been at the receiving end of those punitive political agendas whenver they are spoken we can be assured that rampant abuse of civil and human rights will follow

"We are protesting to end the curfew, and to end all forms of discrimation against former prisoners. Jerry Brown needs to see how much discrimination former prisoners face, and needs to stop scapegoating former prisoners for political gain"

Dorsey Nunn from All of us or None spoke at a rally by former prisoners and current parolees held last week at Oakland city Hall in protest to the unjust and arcane curfew imposed in Oakland against people on probation and parole as well as the requirement that job applicants reveal if they have been convicted of a felony.

The City of Oakland’s new curfew policy and its requirement that applicants reveal if they have been convicted of a felony are just two examples of the pervasive discrimination former prisoners face.

Instead of following the recommendations of experts about supporting former prisoners in the journey home, Oakland is doing just the opposite -- imposing curfews and requiring job applicants to reveal past convictions

Before my now homeless father completely lost touch with all hope he tried several times to get employed but that "box" that All of Us or None speaks of has been there for awhile. In his case he tried to get two city maintenance jobs and a rec and parks admin position. His honesty and attempts to come clean got him nowhere.

"The curfew is a house arrest version of prison - once we’re released from prison, we need a chance to readjust to a normal adult life, with equal responsibilities and opportunities as everyone else in the community." Linda Evans also with all of us or none outlined the injustice of the 10 pm-6:00 am curfew which was supported by Oakland police and seems to me

Brown claims that he trying to protect both the former prisoners and the Oakland citizens but that assertion is not proven by recent research such as recent study by the Urban Strategies Council of Oakland that starkly contradicts the Mayor's contention that 80% of those involved in Oakland homicides were on probation or parole. The Report found that in 2004, only 36% of homicide victims and 27% of suspects were on parole or probation.

And of course, its no surprise that Brown is looking to bigger and better punitive positions, i.e., State Attorney General. And responds to the protests by saying that he is actually trying to protect the former prisoners from "roaming the streets and getting their heads blown off"

In the end this is just another example of Browns institutional racism and classism at work in the streets of Oakland, ie trying to "get rid" of low-income Oakland by evicting or incarcerating them or like a protestor said on their eloquent sign No more cages, no more curfews

Laurence Ashton is a graduate of POOR's Youth in Media PRogram and a writer for PNN

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