Colonizer Borders Come To Oakland

Tiny - Posted on 22 March 2018

Alma Rodriguez/ Voces de Inmigrantes en Resistencia Youth

On Saturday, the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf warned the community of possible ICE operations in the Bay Area. That following Sunday, the federal agency detained people across Northern California and including the Bay Area. Her warning to the immigrant community brought large contervesery throughout the government, including some accusing her of obstruction of justice and treason. What Schaaf did was so deranged in the eyes of the government, even Donald Trump spoke upon her act. “What the mayor of Oakland did the other day was a disgrace," Trump said Thursday (Wootson, 2018).

My name is Alma Rodriguez, a young Latina resident of Oakland, CA who has seen her community evolved greatly over the past couple of years. As a daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico, I respect Mayor Schaaf’s actions of speaking our and warning the entire immigrant community. She put herself at risk by warning the immigrant community about ICE raids knowing she would receive backlash from many. She and her family have received numerous threats because of the warning and she still stands by her actions like a true, strong bay area woman.

However, why hasn't Schaaf come out and spoken about other issues that have been affecting our community before like po’lice brutality, poverty and homelessness. It's Interesting how she is willing to face consequences for speaking out on immigrant rights, but not other issues that mainly affects the lives of black folks in Oakland. A mayor's job is to connect with her community, to communicate any issue that could possibly harm all the residents and keep peace throughout the city, and she is not doing that entirely. Unlike other politicians who grew up with tons of resources around them, Schaaf understands what we poor people of color go through. She has personally seen the oppression and issues that happen in Oakland and have developed in her own neighborhood, but isn't willing to speak upon them. Yes, immigration an important issue in our community, but so is gentrification which is causing poor people of color to become homeless. My own uncle is being kicked out of his home because the rent is too high and he isn't capable of paying it. Hard working people like my uncle deserve better, but change won't be made sadly until people with power like Schaaf speaks on it and brings awareness to the issue.

The Trump Administration also argued that Sanctuary cities are dangerous for Americans because it protects and houses criminal immigrants and that they will sue the Golden State for shielding the undocumented from federal agents. At a conference she held on February 25th she stated, “I am sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents but to protect them. My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents -- particularly our most vulnerable” (Hamedy, 2018). She warned her citizens about a possible treat that was planning to strike a large portion of the California population and that is not illegal. "Regardless of what happens, I felt it was my duty to share the information I had, particularly because I was sharing information that was legal and was not obstructing justice," Schaaf said. (Hernandez, 2018). With all that said, Schaafs attitude continues unchanged. Hopefully, young leaders like myself speakin out on community issues will change Schaaf’s attitude and make her speak and put importance on other problems in Oakland like gentrification and homelessness.


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