Monday, November 7, 2016
BAMBD Calls for a Town Hall Meeting: Toward Non-Violence in the Black Arts Movement Business District along the 14th Street corridor
When I taught at Fresno State University, 1969, I thought my life was in danger when Gov. Ronald Reagan told the State College Board of Trustees, "Get Marvin X off campus by any means necessary!" I had bodyguards everyday I taught at FSU. At 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, I have no bodyguards except the people who watch every thing I do. They watch how I treat the people, how I talk to the mentally ill and others. They listen to the sound of my voice. "My grandson informed me, 'Grandpa, you really are a nice person. And you're very funny too!" FYI, I am heart broken at the violence in the BAMBD. My classroom has been the center of protests at 14th and Broadway, e.g., Oscar Grant, Occupy Oakland, police violence and other issues. I was not prepared to get tear gassed a few minutes after the Marine was shot in the head by police at 14th and Broadway. I am too old for this, I told myself as I took refuge in Burger King, but the tear gas followed us inside. A child was coughing and puking from the tear gas. And this ain't war? --Marvin X
Even before and since January 19, when the Oakland City Council made official the BAMBD, violence has revealed its ugly head to test our dream of a sacred space for our cultural survival and thrival. We have appealed repeatedly to City Council President Lynette McElhaney to fly the Universal African flag as an expression of cultural consciousness. Even after Madam Mayor Libby Schaaf was made aware of our request to fly the Red, Black and Green throughout the BAMBD and asked Madam President about the delay, banners yet fly to inspire North American Africans in Oakland to be their better selves. In the past, we have talked about Gay Pride in San Francisco and how their flag flies along Market Street to the Castro, their cultural district. People are careful not to be disrespectful in the Castro. Homophobia is not tolerated. Symbols go a long way to letting people know they are in a sacred space.