Collaboration by We Copwatch and Bay Area Intifada,
On Saturday morning, community members, with the blessings of Triangle Park residents, removed a fence put up by the the city just days before. The park is a community space where people mingle, snooze, break bread, play chess and–for some homeless people–can finally rest their feet. The city put up the fence to push park residents and visitors out of the community gathering space, angering park residents, nearby neighbors and other Oaklanders. People are drawing a clear connection between the fence and the city’s ongoing efforts to gentrify Oakland through the displacement, murder and harassment of black, brown and homeless communities.
On the way to the park, a couple of community members talked to Bay Area Intifada about the significance of the fence:
Another community member talked about why we should support the people at the park:
Asians for Black Lives set up a long table and served chicken, pastries, vegetables, oranges and cookies. A large group of people milled and mingled with park residents and frequenters who had been standing along the sidewalk across the street from the park
Shortly after convening, community individuals, families and children quickly began clipping, pulling and bending wires and fence posts. In twenty to thirty minutes, the unwanted eyesore had been pulled down. People smiled, cheered, laughed and talked across the street from the park, glad to see the blight of hostile metal removed and the space reopened. One man victoriously sauntered to a table and reclaimed his space. A neighbor from nearby senior housing walked by and began to hug and thank people.
Sherman, a homeless man who spends a lot of time in the park shared his thoughts:
“Isn’t there a fence around the park on 22nd and MLK?” asked a community members.
“Might as well deal with the other fence,” said another.
Within an hour, the other barrier was removed, children had rolled up the dis-assembled fencing and the community space was reclaimed. A police vehicle rolled by and the community members quietly went their separate ways.