Yesterday in Oakland, sleeping women woke up to battering rams and dozens of sheriff’s deputies in riot gear. The women’s act of civil disobedience, to protest unjust practices that have made it impossible for thousands of people to find a home, was met with outsized force too often visited upon people of color engaging in peaceful protest.
No matter where you stand on the tactics used by the coalition, we should all be outraged at today’s events. Outraged at the circumstances and systemic breakdown that have led this group of women and their families to be pushed to this type of action. Outraged at the unnecessary use of force to extract a group seeking safe and secure housing. Outraged at the juxtaposition of Oakland residents unable to secure affordable housing with absentee investors holding a home vacant while engaged in speculation and profit seeking.
At the San Francisco Foundation we believe that all people should be able to live in homes they can afford in neighborhoods where they feel they belong. The efforts of Moms 4 Housing are a painful reminder of the dire situation that thousands of people across the Bay Area face every day. They shine a bright light on city officials and law enforcement’s dangerous and intolerable reactions to efforts to peacefully protest unfair and unjust laws, a bedrock of civil rights strategies and one with deep history in Oakland.
We have to find a way to solve these complex and interconnected challenges. The San Francisco Foundation supports grassroots movements advocating for change and we are partnering with organizations, leaders, and companies to address the Bay Area’s housing challenge.
While we are working on solutions, we recognize that for those in need, a decent place to sleep and an affordable place to call home cannot come fast enough. We call on all our leaders to stand up and reject these unfair and divisive tactics and come together to find real solutions.