Posted below is our most recent update on Dewey. We published it a couple weeks ago on the Oakland Local blog. It’s not fully up to date at this point since it’s missing our most recent actions including our BBQ on Monday, 7/28. Still it’s worth posting for our archives here and so everyone can get an idea of the ongoing nature of our work around Dewey and gentrification within OUSD.
Stopping Gentrification in OUSD:
Update from Struggle to Stop Displacement of Dewey and Privatization of Public Land
By Aram Mendoza and N. Finch
Since we last wrote about the potential development deal that would potentially displace Dewey Academy and sell off public land, we’ve witnessed an inspiring awareness and mobilization among the OUSD community. At each of the two relevant board meetings that happened last week, the 7-11 meeting and OUSD school board, students, educators, and community members came out to speak against the proposed development deal that would privatize public land. Below we outline a brief update on each meeting and review the major problems of this attempt to privatize public space in Oakland. Throughout this piece we put forth a vision of how we should approach the key issues in this process.
Specifically, we call for:
- Public land to remain under public control; No privatization of public land.
- Parent, staff, student, and community should decide OUSD policy.
- The OUSD admin and the school board should become community activists and fight for taxes on property developers, corporations, and the port, rather than resorting to short-term privatization schemes.
7-11 Meeting, Community Response and Colonial Analogies
On Monday, June 23rd, the 7-11 Committee convened its third meeting in order to advise the school board on whether or not Dewey Academy should be considered “surplus property” and thereby offer it up to luxury condo developers as a saleable/leaseable parcel of land. While OUSD so poorly promoted attendance at previous 7-11 meetings that no more than four or five community members showed up, this one had over 30 educators, students and parents from Dewey, joined by a handful of concerned community members.
The fact that educators and students were able to quickly get the word out and mobilize the community, without any outreach support from OUSD, demonstrates the strong opposition to the OUSD administration’s plans to privatize the public land that Dewey rests on. The grouping of educators, students and community members put up signs around the room that read, “Schools Not Condos,” “Dewey is not Surplus,” “Not One Inch of Public Land for Private Developers,” and other messages that clearly took a clear stand against the administration’s move to privatize public space.