The following is a personal perspective from Patrice O’Neill, executive producer of The Working Group. This week, just outside our office doors, hundreds of young people ran through the streets of downtown Oakland smashing windows and stomping on cars. The so-called “riot” was prompted by the killing of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old African American man who was shot to death by a white Bay Area Rapid Transit system police officer. Several witnesses captured the killing on their cell phone cameras. They show Oscar Grant face down on the ground, surrounded by police officers. Officer Johannes Mehserle appears to pull out his gun and shoot Oscar Grant in the back. KTVU’s local news report features video of the police shooting. And check out an insightful take on the protests and riots on 38th Notes, an Oakland blog.
January 11, 2009 - 9:00pm
January 6, 2009 - 9:00pm
At the height of the holiday season, community members in Richmond and neighboring cities came together to show support for the survivor of a brutal hate crime. On December 27, over 150 people gathered for a candlelight vigil held for a woman who was gang raped by four men. The victim, an openly gay 28-year-old woman, was assaulted on the evening of December 13. Upon leaving her car, which had a rainbow sticker on the license plate, the woman was struck with a blunt object and repeatedly raped by the four men. Throughout the 45-minute attack, the attackers made remarks about the victim’s sexual orientation. The attack ended when they forced her out of her car and drove away, leaving her naked by a burned-out apartment complex. Last week, police arrested four suspects, two adults and two teenagers, in this case. The four men have been charged with kidnapping, gang rape, and car jacking. Hate crime enhancements have also been brought against one of the assailants.
December 17, 2008 - 9:00pm
Check out our latest Not In Our Town video about the “March on Palo Alto!” Residents of East Palo Alto and Palo took to the streets and marched against racial profiling last November, calling for change in the way police treat communities of color. Stay updated with the latest videos by The Working Group and Not In Our Town by subscribing to our YouTube channel!
December 17, 2008 - 9:00pm
As a Resident Assistant (RA) at Okada, Stanford’s Asian American ethnic-themed dorm, Takeo Rivera helped raise awareness about campus acts of intolerance after his dorm was the subject of an anti-Asian backlash in the spring of 2007. Here’s some excerpts from the interview. These predominantly white fraternities would pass by Okada and would shout various things. They would shout in mock Asian accents things like “F— Okada,” Azia Kim this, Azia Kim that. Each time I would sort of pursue them and tell them to disperse and eventually they would. And in this third incident, someone urinated on the lawn of the dorm and someone shouted, “Put that away, they don’t want to see any non-Asian (expletive) here.” I was able to recognize specific individuals in the group and I knew what fraternity they belonged to, so I was able to pursue that further. The problem, though, was that at Stanford, while we have sort of a working definition for acts of intolerance, there was no protocol to follow at the time, procedurally, to confront these acts of intolerance.
December 11, 2008 - 9:00pm
Three Mountain View teenagers were arrested for committing a hate crime, among other charges, after the teens allegedly yelled racial slurs and threatened to kill four 11-year-old Latino boys. The three white teenagers, two 15-year-old boys and one 14-year-old boy, were shouting racially offensive statements about Mexicans to the four Latino youth from inside their house, according to statements made by the victims to the police. After the two groups started arguing, the suspects came out of the house carrying a BB gun. The suspects, who are all students at Mountain View High School, allegedly continued to make hateful remarks and threatened to kill the victims with their weapon. This incident is the second potential hate crime to hit Mountain View recently. Spanish-language signs put up by one of the local school districts were stolen, defaced, and re-posted in late October with the words “No More Aliens.” Police have been unable to definitively determine if the vandalism constitutes a hate crime, but school officials are stepping up their efforts to ensure their signs are safe.