oakland | Not in Our Town


Not in Our Town is pleased to share a video about a Transgender Day of Remembrance event, which took place at Oakland City Hall on November 20, 2013.
Britt Hart, a production intern for Not In Our Town, covered a recent event at Laney College that brought together community and police after a wave of protests in Oakland, CA following no indictment decisions in two fatal police officer killings of unarmed black men, including the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
In November, a high school student wearing a skirt was set on fire on an Oakland, CA city bus. Sasha Fleischman identifies as agender and prefers to go by the pronoun “they.” In the weeks after the hate attack, many conversations ensued about hate and acceptance alongside dialogue about the way we talk about gender. Here, Mazique Bianco explores gender terms directly, pointing to the empathy and compassion in each of us. By Mazique Bianco At a sun-drenched table at a cafe in Oakland, I listen to two people next to me  discussing a hurt they have experienced. I’ve joined their table as a stranger in the packed cafe. I feel an affinity with them. One of the two friends gets up and the person next to me meets my eye. I ask them if they are going through something difficult, and their face breaks open into more softness.
Overwhelming support has poured in for Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, an agender high school student who was set on fire Monday night on an Oakland, CA bus. Police arrested a 16-year-old Oakland student for the immolation, and announced on Thursday that he will be charged as an adult for a hate crime.   Sasha was wearing a skirt at the time of the attack, which friends and family fear may have been the reason Sasha was targeted. The teenage attacker later admitted that he did it because he was “homophobic,”  according to lead police investigator Anwawn Jones. Sasha is currently a high school senior in Berkeley, CA.   In less than a day after the attack, supporters came forward to help Sasha, who sustained third-degree burns and will require massive skin grafting. Update Nov. 14: Show Your Support in Oakland Not In Our Town and Not In Our School will be joining the Rainbow Road march today at 5:30 p.m. We invite all to come forward and support a safe and inclusive community for all.   
  During National Bullying Prevention Month we witnessed countless inspring stories of standing up. Here are two videos that feature the Not In Our School model on the Disney Channel and KPIX in San Francisco.   Disney Channel Showcases Student Upstanders   Now you can tune into the Disney Channel to see an anti-bullying campaign in action!   Students at Sunset Ridge Middle School in Utah covered their campus with Post-it notes that contained messages such as, “Not in our school” and “Stop hate together.” Disney Channel picked up on the activity and is now featuring it as part of their Make Your Mark campaign, reaching nearly 100 million homes in the U.S.   
By Ryan Hunt When the verdict for the Johannes Mehserle trial was read on July 8, 2010, I was in a Critical Thinking class at Laney Community College in Oakland, CA, the city where BART officer Mehserle shot an unarmed black resident, Oscar Grant. The announcement came through the school’s emergency response system and my class was cut short. The college advised students to make plans to get out of downtown Oakland. The involuntary manslaughter verdict was released and protesters took to the streets, which later resulted in vandalism and looting.
"I was a victim and a bully and I could have continued that cycle of violence, but I didn’t. I chose a different path."NIOS Director Becki Cohn-Vargas met teen Melvin Mendez when he contacted her for support around his senior project on bullying at Lighthouse Charter School in Oakland, CA. Over the course of the year, she and Melvin met many times as he planned an ambitious project to research bullying and then proceed to educate his teachers, along with fellow students and parents. She discovered later that she was the first person who heard his story of being bullied, one that not even his mother learned until recently. Now Melvin has begun to train fifth graders at his school. Melvin received a standing ovation when he delivered this speech to afterschool coordinators and teachers at the Bridging the Bay Conference in Oakland, CA on Feb. 2. NIOS table at the Bridging the Bay Conference in February. By Melvin Mendez
Oakland, CA: Last Thursday, July 8, former BART transit officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the Jan. 1, 2009 death of Oscar Grant, an unarmed young African American man. As feared, that night saw rioting, looting, and destruction in the streets of downtown Oakland. And that's where the local media trained their cameras.
 The recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates outside his Cambridge, MA home has sparked a national debate about racial profiling. Yesterday, we took our cameras right outside our office door to Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza, to find out what local residents think about the issues raised by the Gates arrest.     Does racial profiling persist in the United States? What was your response to Gates’ arrest? We want to hear your perspective! Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.        
In the aftermath of the police killing of Oscar Grant and the riots that ensued, Oakland residents are demonstrating the strength in their communities. Here’s a collection of stories from our town showing how Oakland is resisting violence: Oakland School for the Arts Students Participate in Walkout On Friday, January 9, fifty students at Oakland School for the Arts, located in the Fox Theatre in downtown Oakland, mobilized in a walkout. The protesters marched and chanted in resistance to both the execution of Oscar Grant and the continued occupation and active aggression toward Gaza and all of Palestine. The procession moved from OSA, on 19th and Telegraph, to 14th and Broadway, an intersection that has seen much dissent regarding Oscar’s murder. 22-year-old Oakland resident Brandon McFarland reflects on the beauty and the ugliness in his city in this piece for Youth Radio. Audio of Brandon’s commentary, which originally aired on National Public Radio’s “Day to Day”: