(left, Patrick McCullough in 2005, being given a party by a Rockridge family following the shooting of 16 year old Melvin McHenry)
In 2003 George Bush led the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. It is a war that many now agree is an unjust assault on an oil-rich nation that has left massive death, displacement and destruction in a vain attempt to maintain cheap and plentiful gas for the U.S.
In 2005 Patrick McCullough shot his unarmed 16 year old teenaged neighbor, Melvin McHenry as he was coming home from school.
As a black man fronting for the interests of property and white gentrification in the long-standing African community of Bushrod, McCullough’s assault on an African child could be compared on a neighborhood scale to Bush’s aggression against the people of Iraq.
Like the U.S. war, the stance upheld by McCullough represents the arrogant assumption that the “haves” can forever ramrod their interests over the “have-nots” regardless of the human and societal price to the victims.
Like the Bush government’s attempt to seize other people’s oil resources, McCullough represents the white community drive for real estate in what many up until recently believed to be an endless Bay Area housing boom.
As the low interest rates of the early 2000’s fueled a frenzied housing bubble, many white people who were priced out of the trendier Oakland neighborhoods found “bargains” in West and North Oakland areas that have long been African communities.
As the white people move in with renovations, privacy fences and landscaping, they set up vigilante and police organizations such as neighborhood watch to push out and contain the African community, whose incomes are often way below those of the new homeowners.
If the gentrifiers can find a black man like Patrick McCullough to front for this community invasion, all the better.
In Oakland the gap between the more affluent white and the impoverished African communities has deepened and intensified over the past few years. While the top 20 percent of Oakland lives on nearly $100,000 a year, a recent article in the New York Times stated that one fifth of Oakland subsists on less and $15,000, well below the federal poverty level.
While most white children in Oakland expect to go to college and find meaningful and gainful employment, an African child born in Oakland today faces the high probability of poverty, joblessness, prison or early death. There are no bright futures for thousands of Oakland residents on the other end of the gentrification equation.
In the face of the recent “invasion” robberies –the result of deepening poverty and desperation, some politicians are pushing for more and more police.
Clearly, the ever-growing resistance in Iraq should show us that oppression, martial law and containment policies will never make Oakland more secure.
As long as one community continues to live at the expense of another there will be no security, safety or peace in our town. McCullough’s campaign for City Council represents the same oppressive approach as America’s failed war against the Iraqi people.
For security, peace and prosperity in Oakland we need genuine and massive economic development to uplift and stimulate the conditions faced by the entire African community, to give a future to all children and the opportunity to develop their talents, skills and abilities.
Say no to Patrick McCullough, gentrification and injustice on June 3rd.
Say yes to peace the only way peace ever works—peace built on a foundation of social and economic justice and true community solidarity, no one community at the expense of another.
Join the Uhuru Movement, an African working-class led movement for liberation, self-determination and economic and political development for African people in Oakland and worldwide.
Uhuru Solidarity Movement provides and opportunity for white people to come together to participate in righting these long-standing historical wrongs in a country whose wealth is built on slavery and genocide. USM is for white people who find living at the expense of African and oppressed people intolerable.
Oakland must not be the command center for the war against the African community. Let’s make it a model community for the world to emulate.
Election Rally and Community Forum on Thursday, May 29th, 7pm
Humanist Hall, 390 – 27th St., Oakland
For more info 510-625-1106