Rallying for the Black Friday 14 and Jobs Not Jails

"Jobs, Not Jails" was the chant of the crowd of approximately 40 community members and faith leaders who gathered at the Alameda County Administration building in Oakland on Tuesday, January 20th.

During the rally, people filled the Board of Supervisors' office to demand more county funding for jobs, education, healthcare, and housing. The participants also expressed their support of the #BlackFriday14 BART protestors, and urged the Alameda County District Attorney to drop the criminal charges against them.

The rally was organized by the Ella Baker Center as part of our 50% for Jobs Not Jails campaign, which asks the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to allocate half of their public safety budget towards community-based programs and services that prioritize employment, healthcare, housing, and restorative justice initiatives.

Right now, the proposed budget suggests giving more than half of the county's public safety realignment funds to the sheriff. During the rally, Executive Director Zachary Norris and Local Organizers Maria Dominguez and Darris Young called for an end to the sheriff's slush fund and more transparency about how the allocated funds are being spent.

Formerly incarcerated community members like Tyan Bowens shared stories of struggling to find housing after being released from prison. Faith leaders like Reverend Jacqueline Duhart from the First Unitarian Church of Oakland echoed Bowens' concerns, expressing that there is a lack of resources for job training and housing.

Reverend Duhart emphasized that all people have a right to have a life, and that the people of Alameda County should have a say in how the county's funds are spent. The crowd included congregants of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, students, and members of Black Lives MatterCausa Justa, and Oakland Rising.

Supervisor Wilma Chan spoke with the community members present and expressed her support for allocating more funding for community programs and services. Aides to Supervisor Keith Carson and Supervisor Richard Valle, as well as Health Care Services Agency Director Alex Briscoe, also listened to the concerns of the crowd.

While exiting the building, the crowd chanted "We'll be back," indicating their intention to keep the pressure on the Board of Supervisors until they vote on the budget in mid February. 

Please sign our petition and tell the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to prioritize employment, education,healthcare, housing, and restorative justice initiatives to help advance community safety and reduce recidivism.