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Staff Editorial: Ferguson and Oakland: What do we do?

On Aug. 9, eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least six times by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting has brought on a lot of attention and emotions, ranging from anger to shock to disappointment.

In fact, some people believe that these events in Ferguson have been talked about “too much.” However,  The Campanil believes that this conversation holds a great amount of urgency, especially at Mills College, and even more so as Mills is located in Oakland.

The shooting of Mike Brown and its aftermath of protests is all too familiar in our city of Oakland. It displays a disturbing trend of police brutality, racial profiling and racism in the United States, especially in Oakland. In a survey done by the  Oakland Police Department earlier this year, 62 percent of people stopped by police were Black, though Black people represent only 28 percent of Oakland’s population.

The deaths of Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford and the many men of color shot by police each day only further proves that there is an obvious racial disparity that needs to be discussed. The noose placed on one of the trucks from Oakland Public Works used by Black workers on Aug. 26 shows that matters like this one and countless others cannot be ignored.

In fact, the infamous comment published on the Mills College Confessions page last semester about Black women, along with the Black Women’s Collective’s silent protest on the Rothwell Center’s steps right after, shows that we, as a community, have a long way to go. Mills College stakes its reputation for its inclusiveness and care for social justice, yet such a comment and its chain of events implies the opposite, especially for women of color.

There are a lot of questions to be asked: What can we do to break down these oppressive walls on our campus? What kind of questions should we be asking? What conversations should we be having here? No matter how many conversations we have, will they matter at the end of the day?

Some editors felt that voting in the city’s elections was one of the steps to make a change within our community, while other editors felt that we should take more action than just voting. In order for us to actively take a part in this community, we must feel and know that we are a part of it. We must know that our experiences are valid and meaningful when explaining our thoughts. Importantly, we must come into these conversations being open and honest – on both ends and with ourselves when it comes to injustices.

The Campanil knows that there is a conversation that must be held – not just for what has occurred in Ferguson, but for what is occurring in Oakland and in the place we seek our higher education: Mills College.

For this conversation to occur, many of us must acknowledge the ugly truths within these matters. The conversation between our peers will not be pretty or clear-cut, but it is one that is necessary for us to  actively begin making a difference here.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this editorial, as well as the version that appears in our print edition, incorrectly stated that 62 percent of Black people were stopped by police, according to a OPD survey; instead, it should have stated that 62 percent of people stopped by police were Black.