The city of Oakland once again found itself in the middle of an international story concerning race and diversity inclusion.
The Alt-Right Plan To Visit Oakland
On July 20, Oakland residents were shocked when local drinking establishment Make Westing issued a statement (via social media) that it believed that the Alt-Right conservative group the Proud Boys were planning a happy hour meet up on Monday July 23 at its Oakland bar.
At once, numerous local community groups organized to counter this planned meet up by turning the evening into a celebration of diversity and racial inclusion. To augment this point, the owners of Make Westing sent out a plea to the residents of Oakland to come to the bar on the 23rd to help support the planned diversity inclusion events and protest the Proud Boys. Although the Proud Boys would issue denials (after the fact) stating that they had no plans of coming to Oakland, residents and business owners still continued with their plans to counter the Alt-Right. This was logical since almost every encounter between the Alt-Right and Alt-Left (our term) led to violence and property destruction during the infamous “Free Speech” fistfights in Berkeley. Therefore, residents had every reason to believe that any event in Oakland organized by the Alt-Right would end up the same.
Plans were made.
People held their breath.
The local media ignored the story, as usual.
Then Nia Wilson was murdered.
Nia Wilson Murder
Around 9pm on Sunday night the call came in from BART dispatch directing every BART police officer in the East Bay to head to the MacArthur BART station in Oakland.
BART officers in the station reported that two young women were attacked by a white male and were bleeding from the neck. The officers attempted to render aid while directing BART dispatch to have medical aid arrive on scene quickly. As it just so happens, Oakland police was able to dispatch numerous officers to the station to help BART due to the fact OPD was at the scene of a double homicide “near” the station (more on that later).
Despite their best efforts, paramedics were unable to save the life of one of the victims on the platform (Ms. Nia Wilson), with her sister (who was also attacked) being transported to the hospital with serious injuries.
Somehow the attacker, who ran out the station, got away.
All of this happened within the span of 45 minutes on a Sunday night.
About 4 hours after her death, the Internet would blame her attack on the actions of the Alt-Right. And, as it just happened, the Alt-Right was allegedly planning to visit Oakland the night after Ms.
The Perfect Storm was brewing…
Eventually, Ms. Wilson’s attacker would be located and arrested (more on that later). During the evening of the 23rd, over 1000 protestors would march from the scene of Ms. Wilson’s murder (the MacArthur BART station) to Make Westing in the Uptown. With the goal of disrupting any planned meeting by the Alt-Right at the Oakland establishment. However, what the protestors didn’t know is that Make Westing was taken over by numerous community groups earlier in the day to protest the Alt-Right. For the record, the Alt-Right didn’t show up.
Was The Bay Area Trolled?
First, the Proud Boy/Alt-Right situation:
The Proud Boys stated they never planned to meet at Make Westing for the so-called July 23 Happy Hour. Based on our research, this seems to be correct.
We heard rumors about an Alt-Right meet up in Oakland (they’ve met before in Oakland), but the first time we heard the Proud Boys name mentioned was from Make Westing. This was a little shocking to us because it seemed that everyone took a random post from Reddit discussing a possible meet-up for people with “conservative views” and morphed it into “the Proud Boys are coming to Oakland to create violence and target minorities.”
Not surprisingly, after the murder of Nia Wilson, the Proud Boys Bay Area Chapter came out officially to denounce the murder of Ms. Wilson and quickly distanced itself from the so-called planned meet up in Oakland. However, it was clear that some meet up by the Alt-Right was planned, but the authors of the original planned meet up could see that Oakland was out looking for payback after the death of Nia Wilson, so to this day the original author of the planned meet up has gone into hiding.
The Nia Wilson Situation
Before BART police could release the identity of her murderer, social media (while the majority of Bay Area residents were still asleep) labeled it an organized killing by the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right was coming to Oakland the night before Ms. Wilson was murdered? So, at a high-level, the loose connection was there, but it was wrong.
To date, no motive was ever released by law enforcement, and we may never know the motive and no Alt-Right group has claimed credit for the attack.
It’s still early in the investigation, but we think that just like the Proud Boys situation, people misused social media to stoke an irrational fear and reaction from the populace.
Just like Russia did during the previous Presidential election.
We’re not saying the Russians planted false stories via the Internet to start trouble in the Bay Area (everyone knows the Bay Area needs no help from the Russians in this regard). All we’re saying is someone out there is going to get a PhD using this situation in a thesis someday, comparing it to the larger misuse of the Internet by foreign nationals to help stoke fear, anger, and hysteria.
The REAL Issue Everyone Is Ignoring (Part 1)
Local media reported that BART police, at the Pleasant Hill BART station, the day after the murder, arrested the murderer of Ms. Wilson.
Although this story is true, the real story is BART police did not catch the murderer.
He was caught after BART riders (one an African-American female we believe) recognized the criminal on a BART train.
What the African-American community is asking is how does a white man murder a young African-American lady at a BART station and get back into the system the next day-without BART police or its employees recognizing him?
How long was he riding BART trains before he was identified?
Although BART police were monitoring the MacArthur BART station the day after the attack, somehow he still managed to not only get back into the system, but also got onboard a train-without wearing a disguise.
If he was Black, would BART police response been different in apprehending him?
These are serious questions that the BART Board of Directors and local politicians need to answer.
For the record, we respect the current BART Police Chief, he has always treated us with respect, but we don’t see how he keeps his job after this.
The REAL Issue Everyone Is Ignoring (Part 2)
Literally minutes before Nia Wilson was murdered, Oakland Police received reports of two bodies in a home on the 1700 block of Adeline Street in West Oakland.
Oakland Police stated that both were victims of a homicide.
Did you hear about this?
And that’s a problem.
In our eyes, two people being killed in their home, with no suspects or witnesses, is just as tragic and disturbing as the Nia Wilson murder.
Sadly, as of this writing, four people have been murdered on the streets of Oakland since the attack on Ms. Wilson.
Although the Nia Wilson murdered happened at an Oakland BART station, BART is a legally separate entity, so individuals using her murder in Oakland to attack the city are incorrect. However, individuals using her murder as platform for protesting violence and ignoring the other recent murders in the Bay Area (not just Oakland) are just as wrong.
Apparently The New Oakland Doesn’t Know Its History Or Have A Desire To Learn About The Past
If we didn’t witness it firsthand, we would of called you all liars.
During the protests at Make Westing on the 23rd, numerous new residents to Oakland (all white, young, and since they live in the Uptown we can assume affluent due to the high rents in the area) stated they didn’t agree with the Nia Wilson protests stating: “It was too much” and the “people should just let the police do their job.”
Numerous protestors would state to us stories of run-ins with the “New Oakland” who didn’t even seem to realize what happened on BART the night before or the situation with Make Westing.
We’re not sure what to make of these various comments, but its clear that on a micro level some individuals who move to Oakland have no understanding of the social activism history of the city.
I remember one young lady (who was White) asking me “what is all this Oakanda stuff about?” referring to the outdoor Oakanda art exhibit in Old Oakland.
It seems to us that the “New Oakland” only wants to live in Oakland to drink beer, rider electrical scooters around downtown, eat at high-priced restaurants, and call the police on African-Americans playing drums or cooking meat on a grill. When it comes to learning about the social activism history of Oakland, all you hear from them is silence.
“New Oakland” isn’t necessarily white or rich, in our mind we view “New Oakland” as new residents to the city who have no social activism desire-unless you park in their parking spot by accident.
However, we have been covering the “Gentrification War” in Oakland for the past few years, and even we call feel the tension between both groups in Oakland beginning to bubble to the surface.
Local Media Fumbles The Ball
Local media didn’t want to touch the proposed visit by the Alt-Right to Oakland. Many members of the press feel that they are often targets by both the Alt-Right and Alt-Left at these events and had no desire of attending.
And they are often attacked at this event, but to be fair, news trucks were also “attacked” during the Golden State Warriors parade.
However, it was local Oakland news station KTVU that would throw a live hand grenade into a burning house made of wood. For reasons they have yet to explain, KTVU decided to publish a controversial photo of Ms. Wilson after her death. Although KTVU would apologize later, the damage was done with many community members accusing the news station of trying to “criminalize” the former Ms. Wilson and dehumanize her death.
Like we said, “New Oakland” doesn’t know its history.
If the new KTVU news director knew her history, she would have realized that local media has always been under attack by the community ever since the 1960s with the Black Panthers, the 2000s during the Gulf War Protests, and the Oscar Grant and Occupy Oakland Protests. The fact that KTVU is a member of the hated Fox Corporation did not help matters.
To the African-American community the actions of KTVU brought back bad memories of local news stations trying to criminalize Oscar Grant, as if to justify his murder at the hands of BART police while handcuffed. And it seemed that KTVU was trying to justify the murder of Nia Wilson.
To date, there have been no firings at KTVU, but local scuttlebutt seems to imply that it’s only a matter of time before some terminations are ordered.
To be continued…