OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Work at the West Coast’s second largest commercial port ground to a halt Friday, as thousands of dockworkers walked off their jobs and joined truck drivers, local dignitaries, labor and community leaders in a march to Oakland’s City Hall protesting police brutality and systemic racism.
Several thousand protesters gathered at the Port on Friday morning. For eight hours in the first shift, the cranes and the machinery at all 29 ports on the West Coast will remain silent. Among those joining the marchers were Angela Davis, Boots Riley and Danny Glover.
“We built this country and we need to be recognized in this country,” said Sean Graham, a member of ILWU Local 10.
“It’s time that labor put its labor where its mouth is,” ILWU Local 10 President Trent Willis added.
Prior to the march Port of Oakland Board President Ces Butner denounced social injustice and supported the protesters.
“There’s no question that we stand behind the Black Lives Matter movement,” he said in a statement. “We want this country to live up to what it’s supposed to be.”
Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and went info effect, a Union general in Galveston, Texas announced to the people there the end of slavery. That date was June 19th 1865.
Willis said more than 150 years later, they are still fighting for equality.
“We’re still not free. If we’re not free to walk the streets without getting killed by law enforcement, then we’re not free. If the wealth gap disproportionately, negatively affects African Americans, then we’re still not free. If we don’t have adequate access to health care, then we are still not free.”