OAKLAND (KPIX) — The images from the nation’s capital have outraged and appalled many but, here in the Bay Area, local activists can’t stop thinking about how the law enforcement response would’ve been very different if it had been a Black Lives Matter protest.
Oakland has been at the center of numerous demonstrations for the human rights of the Black community.
One of the more prominent activists in the Bay Area said that, while she feels rage, there is also hope.
“If we said we were going to a rally with our leader anywhere in the vicinity of the Capitol we would’ve been met with tanks and AR-15s. We wouldn’t have gotten within 1500 feet of the Capitol,” said Cat Brooks, executive director of Justice Teams Network.
Brooks leads an organization that works to end state violence against Brown and Black communities. As she watched the events unfold at the Capitol, she kept thinking of her 15-year-old daughter.
“In two years, I have to send my baby into the world and what am I sending her into? What am I sending her into?” Brooks asked, blinking back tears.
Criticism of the Capitol police department has been widespread with many asking why the unruly mob was able to quickly gain access to the Senate and House chambers and Capitol offices.
“We know this is unacceptable, we know we should be better than this,” said Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
But despite the disturbing images broadcast across the nation, Brooks believes seeing the threat to America’s democracy on display can be positive.
“Part of me was like good, yay, there it is! There’s the cancer,” Brooks said.
Brooks feels the attack further brought to the surface the racism that has been bubbling in our society and it gives America a chance to face it head on.
“Now we have a choice as a country. Our we going to put a bandaid on a gun shot wound and bury it again or our we going to address this thing that has resurfaced that has been infecting and impacting every facet of our lives as Americans anyway,” Brooks said.
This has motivated the Justice Teams Network to escalate its organizing efforts. Brooks hopes what happened in Washington will actually recruit allies to their cause.