Dear Mayor Schaaf:
We reach out to you as organizations working closely with the people of Oakland – particularly with low income communities of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, low wage workers, LGTBQ neighbors, unsheltered people, and people who were formerly incarcerated. Our communities are the ones impacted first and worst by climate chaos – including the hazardous air quality we are currently facing.
We urge you to immediately declare a state of emergency for the City of Oakland and to mobilize all available city resources to support vulnerable communities. This includes:
*Mass mask distribution. Mask Oakland volunteers and supporting organizations have already purchased and distributed over 30,000 masks and tens of thousands more are on order. The city should work with them on purchasing and supporting distribution.
*Make air-filtered public spaces – including the Kaiser Convention Center, libraries, senior centers and shelters – open 24/7 for unsheltered neighbors and people who can’t afford air purifiers.
*Encourage all employers, including the City of Oakland, to ensure the safety of those who work outside, including allowing vulnerable workers to take the day off and sending out mass communications reminding workers of their rights to paid sick time under Oakland’s law.
*Partner with Oakland Unified School and Peralta Community College district to open auditoriums and cafeterias 24/7 for unsheltered neighbors.
*Ensure that air filtration systems for schools, community centers and libraries are updated and increase level of filtration to account for future air emergencies.
*Call on state and federal representatives to bring relief funds to Oakland and the Bay Area.
While we must react to this moment as the immediate crisis that it is, we recognize that Oakland is already in the midst of a housing affordability and homelessness crisis, which has been well-documented by the United Nations.
We call on the city to address the housing crisis as a critical action on climate resiliency by using public land for permanently affordable housing and to require all future developments to include affordable housing with higher standards on air filtration.
Also, Oakland residents living in the flatlands of East and West Oakland, Fruitvale and Chinatown, already experience far greater rates of asthma, cancer, respiratory illness, and diabetes, illnesses resulting from an unhealthy polluted environment and an extractive economy.
We also recognize that climate chaos has been caused by bad decision making, poor planning and extractive energy-systems that value profit over people. We urge the city to:
*Tell California leaders to protect Californians’ health & way of life by keeping California’s oil in the ground.
*Support a clean energy future with local renewable energy resources that are democratically controlled.
We look forward to working with the City of Oakland.
Please contact Rev Damita Davis-Howard at [email protected] with any immediate questions.
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO
AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Causa Justa Just Cause
Communities for a Better Environment
Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice
East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy
East Oakland Building Healthy Community
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights
IFPTE Local 21
Oakland Climate Action Coalition
Oakland Peace Center
Oakland Rising & Oakland Rising Action
The Original Scraper Bike Team
SEIU Local 1021
SEIU United Service Workers West
UNITE HERE! Local 2850
CC: Oakland City Council
If your organization would like to sign into this letter, please leave a comment on our Facebook Page
Please also promote the Bay Resistance petition for individuals to sign –bit.ly/needmask