Black Lives Matter Stair Art Petition
Upper Rockridge Residents
Dear Upper Rockridge Neighbors,
We hope you will join us in the petition below to make the Black Lives Matter stair art project (started by young adult members of our community), a permanent part of our neighborhood. In light of our neighborhood's past history of racial exclusion (through housing covenants preventing Blacks, Asians and Latinos from settling in the neighborhood), we are working to show the city that there is a community in Upper Rockridge that is committed to taking a stand for Black lives. This petition is the first step in our plan to work with the city, a local artist of color and our community to bring a shared vision to life. You can read more about the project below. We look forward to being in touch regarding next steps for this project. We are no longer maintaining the stairs for community safety but you can visit https://www.theoaklandstairsproject.org for more details.
Julia, Sachi, Elisha and Cara
Upper Rockridge Residents
From: [Your Name]
The neighborhood of Upper Rockridge was created in the early 1900s by developers as a whites-only area, with racial covenants on deeds that forbade them from being sold or rented to Black people or people of color (POC). In the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, the city of Oakland adopted exclusionary zoning laws in many of the city’s mostly white neighborhoods that prevented the construction of apartment buildings, which might rent to low income Black residents or POC. As of 2017, those zoning laws were still in effect, and Upper Rockridge remains a predominantly white neighborhood.
In June, in response to George Floyd’s unlawful death by police, three young adult members of our community chalked a mural to on a stairway between Proctor Ave. and Morpeth St. in Upper Rockridge, with the names of 83 Black lives lost to police violence. Within days, the mural was vandalized with sayings like "criminals" and “Blue lives matter!” or erased completely with water. These young adults redid the mural several times over the course of June and July, a process that takes more than 5 hours to complete.
We, the residents of Upper Rockridge, wish to counteract the neighborhood’s racist history and honor the work and message of these young adults by creating a permanent Black Lives Matter stair art project using a local artist of color who will work with the community to create a vision. We are working with councilman Dan Kalb and the city of Oakland’s Paint The Town program to get this approved and will fundraise, but first, we need your help. Show the city that you approve of this project by signing below, and leave your email if you’d like to get updates on this project or help participate.