Lakeview Sit-In: From the Eyes of a Student (VIDEO)
In June 2012, I was lucky enough to participate in the Lakeview School Sit In that began on June 15th. In a final attempt to stop the city of Oakland from closing Lakeview Elementary school (as well as 4 other schools scheduled for closure), parents, teachers and students led a community act of civil disobedience in the form of a peaceful, 24hr a day sit-in. For some background information, you can read my write up from June on Fog City Journal.
What happened here was one of the most beautiful things I have ever had the honor to be a part of. We saw community members from all over Oakland come and show their support, in the forms of volunteering, donating food, teaching the kids, preparing meals, and organizing classes, marches and rallies. There was a movie night, multiple marches, rallies, a community BBQ, among other things. We saw an outpouring of support from local businesses, displaying “We Support the Lakeview Sit In” signs in their windows.
The People’s School for Public Education was born, a free summer school program, organized and run by community volunteers and parents, which had up to 25 children per day participating in classes such as social justice, gardening and art.
In the early morning hours of July 3rd, the Oakland Unified School District Police arrived at the school, demanded the tents be taken down, and that everyone leave immediately. The few parents who refused to leave were arrested, and released later that morning.
When the kids arrived for the People’s School that day, we had set it up across the street in the park. The children were worried about the parents that had been taken to jail, and we spent the first hours of the morning reassuring them that everyone was ok. I spent a lot of time with one of the students that day, and we hatched an idea. Since I had been around for a few weeks, with all my cameras, he had taken a keen interest in the work that I was doing. Always curious and asking questions about how the equipment worked, I suggested perhaps he might like to spend the day using the cameras and getting some coverage from his point of view. I passed him my cameras, and set him off. Myles filmed and took photos that day until ALL the batteries for all the cameras were dead.
After the raid, and in the few weeks that followed, I never got the chance to sit down with Myles and do the editing portion of his footage that we had planned to do. The idea was that we would edit it together, and then release it to the public, so that everyone would know the story of the Lakeview Sit In.
The time I spent with the children at Lakeview were some of my best, and most memorable moments of 2012.
I hope you enjoy Myles’ work, please share.