Over the past few days, protesters on both sides of the Bay have joined thousands nationally in expressing outrage over George Zimmerman’s acquittal in Florida. Over the weekend, more than 500 people gathered at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza.
While some violence and vandalism broke out on Saturday night, Sunday’s demonstration was mostly peaceful. Protesters rallied, then marched through residential neighborhoods in West Oakland, buoyed by car honks and cheers from bystanders. One group of soccer players even broke up their game to join the march.
Emeka Okbama is one of those who joined spontaneously.
"We are playing soccer. But the way I felt, I have to join the rally. There’s no way I can play soccer and see something like this going on. I don’t want anybody to kill my son," said Okbama.
Oakland is one of the country’s most diverse cities, and the march reflected that. Abdel Malik Ali is a member of East Oakland’s African-American Muslim community. He said he saw the case as an opportunity to build a bigger movement.
"It’s waking up another generation. It’s waking up another generation of African-American youth. Already the Muslim community is being woken up with this atmosphere of Islamaphobia. But now we have a situation like this, you have Black youth starting to wake up," said Malik.
Oakland resident Carol Jones was fearful for her children.
"It’s like I’m scared, I don’t want him to go nowhere. I fear for his life. I’m very overprotective. I have a 23-year-old and I harbor him too. People tell me to let go and let God -- I understand that, but if I slip one time, that might be his time," said Jones.