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The Triumph Over Racist Billboards in Oakland: We Did It Together

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Written by Eveline Shen for RHRealityCheck.org. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post. On behalf of all of us who have worked on the campaign to remove the racist, anti-choice billboards in Oakland, I want to say thank you for all you did. So many of you emailed CBS Outdoor and spread the word about the action that we were able to generate thousands of emails to CBS Outdoor insisting on the removal of the billboards.  At the height of the action, over 500 emails an hour were going into their local and national offices. When the billboards were removed early Monday morning, all of us were relieved, and held our heads high as we walked our own streets. It is critical for us to name and claim Oakland as a place where each woman’s right to access the reproductive health care she needs is preserved, no matter her race, income, or immigration status. We are honored that several elected officials have joined their voices with ours. Congresswoman Barbara Lee reacted with a powerful statement condemning the billboards, and Mayor Jean Quan worked closely with us to ensure CBS Outdoor knew we had the full support of her administration. Our coalition accomplished so much in a few weeks…from reaching out to thousands of supporters, to talking with local and national media, publishing our own OpEds and blog posts, and engaging elected officials. And in the final days of the billboards’ presence on our streets, we took a camera and a microphone and headed out to hear from Black women themselves what the billboards meant to them. These powerful videos were the result. The racist billboards are part of a nationwide effort to wedge communities of color, and divide us from each other. Oakland reacted powerfully, with a unified voice to say, “Not here!” But as we look around the country, we see a different picture. Continue reading....