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The People's House: Opening of Resource Center Kicks Off MLK Weekend in Oakland

An activist group in Oakland is kicking off a weekend-long celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. by opening the doors to their own community resource building.

“The ninth annual reclaiming MLK weekend is in full effect,” said Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP).

The community gathered for a Native American blessing ceremony Friday to mark the opening of The People’s House, a community resource building run by the activist group APTP.

“I hope we will be able to meet their needs in ways that the city and the state does not. I hope that they will take ownership of this space and help define what it is supposed to be. We hope to be respite for our most vulnerable folks,” said Brooks.

Their west Oakland location is an important one as the birthplace of the Black Panthers. APTP, who promotes a non-police response and mental health first approach to address issues, plans to offer free counseling, food resources, regular health clinics and more, at the new center. 

“Without health there is no justice,” said Guadalupe Chavez, healers network manager of APTP. “So, what does that mean for our families that have been impacted by state violence, police violence, poverty, we replicate the violence that we were taught, that we are born into and I think that’s one of the root causes.”

Friday’s kickoff marks the start of a series of weekend events that will include in-person and virtual trainings, film screenings and healing workshops.

“We realize that our struggles are intertwined forever and that no one is free until there is justice for all,” said Corrina Gould, co-founder of the Indian People Organizing for Change. 

It will culminate with a march Monday to Oscar Grant Plaza. Brooks says their goal is to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy. 

“We have been sold a version of who he was but the truth is that King was an interrupter of business as usual, King was a revolutionary,” siad Brooks. 

And like the name on the building, Brooks hopes The People’s House will grow with the community overtime. 

“Building a more just, equitable, safe, community for all of us,” she said.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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