One month ago today, Libby Schaaf became Oakland’s 50th mayor. The Inauguration Ceremony was pure Oakland. She rode into office in a Burning Man snail car; she was met at the Paramount Theater by sharp dressed protesters and journalists. (I would like to think that I was both a sharp dressed protester and a journalist, but those days have probably passed me by.)
When I photographed the Inauguration Ceremony, I felt “cautiously ambivalent.” There was an odd tension between the protesters and the newly elected officials. The elected officials were probably more optimistic. They invited their children and parents onstage during their speeches. Inauguration day is full of hope. (Did the new board members realize that they had become part of The Establishment?)
I could have photographed the protesters all day. The heightened tension combined with intense visual imagery. The bright colorful walls and stoicism emphasized contradictions. (Additionally, one recently re-elected city council member appeared to protest her own inauguration.)
Desley Brooks is now my Oakland City Council person after recent redistricting. She was re-elected to a fourth term in November.
Annie Campbell-Washington was my OUSD School Board Member before the recent redistricting. She was elected to the City Council in November.
Libby Shaaf’s introduction lasted for an entire week with “Made in Oakland” events. Governor Jerry Brown, a former Oakland Mayor, attended Libby’s Inaugural Festival at American Steel Studios and saw the snail car.
As I have been preparing this post, I remembered when I moved to Oakland and when I first met the current Governor. He was gracious at a time when I was more concerned about just trying to make it in Oakland. I wonder how future generations will remember this period in our city’s history. We have strong companies in the background. Oakland is the home of the University of California. We have stylish activists and experienced politicians.
Will this be the time “When Oakland was in Vogue?”
Note 2/22/15: I had more to write about this post and the following post, so I published a Messages to a Message blog post that explores how much Black Lives Matter to white people living in Oakland. The post will be available at www.morethankids.com. I also edited this post tonight, because it was a little sloppy.