Moms Who Occupied Oakland House Get Black History Month Honor

KCBS Radio Morning News
February 19, 2020 - 11:44 am
Two homeless mothers have been living in this home in West Oakland, although the investment group that owns the property is trying to evict them.

Tim Ryan/KCBS Radio

The group of women who occupied a vacant home in West Oakland have were honored by members of the Oakland City Council. 

The "Moms 4 Housing" picked up the Black History Month tribute Tuesday during the city council's regular meeting. 

Activist Tolani King said there's still more work to be done.

“I accept this, but I stand here to say that we’re not finished,” King said. “It’s disheartening to me that people are still continuously homeless.”

Activist and mother Dominique Walker said if Oakland really wants to celebrate Black History Month, the city should solve the housing crisis.

“It is amazing that our city council would honor us,” Walker said. “But also I feel that this was kind of just for show. Yes, it is Black History Month, but seven out of 10 of the homeless population is African American. So I think the real way to celebrate Black History Month is to face this.”  

Last November, Moms 4 Housing took over an uninhabited West Oakland house on Magnolia Street for two months, in order to call attention to the plight of the homeless, especially to those who are homeless mothers. 

“Civil disobedience has been an honored tradition throughout our nation’s history of how social change is accomplished,” City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan said. “And so that, too, is part of the work that is needed to advance justice.”  

After Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies evicted the group from the home last month, Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office brokered a deal so that the home will be sold to the Oakland Community Land Trust, which will convert it to affordable housing. The home is expected to be given back to Moms 4 Housing. 

Moms 4 Housing has begun working with the city to advance several ordinances, including legislation that would allow county auction properties to become affordable housing.