Today is the first day of Black History Month!
Understanding Black history is critical to advocating for affordable housing. Historical and ongoing racial discrimination shapes our housing market today, and is the reason that Black families have significantly less wealth than their white counterparts and are more likely to be unhoused.
Housing justice IS racial justice, and the movement for housing justice has been led by Black people from the start. Many of these leaders for racial, social, and economic justice were rooted right here in the East Bay.
One organization that works hard to preserve Black history in the East Bay is the West Oakland Mural Project. The photograph at the top of this post, courtesy of Atlas Obscura, is of the “Women of the Black Panther Party” mural painted by Rachel Wolfe-Goldsmith. Founded right here in Oakland, California, the Black Panther Party’s ten-point program was a call for Black liberation, including land and housing for the people.
In an interview with Iris Garcia of the Akonadi Foundation, curator of the Mural Project Jilchristina Vest describes the purpose of the mural, “This mural encourages community healing through honoring the history of Black women and paying homage to Oakland’s revolutionary and humanitarian roots … When you are here, you can’t help but to look up to Black women.”
You can read more about the West Oakland Mural Project and the women of the Black Panther Party on the project’s website. To learn more about how racial justice intersects with housing justice, please visit the EBHO Study Room.