In the United States, gentrification and its violent processes of policing and displacement are so intense that even, Oakland, CA, the city of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense is strongly subjected to them. Kerby Lynch offers us a powerful and evocative ode to its residents’ collective mourning.
One sits and questions: what is all of my capacity? To keep enduring the moments in which I deeply understand that my life — the being of the body — is made from clay?
On December 2, 2016, Oakland stood still. The Ghostship fire took the lives of 36 artists and radical activists. Death by design. The rent is too damn high and we don’t have spaces for pleasure. It struck a chord in the heart of many. The shock of the fire was the first for many. It seemed like the whole year was on fire. The Grenfell Tower Fire happened in London, then most of northern California was born in flames (1,893,913 acres burned to ashes), suffocating on toxic chemicals. After the fires, it was knife stabbings of young women, and then it was deportation sweeps, and then there was disappearing Native women, and then high school youth organizing city-wide strikes. Walking the city and strolling past the resistance nerds, climate refugees, asylum seekers — I don’t feel alone. We connect, by looking into each other’s eyes and feeling the chaos of the moment, longing to return to normalcy. This is an ode to our collective mourning.