In the wee hours of the cold, wet morning of November 20th, 2012, as a cadre of SEIU Local 1021 workers in Oakland prepared to shut down the Port of Oakland in search of a contract without clawbacks they had been without for more than a year, a man wearing a Justice 4 Alan Blueford T-shirt — who has never been a member of a union — arrived.
That man is Adam Blueford, father of Alan Blueford, executed by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6th, 2012. What would make a man who had lost his only son just six months ago drive hours in from his home in Stockton, CA, rising up out of bed at some insanely early hour, all to march back and forth in the rain starting at 5:00 AM — for a cause that he would never directly benefit from?
Members of SEIU Local 1021, members of the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition (JAB), and members of Occupy Oakland’s Labor Solidarity Committee have a history of working together. SEIU Local 1021 became the second Bay Area union local to pass a resolution supporting the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition’s demands, following the lead of ILWU Local 10. And so when the call went out for picket support just a few days prior to November 20th, Adam Blueford and his friends from JAB, OOLSC & Occupy Oakland made it clear that they would be there for the SEIU. And in fact they did come out, visibily and actively.
In an ongoing joint effort, the Occupy Oakland Labor Solidarity Committee and the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition have patiently and persistently sought out Labor’s support. First, as noted, the ILWU and SEIU; more recently UNITE HERE Local 2850 and the Oakland Education Association.
The success of these efforts laid the groundwork for achieving a larger goal, one that had been being pursued diligently for months. On Monday, January 14th, the San Francisco Labor Council — with 150 affiliated unions representing more than 100,000 union members and their families — unanimously approved a resolution in support of justice for Alan Blueford.
RESOLUTION ON JUSTICE FOR ALAN BLUEFORD
Adopted unanimously by SAN FRANCISCO LABOR COUNCIL, Jan. 14, 2013
Whereas a Black person is killed by law enforcement once every 36 hours, per the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement’s study;
Whereas the federal report monitoring the Oakland Police Department states that the Oakland Police Department pulls guns on Black and Latino people disproportionately to the number of times guns are pulled on whites;
Whereas two new reports by a federal monitor, criticized the OPD’s handling of officer-involved shootings and Occupy Oakland protests;
Whereas Alan Blueford, an 18 year old Black youth, who was about to graduate from Skyline H.S., was killed by OPD Officer Masso on May 6.
Whereas OPD has provided at least four versions of what happened the night Alan Blueford was killed, including the claim that the Officer Masso was shot in a gun battle with Alan Blueford, when he later admitted that he shot himself in the foot;
Whereas the OPD:
A. Engaged in racial profiling and violated numerous OPD policies;
B. Engaged in a cover-up (Made numerous false statements and repeatedly changed their story);
C. Showed complete disregard for the life of Alan Blueford and the dignity of the family;
D. Had the coroner’s report withheld from the family for 3 months, and the police report for 5 months;
Whereas, the Coroner’s Report reveals that Alan Blueford had no gun residue on his hands, no alcohol or drugs in his system, and implies that Alan Blueford was shot while lying on his back;
Whereas Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declared she will not charge Officer Masso for the killing of Alan Blueford. Her report shows strong bias as, for example, relying on Masso’s statement that Alan was standing when he first shot him, despite 11 out of 12 witness statements to the contrary;
Therefore, be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council pass a resolution seeking Justice For Alan Blueford and demand that the Federal Monitor take strong action against OPD including:
1. Stopping the OPD from racial and ethnic profiling and violence against people of color;
2. Instituting stricter background checks, training, apprehension and gun use policies within the OPD;
3. The firing of Officer Masso;
Further be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council demand that the Alameda County District Attorney immediately charge Officer Masso with murder.
Finally be it resolved that the San Francisco Labor Council send this resolution to U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, Alameda District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, SFLC affiliates, the Alameda Labor Council, the California Federation of Labor, the AFL-CIO, for concurrence and action.
Submitted by Marcus Holder, ILWU Local 10; David Welsh, NALC 214; Carl Finamore, IAMAW, Air Transport Local Lodge 1781; Alan Benjamin, OPEIU Local 3; Allan Fisher, AFT 2121; Rodger Scott, AFT 2121; Alysabeth Alexander, SEIU 1021.
Similar resolutions have been passed by ILWU 10 Executive Board and General membership meetings, SEIU 1021 Executive Board, the Oakland Education Association Representative Council (on 12/3/12) and Unite Here 2850 Executive Board (1/7/13).
Not since the Oscar Grant movement put together an impressive coalition have we seen the beginnings of a coming together of community and community organizations like this in the Bay Area.
On Oct. 23, 2010 the ILWU – in partnership with more than 50 other organizations – is shutting down the Port of Oakland to demand justice for Oscar Grant as the sentencing date for his murderer, convicted former BART cop Johannes Mehserle, approaches.
All the more impressive the support JAB has been able to obtain from Labor and others in the community — insofar as Alan Blueford was killed not on camera in a crowded BART station in a circumstance where all the world could see and judge for themselves. He was killed on a street in East Oakland where few, if any, claim to have actually seen Miguel Masso pull the trigger four times, though many heard the shots.
This is how you fight injustice.
This is what solidarity looks like.