She came into Oakland’s public eye via three high-profile actions: the attempted recalls of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, and then her visit to Mayor Schaaf’s home, wanting to have homeless Oaklanders camp out in front of it.
Now, (and after encouragement from a number of people including Zennie62Media CEO Zennie Abraham) the person regularly called “Oakland Activist” wants to be Oakland’s fixer: Cat Brooks is running for Mayor of Oakland, and made her announcement May 1st on KPFA Radio.
Who Is Cat Brooks?
Cat Brooks played a central role in the struggle for justice for Oscar Grant and is the co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) – a grassroots organization whose mission is to rapidly respond to – and eradicate – police violence in communities of color. APTP has successfully developed a model for first response to police violence that centers impacted families and is currently being replicated across the State of California and the country.
Cat is currently the Executive Director of the Justice Teams Network, a statewide network for organizations working to change the way in which law enforcement engages communities through advocacy, organizing, communications and policy work. She has hosted KPFA’s morning news show UpFront for the last two years.
Previously, Brooks was the Executive Director of Youth Together and the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area, organizations that work for educational equity in Oakland’s schools and that provide legal support for organizers and activists on the frontlines of resistance work.
She has served on many boards and commissions including Youth Together, the National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area, and Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Cat’s experience as an advocate in the education sector for over 8 years gives ample perspective to tackle the challenges the education sector faces.
Cat has a BA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Performance Theater. She trained at the National Royal Theater Studio in London and is currently touring the one-woman show she created “Tasha” about the in-custody murder of Natasha McKenna in the Fairfax County Jail.
Ms. Brooks lives in West Oakland with her daughter and husband.
Brooks has managed to secure a number of supporters for her run for Mayor. Among them, Dan Siegel and Reverend Dr. Harold Mayberry gave their views.
“Oakland needs a new direction and new leadership. Cat Brooks has the determination and courage to take on the forces of gentrification and displacement,” said Dan Siegel, civil rights attorney and co-chair of the Oakland Justice Coalition. “Cat can be trusted to make affordable housing, jobs for Oakland residents, a safe city and an accountable police department realities for our city.”
“As we wrestle across this country with issues regarding the rebuilding and restructuring of our cities, it is crucial we find people for public office who are compassionate and passionate,” said Reverend Dr. Harold Mayberry of First AME Church in Oakland. “We need persons who have demonstrated the willingness to put the well-being of our communities ahead of personal agendas. Persons who have a vision for a better community that extends beyond any one segment of the city. It is for this reason that I am pleased to support Cat Brooks for mayor of Oakland. As a resident of this community and her pastor, I believe that Cat will lead Oakland with the kind of visionary and progressive leadership the city continues to cry for.”
“Cat Brooks is making the jump from being on the outside point out problems, to being on the inside pushing for solutions to the problems,” said Zennie Abraham. “In running for Mayor of Oakland, Ms. Brooks gives Mayor Schaaf the perfect counterpoint. In this election, Oakland wins: it will come away a better and even more compassionate city than before.”
Brooks and her campaign team have laid out a set of primary objectives:
1. Real Solutions for Public Safety: The answer to community safety is an investment in the community. The Oakland Police Department receives nearly 50% of the general fund (that’s $250m of a $570m fund). We will redirect half of those funds toward true crime prevention measures like job training centers, mental health services, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and housing.
2. Housing & Dignity for All: Rent is too high. Middle-income earners are paying over 30% of their income on rent making it impossible to save. Low-income earners are paying over 60% of their wages on rent. Using funds diverted from police, we will increase the percentage of the city budget used to protect tenants and enforce tenant rights. We will also strengthen efforts to legislate and clamp down on Airbnb and similar services – services that have taken away over 2,200 units (source) that could be used as long-term housing for Oaklanders instead.
3. Protecting Education: We will work with Oakland educators to develop a teacher training and retention program that specifically addresses the needs of local educators. Citywide affordable housing plans must include protected affordable housing for Oakland teachers.
4. Sanctuary for All: We will ensure that Oakland is truly a Sanctuary City by both providing an unwavering commitment to policy that prevents any collusion between local law enforcement and federal agencies, and working closely with the most impacted communities to create and strengthen rapid response networks, “know-your-rights” trainings, and other community safety mechanisms.
Cat Brooks website is here, and she will be a guest on Zennie62 Live on YouTube, May 9th, 8:30 PM, PST.