Updated: Jan 27, 2021
By Xochitl Diaz-Suarez
On November 18, 2019, mothers Dominique Walker and Sameerah Karim moved into a vacant home in West Oakland with their children. Walker and Karim moved into the vacant house as civil disobedience protesting gentrifiers. Both mothers represent Moms4Housing, a group advocating for homeless mothers experiencing the housing crisis. Moms4Housing fights for housing becoming a human right, not remaining a luxury. On the Moms4Housing website, their values promote, “We are mothers, we are workers, we are human beings, and we deserve housing. Our children deserve housing. Housing is a human right.”
Oakland residents living in poverty are controversial since gentrifiers are infesting Oakland causing housing prices to skyrocket while 5,898 homes sit vacant, according to the latest U.S Census data. Gentrification is perceived as a fast process of replacing communities, however, evidence of 5,898 empty homes proves gentrification is indeed a stagnant process. That is “four times as many empty homes in Oakland as there are people without homes. Some of these people are children ''(Moms4Housing). The disproportionate ratio of vacant houses to a homeless person isn’t startling since, under the system of capitalism, the U.S doesn’t care for its citizens, but for its property and profit.
Additionally, when police were adapted in the U.S, they were used to protect property, not to serve and protect, hence slave catchers. Police were referred to as slave catchers as they would find slaves and bring them back to “their owners.” Black people in the U.S are continuously treated with police brutality and violence. The idea of two black mothers causing civil disobedience to protest gentrifiers is threatening who hold privilege. The correlation between policing and capitalism is indistinguishable since police emerged to uplift the system of capitalism in the 19th century.
When Walker and Karim were forcibly evicted from their home, police arrived in heavily armed uniforms ready to unleash brutality against protesters. The Moms4Housng eviction is a prime example of the property being prioritized over people, supporting the reality of policing under the system of capitalism. We need a system that protects us that doesn’t support capitalism