Nearly three years ago, after dozens of downtown establishments were vandalized after Oscar Grant protests, I started a series called “Rediscovering Downtown Oakland,” in which I highlighted Oakland businesses that I loved in hopes that others would support them. Since I ended that series, so much has changed downtown. Many of the businesses have closed or moved, and so many more have popped up in their places. Looking at my post on where to grab drinks after work made me realize just how much downtown has changed, since I rarely go to any of those places anymore, and I have a full new rotation of bars I frequent.
I’ve been meaning to rewrite the series for at least several months, but I never got around to it. For the past few weeks in particular, I’ve been realizing I really needed to restart this series.
But something happened last night that pushed me over the edge. A group of people brought a resolution to the Occupy Oakland General Assembly calling for the active support of local businesses.
Here is the text of the resolution (I apologize for the caps, but I didn’t have time to retype it):
OCCUPY OAKLAND HEREBY ENDORSES AND CALLS FOR ACTIVE SUPPORT OF THE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN.
OCCUPY OAKLAND ASKS SUPPORTERS TO PARTICIPATE BY BOYCOTTING CORPORATE STORES AND BUSINESSES, AND TO ACTIVELY PATRONIZE THE 99% IN OAKLAND. THIS INCLUDES LOCAL INDEPENDENT MERCHANTS, SHOPS, VENDORS, CAFES, RESTAURANTS, AND BUSINESSES, ESPECIALLY THOSE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES SUCH AS OAKLAND GROWN THAT ARE SUPPORTIVE OF THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT. OCCUPY OAKLAND ASKS SUPPORTERS TO PLEDGE TO USE CASH OR OAKLAND GROWN GIFT CARDS INSTEAD OF CREDIT CARDS, TO KEEP MORE MONEY IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY.
OCCUPY OAKLAND AUTHORIZES THE LOCAL BUSINESS LIAISON COMMITTEE, IN COOPERATION WITH THE MEDIA COMMITTEE, TO PROMOTE THE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGN BY PUBLICIZING IT ON THE WEBSITE, ENDORSING ACTIONS AND EVENTS THAT PROMOTE THE LOCAL ECONOMY, DEVELOPING SLOGANS, PUBLICITY STRATEGIES, AND PUBLISHING A LIST OF LOCAL BUSINESSES THAT ARE SUPPORTIVE OF OCCUPY OAKLAND.
OCCUPY OAKLAND INVITES OTHER OCCUPATIONS AROUND THE NATION TO JOIN US IN ENDORSING AND ACTIVELY SUPPORTING THE “BUY LOCAL” CAMPAIGNS IN THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES.
On Twitter I heard that the resolution got about 75% of the vote (I think about 90 people voted). The vast majority of people at this very small General Assembly voted to support small businesses, but since resolutions require 90% support for passage, it failed.
I wasn’t surprised. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized it really didn’t matter. People supporting local businesses – even those involved with Occupy Oakland – can and should organize outside of OO for support of independent Oakland businesses.
To do my small part, I’m restarting the Rediscovering Downtown Oakland series. This time though, I’d love your help. What type of businesses have you been trying to find downtown? What’s your favorite restaurant or store to frequent? Let me know below and I’ll include your suggestions in the forthcoming series.
For now, feel free to check out the initial series I wrote in 2009 (though be warned that several of the businesses have since closed):
- 8/12/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Ethiopian Restaurants
- 5/20/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Sweet Treats
- 5/13/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Where to Enjoy a Sunny Day Outside
- 3/31/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Sushi
- 3/3/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Sandwiches
- 2/20/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Where to Grab a Drink after Work
- 2/11/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Dinner Dates
- 2/4/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Where to Hear Music & Dance
- 1/28/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Vegetarian Restaurants
- 1/22/09: Rediscovering Downtown Oakland: Thai Food