June 15, 2021
To The Oaklandside,
We, as families who have been impacted by police terror and as community organizations that support them, are calling for a boycott of The Oaklandside publication.
We will no longer participate in interviews, read, or share articles from your publication until The Oaklandside staff corrects the harm it has caused to the family of Mario Gonzalez as they mourn and fight for police accountability.
The Oaklandside claims to have a “community-centered approach and commitment to reporting for underserved local communities, not only about these communities.” Yet, the article about Mario Gonzalez, who was murdered by the Alameda Police Department on April 19, 2021, criminalizes the victim, perpetuates stereotypes about Latinx communities, and shares details that could harm the family’s fight for justice.
Hours after the article was published, the family contacted the journalists about the inaccuracies in the article. The journalists also shared unsubstantiated and dangerous information about the previous homicide of Mario’s brother, which could have incited retaliatory violence. The article shared unnecessary, painful details about the way his body was found. The article also mischaracterized Mario’s mother’s immigration status. While these errors were corrected, your journalists and editors chose to ignore the family’s real concerns that the article unnecessarily shares sealed juvenile records of the victim, unnecessarily shares previous immigration status of Mario and his family, and perpetuates harmful racist stereotypes about Latinx communities.
The Oaklandside claims to have a culture of “learning and growing through a commitment to listening.” Yet when there was a real opportunity to listen to a family who is grappling with the traumatic murder of their child by the state, its staff chose to dig their heels in and defend the decision to publish hurtful material.
Mario’s mother and brother asked for six simple edits to the article to remove elements that jeopardize their legal fight for justice and perpetuate bias based on race and immigration status.
The Oaklandside denied their request.
Until all six of the requests of the family of Mario Gonzalez are met, we the families, with the support of the undersigned community organizations, will no longer engage with The Oaklandside nor will we provide access to the families and advocates we work with.
We look forward to hearing from the family of Mario Gonzalez that their requests have been met and that The Oaklandside has taken steps to repair the harm it has caused in the Oakland community.
[If you would like to support the Gonzalez family and join this boycott, please fill out this form.]
Edith Arenales and Gerardo Gonzalez, mother and brother of Mario Gonzalez
Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice
Anti Police-Terror Project
The family of Steven Taylor & Justice for Steven Taylor Organizing Group
The family of Erik Salgado & Justice for Erik Salgado Organizing Group
The family of Michael Barrera & Voices of Strength
Coliseum College Prep Academy
Love Not Blood Campaign & Families United for Justice
Theresa Smith, mother of Cesar Cruz and founder of Law Enforcement Accountability Network
Maria Moore, sister of Kayla Moore
Laurie Valdez, Justice 4 Josiah and Silicon Valley DeBug
The family of Miles Hall and the Miles Hall Foundation
Rob Reason, brother of Eric Reason
Matt Chang, brother of Errol Chang
Barbara Doss, mother of Dujuan Armstrong
Jeralynn Brown, mother of Alan Blueford
Urban Peace Movement
Causa Justa :: Just Cause
Idriss Stelley Foundation
Community Ready Corps
Ashley and Michelle Monterrosa, sisters of Sean Monterrosa
Yolanda Banks-Reed, mother of Sahleem Tindle and member of Mother’s Fight Back
Denika Chatman, Kenneth Harding Jr Foundation
National Brown Berets Oakland Unit
Latinos Unidos de Berkeley
Oakland Communities United for Equity and Justice
Oakland Technical HS Health Academy
Stand Up N Do Something
Anita Wills, Grandmother of Kerry Baxter Jr.