On Monday, Oakland mayoral candidate Cat Brooks spoke about the Trump era and community involvement at an event hosted by ASUC Senators Teddy Lake, Idalys Pérez and Amir Wright, along with the office of External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay.
At the event in Barrows Hall, Brooks discussed her background in grassroots organizing as well as the rising movements that are challenging the Trump administration. Her talk was followed by a question and answer session with the group of students in attendance.
Brooks said at the event that “we are living in terrifying times” because of normalization of fascism. Since Trump’s campaign, according to Brooks, there has been a constant uptick in violence against marginalized communities, which she said has been normalized. She added that there are currently talks of radical reform, which Brooks defined as a dramatic transformation in the current system.
“There are conversations happening around intersectionality and how we can combine movements and build united funds, and I haven’t seen that happening in a healthy way in a really long time,” Brooks said at the event. “We have a particular opportunity in this moment to build strong movements — not to go back to the way America was, but to build something different. … Inside this system, there are radical reforms.”
Brooks added that reforms involving education, food supplies and public safety can be accomplished at college campuses. Helping people by providing them with clothing, shelter and improved public safety can give people “a little bit of relief,” Brooks said at the event.
Campus sophomore Lindsey Chung said she attended the event to hear from a candidate with experience in grassroots organizing.
“I came because I saw Cat Brooks around different rallies, and I was just really excited about the idea of someone like that who has such a rich background in organizing rallies running for office,” Chung said.
Chung added that she agrees with Brooks’ assertion that electoral politics is not the “silver bullet” nor the perfect answer. But Chung said this election was the right time for Brooks to run for mayor.
Campus senior Dominick Williams said that as a Black student who feels culturally connected to Oakland, he wanted to see for himself what values Brooks stands for as a candidate.
“The end goal should be to improve people’s lives, and everything is a strategy to that end — running for government, tax cuts, going to college, all of it,” Williams said. “If we are seeking to be in service to people, the end goal should be improving conditions. I think Cat Brooks is someone that understands that. That’s where she’s coming from, and I can respect that.”
A previous version of this article failed to disclose that ASUC Senator Amir Wright also organized the event to host Cat Brooks.