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How a kids playdate in Oakland became a flashpoint for racists

Racists tried to vilify an Oakland elementary school for organizing a playdate specifically for Black, Latino and AAPI families. Their hate only reinforced the importance of creating more of these safe spaces.

The art piece “Dear America Fix Your Racism” by Christy Chan is projected on the Kaiser Center building in Oakland in July 2021. The Bay Area, which is often considered a bastion of liberalism, continues to experience racist incidents, including bomb threats and hate speech at elementary schools.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The Chronicle 2021

The equity and inclusion committee at Oakland’s Chabot Elementary School didn’t publish the emails and phone numbers of organizers when advertising its “playdate” for students of color on Aug. 26.

“Something told me not to do it,” said Briana, the co-chair of the committee who is Black, has a child who attends the school and asked that I not use her last name due to safety concerns. “Maybe it was my ancestors talking to me.”

Those ancestors must have known racism is still thriving in the nation. The Bay Area is no exception.

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