If recently you've either been on BART near in the vicinity of the Fruitvale station or driven along 880 in East Oakland odds are you've already spotted the big wide bright new mural bearing the word "DECOLONIZE" that takes up a wide wall at 12th Street and 16th Ave. The monumental mural is the latest politically charged artwork by the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP). To catch the eyes of the thousands of daily commuters that pass by the piece is strategically positioned near both the freeway and the BART tracks to get the message of the monumental mural to as many people as possible. “Decolonize is a universal message to all people of the earth to reconnect to their ancestry, the earth, to their traditional medicines and knowledge, and to a global consciousness that we are all related. Everyone on the planet has indigenous roots to somewhere,” said artist Lavie Raven - one of the ten contributors to the large scale mural that is 200 feet wide and 30 feet high and took two and half days of concentrated work to complete. The other artists are CRP regulars Mike 360, Release, Beats 737, Desi, Rate, Abacus, Pancho, Yesenia, and Dora.
The "Decolonize" mural is also is a critical commentary on the Occupy movement since CRP members say that the "indigenous community and communities of color" have witnessed exclusion from the Occupy movement. CRP states that the mural serves as "a reminder that indigenous communities of color already inhabited native lands before colonizers, settlers and tourists arrived." They also note how back In October, when the Occupy Oakland movement first took root and set up its downtown Oakland encampment in Oscar Grant /Frank Ogawa Plaza that the occupiers asked the blessing of "local indigenous elders" at first. But then they say the mostly white organizers excluded them from a movement "despite the fact that these communities were affected by economic woes, underemployment, and bank foreclosures long before the recession hit the white middle-class."
Many within CRP consider the term “Occupy” as "inherently identified with colonialism and the colonial mentality" with a proposal been made to rename the Occupy movement “Decolonize Oakland” which, reportedly, was voted down by the General Assembly. "With the ‘Decolonize’ message, CRP is taking a stand to address the larger social, economic and environmental justice issues that are faced in the communities that we work in,” said CRP founder Desi W.O.M.E. For more information visit www.CRPBayArea.org