Archive for oscar grant

4SEB 2010 Year in Review

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

It’s New Years Eve and that means it’s probably time for a “Year In Review” type post. Considering this is the first ‘year’ this blog has been going, it’s probably a good idea. This way we can up noobs on what 4SEB has been doing… and start taking over all of the 4 Square world in 2011! But first, gotta review the games from last night (which were hella fun btw) …

We had folks come out even though it seemed like no one would show up. Shout out to Jordan, Ian, Lee, Sam, Paul, Adam, Robert, Judi, Meira, Liz, Mike, Samantha, Sydney, Justin, Leah, Ikru, Bernard, Amy, Dorian, Anne Marie and Laura! The play was vicious, there were less rules and more ass kicking. Seriously, people got served like all night diners. There were many 4 Square Challenges but only one winner. Lee = winner. Who-Ray! After midnight, elimination came though and Adam held it down for the last day of 2010. Way to be the best Adam, and good job at closing out the year in style.

As 4 Square of the East Bay looks back, we can appreciate that it has been a really good year for us. Even though 4SEB has been around since mid-2008, 2010 brought the beginning of this blog! Now you can share the experience of 4 Square with those who might not live in the East Bay! As our social media skills grew, we expanded beyond myspace to really blow up our facebook, twitter and (to some extend) our vimeo. This brought in more popularity as we were asked to come through and host different Squares at different community events around the East Bay like the reopening of the Oakland Museum, Oaklavía, Albany Streets, The Old Oakland Beer Fest and the rededication of Jefferson Square Park! 4SEB also commented on issues happening in our community, covering the aftermath of the Johannes Mehserle verdict in downtown Oakland and giving folks a unique perspective on Oakland’s Mayoral race.

But one of the crowning achievements of 2010 had to be joint pancake breakfast/4 Square Tournament that Strive For ____ and 4SEB put together. We dabbled in keeping score and changed some of the parking lot rules, but we focused on what was really important. FUN!

The other two very successful events that 4 Square of the East Bay had was our 2nd Birthday Party and our annual Costume Square! Considering that this event happens weekly, for FREE, many wonderful people came to the Rockridge BART Parking lot with food, friendly attitudes and had a great time! At both events, the love was palpable, the food was consumed, there were many pictures taken and the games were off the charts! Great job, East Bay, you are so totally worth living in!

Looking forward into the next year, 4SEB hopes to keep meeting on a weekly basis, hopes to keep providing a space for people to socialize in a safe, fun and competitive environment and hopes to become know all over the Bay Area and beyond.  While we had wishes of going to the World Championships for Four Square in Maine, the money and weather were both factors. As a result 4 Square of the East Bay hopes to start up our own International (intergalactic?) West Coast 4 Square Tournament where all those ballers who can’t get to the snowy East Coast can compete and really see who is the best. If you want to help with any part of this (organizing, fund raising, design, PR, food) contact us through facebook, email or just show up at the Rockridge BART Parking lot on a Thursday night between 9pm and midnight. Also we wanna make hoodies.

That’s it for this year! 2010 has been kickass! Thanks to everyone who comes and plays and donates time, blood, sweat and tears to this semi-organized event! Without you, it’d be really lonely in the parking lot. Keep balling and we are gonna leave you with the 4SEB’s Episode II. Watch, remember and enjoy… Be safe!


Republicans take ‘B’ and ‘C’ Squares, Ballers still control ‘A’ Square.

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

On Tuesday, November 2nd was election day in the United States of America. Whatever. On Thursday, November 5th was 4 Square of the East Bay! Seriously, as 4SEB players knows from our counter-clockwise squares, power swings to the right. It’s a scary thing to think that the legislation that will come through in the next two years will be fought about tooth and claw and truly progressive agendas (or those that seem like common sense *cough gay marriage) will be buried. Why did it turn out this way? Was it your fault? Maybe not… What we do know is that even though we like to send people to Washington D.C. to represent us, the only way to truly build and uplift our community is through positive relationships and human interaction. With that sentiment, 4 Square of the East Bay would like to announce it’s bid for President of Everything in 2012. Donations will be accepted by the boombox.

In the midst of political turmoil, players will still play. There was no instant run-off 4 Square for all of these mayoral athletes, it was all or nothing. Candidates for ‘A’ Square were: Paul, Caroline, Rachel, Gabby, Lee, Uriah, Sam, Liz, Vi, Sanjay, Anne Marie, Kaylie, Robert, Will, Caroline, Lali, Justin, Laura, Mustafa, Eric, Mike, Ben, Julian, Lucas, Kalen, Greg, Kendall and maybe more!

4 Square Challenge winners managed to buck the tide of change and remain at the top of their game. As usual, Uriah and Lee stand as winners!

Elimination was called and people played until the polls were closed. While no one voted, Lee spend the most time and money on his campaign and bought many many ballots. Many called for a recount, but here at 4SEB News Network we are too lazy to check our sources so… Congratulations Lee! You decide everything and get to take the blame if it all falls apart.

While the 4 Square of the East Bay ‘elections’ have passed, Oakland did experience a sad event in the trial of Johannes Mehserle/Justice for Oscar Grant campaign. Mehserle, convicted of involuntary manslaughter of unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant, was sentenced by Judge Robert Perry on Friday to the minimum sentence in prison of 2 years, with 292 days taken off for time served. This is not justice. As a response, Oakland gathered at City Hall during the day and began to march to Fruitvale BART after dark. They were met with a militarized police coalition which conducted mass arrests on peaceful protesters. Check out video here, photos here and listen to the whole situation unfold here live on KPFA. While our community reels from this blow to our sense of safety that has shaken our faith in the system, we are not powerless. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has an e-campaign to have Attorney General Eric Holder prosecute Johannes Mehserle in Federal court. In addition, Youth Speaks in having a town hall meeting at the Pro Arts Gallery on Friday November 12th at 5pm to ask the question ‘What does justice really look like?’ If you are affected by this situation, don’t sit back. Take action and build with the people around you. We can find justice together.

Slick like Rick

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

*** yes, this post is late, but like the one before it, it was written just never published. deal with it ***

It’s the gray season in the Bay! That means, it’s our version of winter. For our readers across the world, in the Bay Area, we have two seasons, blue or gray. After another round of strange weather (let’s face it folks, our world’s weather will never be what it was when we were kids), Oakland has started it’s journey into ‘winter’. How do we know? It’s started to rain! While 4 Square NYC and Philly FourSquare might be affected by the ‘winter’ the East Bay has got this magical thing called ‘the freeway’ which 4SEB has taken refuge under. Fear no precipitation! Games will happen under the protection of the giant concrete pathways that connect Berkeley with Walnut Creek. Yaaay! The splish-splashiness of rain does provide some other challenges for 4 Square ballers though. The asphalt becomes slick and we slide when running after balls. It’s kinda like ice. No, not really. We live in California. And it’s awesome.

Our asphalt might have been slick, but so was our game. Many players pulled out the trickery and craftiness that makes this game so unique. There were enough people for 2 squares, even though Square 2 looked like it had a little trouble pulling itself together. Let’s be honest, them lines was crooked! It still got play on cuz people are fiends for the square.

Showing up and representing were: Adam, Kailey, Glenn, Angie, Liz, Lee, Uriah, Sam, Paul, Mick, Lali, Justin, Robert, Liz, Will, Anne Marie, Julian, Mike, Tom, Judi, Ryan, Gia, Eric, Travis, Caroline, Laila, Dorian, Kendall and Jordan. There might have been other people there, but it’s hard to take names when you are kicking so much ass. Rules included the Commie Rule, Countries of the World, Professional Sports Teams, Dance Square, Spin Rounds, Cities of the World, Things You Are Afraid Of and more. It was great fun!

Only one 4 Square Challenge was won, so put your hands together for Robert who knew just the right light to stand in as to have a semi-okay picture taken for the blog. You’re so smart! And good at 4 Square.

While people could play forever, the night ended as it usually does, with elimination around midnight. It was long and hard fought, but only one can survive. Congratulations, Travis! After being an avid participant for a long time, you get to take home the win! Please rub it in people’s faces.

That’s all! Also there is tons of stuff happening this weekend, but the ones 4SEB are concerned with are the ones that involve us! Mainly, Brats & Beer Festival happening at Linden Street Brewery in Oakland! 4 Square of the East Bay will set up a square around 1pm and play till about 4. We will also eat brats and drink beer. How cool is that? If you are feeling less like stuffing your gut and more socially responsible, check out the ILWU Rally in support of Justice for Oscar Grant happening at noon at City Hall in Oakland. The Longshoremen/women are shutting down Bay Area ports to show solidarity with the Grant Family and their quest for justice. Stand up, make noise, support in numbers. Also, stay safe East Bay, you are our home.


No Justice, Just Us.

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

**Hey folks, this is a hot topic with a lot of feelings attached to it. Take some time to check out the links (highlighted in orange) to see more media surrounding these issues.**

Thursday, July 9th, was a heavy day for Oakland, California. After less than 6 hours of deliberation, the jury from the Johannes Mehserle trial, the BART officer who shot and killed unarmed passenger, Oscar Grant, in the back (click for video), came back with a verdict: involuntary manslaughter. While this is not a complete acquittal, it was not the justice that the Grant family or people around the Bay Area were calling for. Folks started gathering at 14th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland as soon as it was clear that a verdict had been reached. As it was announced, anger and disappointment were apparent and the call went out to rally and speak on the issues and feelings directly related to this case. For two hours, from 6pm to 8pm, people of Oakland and the Bay Area spoke to remember Oscar Grant, condemned the actions of the police, called for the community to organize, encouraged young people to learn their rights and know the laws and pleaded for all of those assembled to respect the wishes of the Grant family with non-violent protests. Unfortunately, vandalism and looting became the lead story in the media and as the sun set, the rally ended and emotional open wounds festered. Crowds continued to stand in the street, chanting, playing instruments and expressing frustrations at the lines of riot police. Soon, bottles were thrown at cops and the people moved in the manner of a stampede. Organizers of the rally quickly interceded reminding everyone that the purpose of the takeover on Broadway was to call for justice, not to cause destruction in Oakland. This is how the situation turned from a peaceful protest to unrest.

The anger was evident and palpable, but the violence (perpetrated by looters and by the police) against our city was ignorant. For weeks, there has been hype in the press that on the day the verdict came down, riots would occur. That didn’t happen. There is a difference between what happened last night, July 8th 2010, and what happened on January 7th, 2009. Referred to as an Uprising or Revolt, the ‘riot’ in January was a direct response from citizens to the silence from people in positions of power. After the world became familiar with the Fruitvale BART station through youtube, Mayor Ron Dellums, D.A. Tom Orloff and the BART Police department had NOTHING to say about the death of Oscar Grant for SEVEN days. One week after the killing, people decided to rally and make their voices heard. This video shows the intentions of organizers at the Fruitvale rally in 2009 to get some sort of action from authority figures before Mehserle resigned. They knew his resignation meant he could not be questioned further by BART officials. Some factions of the protests called for a march on the BART headquarters (which was NOT endorsed by the organizers) and that led to the riots/uprising/revolt. Don’t get it twisted, violence is never a positive solution, but afterwards one woman was quoted saying, “Windows can be replaced, our babies can’t.”

Last night, Oakland was hurting. The Mehserle trial was the first time in California history that an on-duty police officer had been charged with murder. The response from the people in January, 2009, helped, in part, to bring about these charges with hope for justice for an unarmed man who did not deserve to lose his life. Unfortunately, burning cars, broken windows and arrests were all that was seen by the national media. By the end of last night, Oakland was again portrayed as a city out of control. KCBS breaks down the people arrested for unlawfully assembly, vandalism and assaulting police officers. Over 75% of those arrested for violence weren’t even from our town. Oakland wasn’t out of control, we were caught in the middle. The property damage last night was not a representation of those who cared about the issues raised by Oscar Grant’s death. It was a display of disrespect by opportunists and agitators.

4 Square of the East Bay takes a deep interest in this case because, not only do we play our weekly game at a BART Station, but also because our gathering retakes and repurposes public space. It is paramount to the well-being of our square that we create a safe environment for people to have fun and express themselves in a playful manner. While Rockridge is a far-cry from Fruitvale, we understand the importance for citizens of our city to feel that sense of safety wherever they go. Sadly, one of the things that makes Oaklanders, especially Oaklanders of color, feel unsafe is the attitudes of the police as they patrol the city. This must read article by Chela Simone speaks of the experiences of a black person growing up in Oakland, relating to the police and how the Mehserle trial has affected attitudes towards the justice system. Having fun is no longer an option if the area in which you play is unsafe, when you cannot trust those who are supposed to keep you safe. For some people, the outcome of the Mehserle trial seems like it sets a precedent for police around the country to shoot first and never ask questions. While the media was prepping the city for riots from protesters, protesters feared violence from the riot cops steadily boxing them in on all sides. This fear is ever present in the lives of people who look like Oscar Grant. It is important for our entire community to come together and help banish this fear from our everyday lives by building positive relationships and speaking out on issues that go against our conscience. For this reason, 4SEB takes up the message that WE ARE ALL OSCAR GRANT, and our lives matter. We want justice and action, but we also want safety and peace. We must work together with our city and community in mind to make this happen.

In spite of all the action Downtown, 4 Square did happen on Thursday night. Smiles were exchanged and games were played. We weren’t afraid to show up and be ourselves. Players were Rachel, Lee, Robert, Mars, Sam, Kendall, Caroline, Uriah, Monk, Jordan, Phil, Angie, Liz, Gabby, Daniel, Parker, Sheer, Jared, Sonia, Austin, Xago, Simón, John, Isaac, Charlie, Ariel, Jerome, Casey, Pete and Michelle. 4 Square Challenges were called and won by Robert, Jordan, Sam and Lee.

The night ended with Lee taking his second elimination win in as many weeks. Congrats!

Lastly, 4SEB wants to invite those of you who are interested in moving forward on the issues surrounding Oscar Grant’s death to the meeting that is happening next Thursday at 7:30 at the Continental Club in West Oakland. Let’s make change together, cuz if we don’t, nobody will. We love you Oakland, stay smart, sane and savvy.

Playground State of Mind

Posted in 4 Square East Bay with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2010 by 4squareeastbay

It’s July and it’s getting HOT in Oakland… Our town is currently debating whether to celebrate the birth of our country or prepare for social action with the looming outcome of the Johannes Mehserle trial. While the times might be trying and the sun might be shining, 4 Square of the East Bay still knows how to bring people together to play. It’s always amazing when folks of all different walks of life can gather, be competitive and still have fun. This week 4SEB had the most young players it has ever hosted. Most of these kids got hip to the square at Oaklavía and decided to show up with their parents to throw down on Thursday. As a result, there was a lot of yelling, screaming, dancing and shit talk. Oh man, to be young and have a summer vacation… wait a second, that’s just like any other Thursday night in the parking lot.

Roll call: Robert, Lee, Jordan, Chris, Reggie, Lucas, Sam, Diamond, Hana, Jazz, Cherokee, Cameron, Liz, Angie, Frank, Patrick, Arianna, Michelle, Jessica, Mike, Stephanie, Paul, Rachel, Mike, Gabby, Tori, Hannah, Phoebe, Vi, Sandy, Mickey and Alec. If you weren’t there, you were missed… What wasn’t missing was the crazy rules! Commie rule was totally in fashion, as was ‘Countries of the world.’ There was a long run of ‘Inside lines are out’ and a couple rounds of  ‘Compliment Square.’ As the night was warm and the energy was young, ‘Dance Square’ was almost a must and everyone got their groove on. Big thanks to Gabby, Tori and Michelle for rolling through with snacks and drinks to share. Yum!

The kids held it down for about 2 and a half hours before taking off around 11:30. The remaining adults promptly started swearing, smoking, spitting, swigging and scratching. Players also began to call an unprecedented number of 4 Square challenges fighting to win a spot on the blog. At one moment, each player that entered the square had a challenge going to the point where everyone in the line had called one. But in the 4 Square Challenge, only the strong survive. Congratulations Sam and Lee, you are strong!

Soon after the challenges had subsided, midnight rolled around and elimination came to the square. It was hard fought (as always) and the final match saw Lee match up against Michelle. It was a brilliant round, but Lee’s well placed hits left Michelle wishing she had longer arms with which to return the ball. You’re a winner, Lee, let the world see your face…

Thus wrapped up another exciting Thursday night in the Rockridge BART Parking lot. Remember, 4SEB does this all the time so do us a favor and bring your friends! Also, be SAFE and AWARE this weekend and in the future. While feelings about the Mehserle trial and the issues that the death of Oscar Grant have brought up have stimulated passion, conversation and action, no one who lives in Oakland wants to see Oakland tear itself apart. Fear mongering and destruction are not productive and change will not come by reinforcing stereotypes. Let’s be peaceful and organize for a better world for our children. We’ll leave you with a PSA produced by Youth Uprising featuring voices of our community. Much love, East Bay, be smart.