According to Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, Columnists for the SF Chonicle, Oakland’s First Friday will resume tomorrow on March 1. But as organizers gear up for the popular event, some troublesome details are emerging about the shooting death of Kiante Campbell at last month’s event.
“Authorities now believe that Campbell was just one of three partiers who drew pistols on each other at 20th Street and Telegraph Avenue on Feb. 1. The event had officially ended, but thousands of people were still milling around when the deadly argument erupted about 10:50 p.m.” Guns were pulled out and a gunfight at OK corral fracus started when Campbell and another man bumped into each other. Nobody said “I’m sorry” or apologized; instead guns were pulled.
Donald Parks Jr. 19, a friend of Campbell’s managed to wound one bystander in the wrist and hit another in the ankle. The investigation is ongoing but no arrests have been made. The police have no leads and will only say that the situation is “complicated.”
The shooting was just the latest problem in the growing popularity of Oakland’s First Friday, which started out as an event to showcase art and morphed into a hipster street party that draws thousands of people to downtown Oakland.
Vanessa Rancaño and Ashley Griffin, who write the blog, “Oakland North,” reported on some upcoming changes to try and defuse any further violence.
City leaders met with First Friday stakeholders several times to discuss the future of the city’s most popular art festival, which could lead to several changes to next month’s event.
Although reporters were not allowed to attend the meeting, participants said afterward that they voted to adopt a number of recommendations for tomorrow’s festival. The March 1 event will be a toned-down version of First Friday, dedicated to peace, unity, healing—and there will be neon green t-shirts to symbolize combating violence.
In response to Oakland resident Lukas Brekke-Miefner’s blog post on 38th Notes, where he wrote that T-shirts should be used to help promote peace in the city, Oakland-based clothing store Oaklandish has created glow-in-the-dark neon-colored shirts that read “Respect Our City” which will make their debut at the March 1 event.
Half of the 100 shirts will be sold at the Oakland store and half will be given away to young people in Oakland. But with each sale or gift, the wearer will have to sign a peace pledge to help reduce crime in the city.
“It’s not going to be a street party in the way they normally are,” said Sean Maher, mayor Jean Quan’s communications manager, after the Tuesday meeting. “It’s going to be a smaller and more low-key event.”
After lengthy closed-door negotiations, city leaders and event organizers have articulated a plan for next month: Festival goers can expect art and music focused on peace and healing, strict regulation of public alcohol consumption and an event-wide moment of silence in memory of Campbell. Fewer city blocks will be closed to traffic and the event will be shut down at 9:30 p.m. instead of going until 10 p.m. as usual.