Keeping Lights On, Floors Bright, Cops Out, & the Entrance Welcome
Since last newsletter, Omni Commons’ Building/Permits and Finance Working Groups (WGs) collaborated on replacing the chandelier bulbs in the Ballroom with LEDs. This $260 investment will save us thousands in the decade to come. Building/Permits has also been responding to leaks and working up a 5 year plan for Commons maintenance and upgrades, while Fundraising WG seeks grants for the plan. And as of April, the Omni has a monthly cleaning day: second Tuesdays at 5:30pm. With those LEDs, that plan and fundraising, monthly cleaning en masse, and the Commons WG keeping the Omni booked (and raising plenty of funds, Finance WG reminds us), the future’s looking bright!
Meanwhile, Commoners have lately returned to talking about keeping the Commons a safer space, for political activity especially. To discuss Omni practices and to promote inter-collective conversations about collective self-defense and the repressive role of local, state, and federal police in USAmerican society, the delegates assembly formed an ad hoc Security Culture WG. Sometimes it’s gotten heated, but these discussions make Omni more solid for all. While meetings have lost some momentum, they’ll now continue under the banner of a revived Challenging Dominant Cultures WG.
In March, Art Bison Design Coop (ABDC) brought a proposal to Omni’s delegates assembly to beautify and activate the space of the Commons Entrance Hall by moving screen printing operations there. Finding zoning obstacles to the initial idea, for the April 6th assembly ABDC brought a revised proposal to revive the Welcoming WG. In addition to what the WG will do for the use, look, and layout of the Entrance this will also mean the return of scheduled open doors. Our first open door hours since we’ve owned the building were 11am-5pm on Sunday April 23rd. Donated labor, materials, and, pending revolution, money keep us going. New commoners can join one of our working groups — where much of what keeps us open happens. Check the calendar for the next working group meeting, and join the relevant mailing list.
Revolutionary Organizing Against Racism
On Saturday and Sunday March 11th and 12th, approximately 550 people attended the Revolutionary Organizing Against Racism conference, according to a social media post by conference organizers, Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA). “Ran out of programs each time!” they wrote. On Saturday the conference was held at the Omni; on Sunday, at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Several recordings from the weekend have been posted to It’s Going Down, including audio from the Black Women’s Defense League, Building Community Self-Defense in the Twin Cities, and the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee.
After rehearsals in the Omni’s Disco Room, Oakland Classical Theater Company (OCTC) performed Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing over five evenings from Wednesday March 22nd to Sunday April 1st, with Friday the 29th selling out. OCTC, self-described as “young, broke theater,” “is committed to making classical plays affordable (i.e. free), accessible (i.e. short), and reflective of our reality.” You can still donate to support OCTC.
Funds Raised for Black Women Led Community Projects
On April 14th, North Oakland Restorative Justice Council and Phat Beets collaborated with Gerthina Harris and Princess Beverly Williams to hold a Good Friday Benefit Fundraiser in the Commons’ Ballroom. Harris and Williams are raising funds to support their new non-profits, respectively, Gigi’s 24/7 Childcare, “will serve the community with affordable childcare for working parents,” and the House of Angels, “a residential community designed to support people with mental health challenges” by providing “a structured program without an exit date.” The night included dinner, dancing, entertainment, comedy, a fashion show, a raffle, and an auction. You can email Harris and Williams to find out how to support their projects.
Art Bison Design Coop (ABDC) is hosting recent and upcoming events, listed below, including “Resistance in Times of Dictatorship: LGBTQ Activism in Russia” on April 28th and “Solidarity Forever: Make Your Own May Day Protest Art” on April 29th. Additionally, ABDC will be keeping their studio in San Francisco open until the end of 2017, rather than the end of July, as previously thought. And, as reported above, thanks to ABDC and others the Welcoming WG is back!
Bay Area Public School (BAPS) will have their third meeting of “Practical Research Toward Abolishing Racialization” on Sun April 30 at 3pm. For more information, email BAPS. A PTSD Recovery group will also be beginning this May. To apply to participate, please write the class organizer, Ellen O’Donnell. “Writing with world stuff,” listed below, running most Mondays since November, will take a month-long hiatus after May 8th and begin again June 12th.
Chiapas Support Committee (CSC) will hold a presentation, discussion, and screening in celebration of the book Zapatista Negra, a collaboration between Zapatista and Black Panther artists, on May 11th, listed below. Their breakfast & study group “Waffles and Zapatismo” begins May 20th, listed below. In late May, CSC will send a delegation to the Constituent Assembly of the Indigenous Governing Council of Mexico, from which CSC will report back on June 8th, listed below.
Counter Culture Labs (CCL) had their board elections at a well-attended members’ meeting in March. They also kicked off their “Build a Biodigester Competition” and held a conversation called “Big Farms Make Big Flu.” Newly, they’re holding a class on plant tissue cultures. With recent upgrades, the lab has been getting plenty of use. On May 20th, CCL will host a talk by Kathleen Harrison entitled, “Mushrooms, Shamanism and Lore Among the Indigenous Mazatecs of Mexico,” listed below.
Food Not Bombs (FNB) is looking for more volunteers as well as a kitchen to cook in on Sundays. Most clean kitchens, whether in a home, a coop, or elsewhere, can work. Write Joe or Helen if you’re interested in volunteering or want to suggest any kitchen leads. On April 23rd, FNB fed folks all day at the Free Save People’s Park 48th Anniversary Concert.
Global Communication Education & Art / Youth Empowerment Services (GCEA/YES) is raising funds to send 4-6 youth on a cultural fellowship to Ethiopia. On June 3rd, they’ll host Take Back Our Streets, to implement actions, education, and healing to help address community safety. On the 17th, they’ll host an Immigrant/Refugee rights forum, and on the 24th, the Oakland African Initiative Expo, to uplift Black and African culture through food, dance, music, and a fashion show. Lately, GCEA has collaborated with Liberated Lens and ABDC to provide youth video production and screen printing learning opportunities.
Global Women’s Strike – Omni Collective (GWS), as reported previously, was involving in organizing both internationally and locally in the March 8th International Women’s/Gender Strike. Since the Strike, which turned out hundreds, GWS has been holding meetings with the Oakland Women’s Strike Organizing Collective on Tuesdays at 7pm in the Omni Basement to organize a Women’s (Unpaid Work) Bloc for the May 1st General Strike. On May 17th, to celebrate Chelsea Manning’s release from prison, GWS will join CODEPINK San Francisco in a Peace Vigil at Senator Feinstein’s office. Email Lori for more info.
Liberated Lens Collective (LLC) sent several members to the National Association of Broadcasters tradeshow in Las Vegas April 24-27th, where they had a great time checking out the latest in film/TV/broadcast tech. LL has two film nights coming up: Sunday April 30th, will show America Recycled, and Friday May 5th, AWAKE: A Dream from Standing Rock, both listed below. LLC has also been seeking grants for a collaboration with First They Came For The Homeless.
Sudo Room had awesome turnout for their Build Your Own Internet event on March 18th. They also held their second Five Minutes of Fame in April and will have their third on May 3rd. To sign up to give a talk on an upcoming First Wednesday, send an email to email@example.com or add your name to the wiki.
Timeless, Infinite Light (▽ ∞ ✳︎) recently announced their Subscription Fundraiser: “in hopes of funding our material costs, easing the burden on the press, and increasing the amount of money our authors make.” Prizes for participating include “original prints, clothing, art, tarot readings, and even the blood of our editors.” In 2017, ▽ ∞ ✳︎ plans to release 5 books, with the first, The Easy Body Problem by Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta coming out this May.
The Omni Commoner is a bimonthly newsletter. For offerings of opinions, news, events, or interest in collaborating on future issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next issue will come out by July 1st and the deadline for submissions is June 10th.
Resistance in Times of Dictatorship: LGBTQ activism in Russia
Fri Apr 28 at 7pm in the Ballroom
$5-15 sliding scale
Solidarity Forever: Make Your May Day Propaganda Art
Sat Apr 29 at 1pm in the Ballroom with Art Bison Design Coop (ABDC)
$15-50 sliding scale, free for Omni members
BENEFIT BASH! Food, Friends, Fun & Funds… for change!
Sat Apr 29 at 4pm in the Ballroom with for change dance collective
Film Night – “America Recycled” (2015) with filmmakers!
Sun Apr 30 at 7:30pm in the Ballroom with Liberated Lens
International Workers’ Day
Mon May 1
8am ICE Protest, 630 Sansome St
9am Rally ILWU Hall, 400 North Point
10am March to Justin Herman Plaza, Rally at 11am
12pm March to Civic Center Plaza, Rally at 2pm
3pm Rally at Fruitvale Plaza
4pm March to San Antonio Park
5pm Festival at San Antonio Park
Film Night – special screening! “AWAKE, A Dream From Standing Rock” by Josh Fox
Fri May 5 at 7:30pm in the Ballroom with Liberated Lens
Zapantera Negra Book Presentation, Video, Talk
Thu May 11 at 7pm in the Disco Room with Chiapas Support Committee
Waffles and Zapatismo: 23 years of Zapatista history and thought
Sat May 20 at 10am in the Disco Room with Chiapas Support Committee
Mushrooms, Shamanism and Lore Among the Indigenous Mazatecs of Mexico
Sat May 20 at 6pm in the Ballroom with Counter Culture Labs
Sun Jun 4 at 7:30pm in the Ballroom with Liberated Lens
Mexico Report: Indigenous peoples form parallel government
Thu Jun 8 at 7pm in the Ballroom with Chiapas Support Committee
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Workshop
Sat Jun 17 at 1pm in the Ballroom with Global Communication, Art and Education
Sun Jun 25 at 7:30pm in the Ballroom with Liberated Lens
Open Insulin Lab Day
12-3pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Communications Working Group
1st and 3rd Sundays at 5pm in Sudo Room
Liberated Lens general meeting
7pm in the Basement Hall (except on film nights, listed above)
Uniquely Yours – Creative Writing Workshop
4th Sundays at 7pm in the Disco Room
Fundraising Working Group
1pm in the Small Classroom
Building Working Group
6pm in the Entrance Hall
Finances Working Group
6pm in the Omni Office
Real Vegan Cheese
1st & 3rd Mondays at 7pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Plant Bio Group
2nd & 4th Mondays at 7pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Writing with world stuff
7:30pm in the Small Classroom with Bay Area Public School
Hardware Hack Nights
7-9pm in, with, Sudo Room
East Bay Fusion Dance
7pm in the Ballroom
Counter Culture Labs: Working Meeting
7pm in Counter Culture Labs
SudoMesh: Save the Internet
7:30pm in the Upstairs Den
Biohackers and Mad Scientists Social
8pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
The Art of Science, the Science of Art
1st Tuesdays at 8pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Fermentation Station Myco FermentoOmniMondo
7pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Open Source Insulin Project
7pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Sudo Room 5 Minutes of Fame
1st Wednesdays, from 7pm in the Disco Room or Ballroom
Sudo Room Weekly Party
all other Wednesdays at 7pm in Sudo Room
8pm in, with, Counter Culture Labs
Commons Working Group
2nd & 4th Thursdays at 6pm in the Entrance Hall
Omni Delegates Meeting
1st & 3rd Thursdays at 7pm in the Ballroom
Mushroom Hack Night
every other Thursday at 7pm in Counter Culture Labs with Bay Area Applied Mycology
Guinea West African Dundun Dance Class
7pm in the Disco Room until Jun 23
Weekly Classes with Counter Culture Labs
10:30am with, in, Counter Culture Labs
The East — solo performance laboratory
every three weeks from 4-6pm in the Disco Room