OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 2: Demonstrators with the Occupy movement gather November 2, 2011 in Oakland, California. The group called for a general strike today, and planned to march on the city's port later in the day. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)
Hundreds of parents, students and teachers are participating in the general strike in Oakland today.
A group of families met at noon and again at 3 p.m. outside the main branch of the Oakland Public Library, said Kevin Christensen, an Oakland parent helping to organize the event.
Christensen, an avid supporter of the Occupy Oakland movement, hopes that the presence of children and families will discourage violence at the general strike. He plans to bring his 3-year-old daughter.
Christensen said he spent 22 hours in jail last week for 'failure to disperse at the scene of a riot' after police raided the encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Amanda Cooper, of Oakland, is also among those planning take her children to the protest.
"As a parent, I am concerned about opportunities for my children," Cooper said. "If we continue to have unemployment levels this high, there's less chance for young people and children. There's hopelessness."
Hundreds of East Bay teachers are also participating in today's rallies.
Troy Flint, spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, said Tuesday that 268 teachers have requested leave for today.
Flint said this morning that it appears that even more than that will be absent, but that all schools will remain open.
Many teachers plan to gather at the state building at 4 p.m., said Fred Glass, spokesman for the California Federation of Teachers, which supports the Occupy movement.
"There are cuts to education, and no one but Occupy Oakland is talking about these problems. It severely impacts our ability to deliver education to students," Glass said.
The California Federation of Teachers supports raising taxes for the wealthy, tighter regulation of banks, reforming home foreclosure rules, and enacting a speculation tax to fund education, Glass said.
"Reinvest in our public infrastructure," he said. "It's the 1 percent that has the ability to do that, but have been shifting investments offshore. We don't have tax money coming in from property, income and corporate taxes like we once had from working Americans."
The Oakland Education Association endorsed the Occupy Oakland general strike and is urging members to attend the protest and hold teach-ins on the history of general strikes, OEA president Betty Olson-Jones said.
Bay City News