Melting guns to plant trees: Reclaiming MLK Day
Local non-profit ‘Lead to Life’ melt guns in front of city hall in a symbolic act of defiance. By co-editor Michelle Snider.
Hundreds of people gathered at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza Jan. 21 for an all-day gathering of activist organizations to “Reimagine” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
The fifth annual celebration was organized by the Anti-Police Terror Project of Oakland. The events started at sunrise with a Black Panther-inspired “People’s Breakfast” and continued with family-friendly activities throughout the day.
By noon, attendees and various activist groups prepared to march with Cat Brooks in “The People’s March.” The program continued with activities and a live concert, featuring such artists as Gina Madrid, until 5 p.m.
Following the concert, Lead to Life, an organization that melts guns and forms them into more useful metal pieces, performed a string of rituals and ceremonies meant to symbolize an end to gun violence.
In the past, the group re-cast the melted guns into shovels. The guns symbolize death, but the shovels symbolize planting and life.
The guns melted at the 2019 ceremony will be poured into constant molds that mirror the constellations in the sky on the night Oscar Grant was killed.