Big Inauguration-Day event planned for Oakland

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson is coordinating the planning for a big Inauguration Day bash, most likely at the Oracle Arena, so a large East Bay crowd can gather to watch Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

“We’re almost sure we’re going to have the contract for the arena that day,” Carson told me a few minutes ago, just hours after about 25 representatives from various faith congregations, community groups and local agencies had gathered for their first meeting to plan the event. “Everybody is saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”

They’re also planning a series of other community events in the 10 days leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration, including an event Sunday, Jan. 11 at Oakland’s new Cathedral of Christ the Light near Lake Merritt, and another on Sunday, Jan. 18 at Beebe Memorial Cathedral on Telegraph Avenue. Other institutions have set tentative dates as well.

“We know that we are in the middle of… very volatile times in the community, and even with a new administration, it’s going to be difficult locally for us for years to come. This gives us an opportunity to find new friends, to recommit to communicating across those lines to see how we can leverage our resources and infrastructure to help people,” Carson said today. “Barack’s campaign on some level was kind of indicating we as a country need to do that.”

Tickets for Oracle Arena event – likely to start pretty darned early on Tuesday, Jan. 20, as the president is traditionally sworn in at noon, meaning 9 a.m. PST – might cost a nominal fee, if only to control their dissemination, Carson said; as many as 17,000 people might fit into the arena for such an event.

That’s all we know for now; I’ll provide more details as they become available.

Carson, like Rep. Barbara Lee and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, is a protégé and former aide to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums during Dellums’ Congressional tenure. Swanson and Dellums had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, while Lee and Carson backed Obama; all of them supported Obama in this month’s general election.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Lance Cowles

    Let me know. I would like to be there.

  • Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson voted for the wood burning fireplace ban, along with all of the other anti-rights Supervisors. What a joke they all are!

  • Theo

    polluting the air is not a right

  • We better all hold our breath then Theo. Wouldn’t want to add any more greenhouse gases into the air. Not to mention that running your household heater to keep warm, instead of burning wood in your fireplace, is also considered bad for the environment. Maybe, we should all just freeze… Right?

    Watch out for the fireplace police. Think of all the trees that they’ll waste away writing out tickets, reports and fines for everyone.

    Lets just approve a ban on all the hot air coming out of the Board of Supervisors. That would be good for us all!

  • Theo

    power plants have devices in place to cut the emissions; I’ve never heard of a chimney having anything of the sort; and the “hot air coming from the BOS” is so tired; try and come up with a new slam

  • Sarah WHO ?

    Actually – some communities have indeed required catalytic converters to be installed in residential wood-burning stoves or fireplaces – virtually the same technology the big plants use to “clean up” their emissions – – – – if we had been truly proactive – we might have (like other communities) been requiring these kinds of additions to new installations/construction and perhaps we’d be far enough ahead of the curve today that these kinds of draconian actions wouldn’t be necessary.

    Gotta’ get out of the box and see whats going on around you though . .. to be that forward thinking.

  • LB

    I cannot believe this petty bickering in the thread about a celebration: the most important celebration since the day I was born – Dr Martin Luther King’s birthday, the year they took him from us, 1968.

    When I see these types of petty squabbles – regardless as to the great importance of saving the planet as well as our individual freedoms – I am filled with dread that in spite of one of our greatest dreams coming true in our lifetime – we will never manage to transcend our lesser selves and come together in true unity, compromise and mutual sacrifice to fully support our 44th President as he faces unprecedented challenges with enemies sworn and hidden.

    I’ve bought more tickets to this event than I can possibly afford and I came here in hopes to find discussions of joy, of celebration – maybe even to be so lucky as to have announcements of great speakers on this day. And all I find is the same base qualities that keep us apart, year after year, election after election.

    I pray that President Barack Obama will the one who can begin the impossible task of dismantling the ‘politics as usual’ that is undermining all our chances of progress, but he is one man. He will need all rational people to set aside predispositions, and to enter into a new way – as one. Are we not capable? Are we not that brave, loving, intelligent and ready?

    I lost my faith ten years ago and yet now I find myself praying once more. I once prayed with joy in my heart, now it is worry and sadness.

    I’ve said more than anyone here cares to read but I can no longer hold back the torrent of thoughts when I come upon such behavior. I hope you will all be there, and I hope that all of our differences will be left at the gates as we enter.

  • Arne Simonsen

    Don’t these folks realize that it is going to be shown on every over-the-air TV station, C-SPAN and every cable news channel?

  • Jen Taylor

    Arne I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the beauty of being in a crowd of people who are moved by some life-changing, world-altering event, but election night at Obama HQ in the Marriot was amazing — strangers hugging strangers, everybody dancing, crying, hanging onto each other… and we were all watching the same thing you probably were while you were in your house, but we actually got to feel connected to something bigger than ourselves. Try it! I guarantee you’ll love it.

  • Pam

    I think it is great! that we can all come together to celebrate such a monumental and crucial time in History. This moment of the inauguration for Barack Obama has been everything our ancestors, slaves, every freedom fighter that proceeded us has been fighting for!

    I am proud and feel that finally, all people have proved that we can work together to invoke change but especially for African Americans because Americans realize that we have something to contribute.

  • Hastings Hart

    @LB: Very eloquent and important statement there, and you need to communicate that sentiment in more visible forums.